Detergent, sponge, dishwasher — you might have the right tools, but it’s all about how you use them. Cleaning your home effectively might seem to be a straightforward process but there’s a number of key areas that tend to be overlooked when they really shouldn’t be.
Whether you’re doing a deep clean of the bathroom or a quick tidy throughout the week, keeping your home cleaner for longer is easier than you think. The trick is to do just a little bit each and every day.
To help you keep your home looking spick-and-span, we asked author and home styling queen Melissa Penfold to share 22 of the most common cleaning mistakes to avoid.
Free-Pouring Fabric Softener
When doing the laundry, you want the softest sheets possible, but using more product than is recommended by the manufacturer will have the opposite effect; just pouring it in usually adds too much, which can make fabrics stiff and greasy, and reduces the absorbency of towels.
Using Too Much Laundry Detergent
Raise your hand if you’ve ever added a little extra detergent to an extra-dirty load of washing. Well, it turns out that if you use too much, the detergent and your stains might not rinse out.
Using a Feather Duster
It only spreads dust from one surface to another. Try a microfibre cloth instead, which will grab and hold onto particles.
Using The Same Rag Everywhere
Streaky surfaces? You might be overusing your cleaning cloth and spreading germs while you’re at it. Even if your towel doesn’t look old, it should be replaced often if it’s used on high-traffic (read: super dirty) areas.
Overloading Your Dishwasher
Stacking dishes or putting too many utensils in your basket could impact your appliance’s ability to reach items with soap and water — meaning they won’t get clean. Even worse, if you pre-rinse your dishes, you might not notice.
Tossing Certain Kitchen Utensils in The Dishwasher
No matter what style of dishwasher you have, some utensils should absolutely not be placed in a dishwasher without a little bit of love first. Since garlic is so sticky, bits of the food might get stuck in the crevices of your garlic press if you use it and then just throw it in the dishwasher. You should always handwash your utensils to ensure it’s clean for tomorrow’s dinner prep.
Using Dish Soap on Your Wooden Cutting Boards
When it comes to wooden chopping boards, soap and warm water don’t always cut it. After using one to slice meat or poultry, soak it in bleach solution to prevent cross-contamination when preparing your next meal.
Spraying Furniture With Polish
When you spray furniture directly it creates build-up that is tough to remove and attracts even more dust. Spray a cloth with the polish and then clean.
Forgetting to Clean Out Your Vacuum
If you forget this step, you’ll end up pushing dirt around while also wondering if your fancy new vacuum cleaner was really worth it.
Not Dusting Your Windows
Before washing them, that is. If you forget to tackle the dust on your sills, any window cleaner that drips onto the frame will become a muddy mess of dusty liquid. A vacuum or microfiber cloth will sort this out nicely.
Ignoring Remote Controls
Your remote controls are handled by a lot of people every day, and need to be wiped down with disinfectant weekly.
Ignoring Your Biggest Touch Points
Taps, handles and doorknobs are some of the most touched areas in your home, so it makes sense that they’re also the germiest. Take to them with a disinfectant wipe to keep germs at bay.
Rushing Your Tile Cleaner
Give tile cleaners a few minutes to work before wiping them away. Letting them sit helps dissolve grime so less scrubbing is required, especially when it comes to cleaning grout.
Ignoring Crumbs in Crevices
Before you take to your keyboard with a disinfectant wipe, make sure you turn it over and tap out food crumbs first.
Storing a Wet Toilet Brush
Hello, breeding ground for bacteria! Instead of just dropping your wet brush into the holder, set it across the seat so it can drip-dry over the bowl.
Keep Toothbrush in the Dark
The medicine cabinet might seem like a germ-free environment, but the lack of light makes it prone to bacteria. Keep your brush out in the light — just flush with the lid closed.
Forgetting Your Trash Bag
If you notice an unpleasant odor (especially around your kitchen), it might mean you haven’t been cleaning your rubbish bin enough. Wipe it down once a week with a cleaner containing bleach to keep nasty smells under control.
Overlooking Reusable Bags
Grocery shopping bags might have lingering food bacteria on them so treat them like any other fabrics in terms of care. Wash inside out.
Washing Windows When its Sunny
The heat will cause your window cleaner to dry before you can finish cleaning, leaving streaks. Cloudy days are best.
Using Dish Soap For Everything
While this grease-fighting product is powerful, it leaves streaks behind on surfaces that aren’t plates and cups. So you should steer clear of using this liquid soap on your car windows and mirrors.
Using Dirty Sponges
These cleaning superheroes aren’t actually that helpful if you don’t sanitize them every few days. To do this, soak your sponge in water, place it in a microwavable dish and then heat it on high for a minute.
Forgetting to Clean Your Dishwasher
Food can get stuck around your dishwasher’s filter. Regularly remove the filter, rinse it and run a cycle with a machine cleaner to keep your dishwasher in tip top shape.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love