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5 Costly Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid


There are so many old wives’ tales and cleaning hacks out there that it can be hard to know what to believe. Sometimes, a DIY natural cleaning solution or a spot stain “fix” can be costlier than calling in a professional for a full-day blitz! From removing marks on your walls to cleaning your stone counter, here’s what to watch out for and how to do it safely.

1. Cleaning your walls with the wrong products.

Using quick-fix products to blot out small marks can result in your wall resembling a dot-the-dot game says Elke Keeley, co-founder of the Urban You cleaning company. For small marked areas, she recommends a “spot wash” using a microfiber cloth. 

“Dip the corner into bicarbonate soda, which acts as an abrasive, then lightly rub the area,” she says. Follow with dry wiping using a new microfiber cloth. To clean large areas of walls, use a microfiber cloth dipped in a bucket of warm water and sugar soap. Got a grease patch? Simply rub white chalk over the area which absorbs the resin, then dust clean with a microfiber cloth.

2. Using oven cleaner on your stainless-steel stovetop.

Thinking about applying oven cleaner to your grimy stovetop? As anyone who has done it can attest, you’re likely to be left with scratched up stainless steel and corroded heat units and knobs — meaning you’ll need to replace your stovetop. Yikes. 

Try this DIY natural cleaning solution instead: Add water to a cup of baking soda and stir to make a thin paste. Apply the paste thinly, then squirt enough vinegar onto the baking soda paste that it starts to fizz. Gently wipe clean with a damp microfiber cloth.

3. Using natural cleaning remedies to clean stone.

While vinegar and lemon juice are popular natural cleaning ingredients, using them on natural stone will damage it — permanently. Avoid using any kind of acid cleaner (including vinegar, ammonia, lemon, or orange cleaners) on marble, limestone, travertine, terrazzo, conglomerate marble, grout, and cement-based concrete slabs and tiles. 

Instead, you’re best to stick to microfiber cloths and water, or if they need a little extra love, a purpose-made cleanser.

4. Using DIY leather cleaning tricks to remove stains.

One year it was baby wipes, another it was painting the stain with cuticle remover. While these methods might remove your stain, they cause the leather to wear far quicker than it otherwise would — and can also cause unsightly faded spots. Your best bet is to get onto the stain immediately, using water and a microfiber cloth, or a purpose-made cleaner. If you can’t remove it yourself, the quicker you get a professional onto it, the easier it will be to remove.

5. Not removing urine out of carpets properly.

Getting pet urine out of a carpet is tricky. Fail to get it all out and it can soak through to the concrete or wood underneath, where it will retain the smell forevermore. Using the wrong product to get it out (for example, disinfectant or bleach) can lock urine into the fibers, rendering the correct cleaning products less effective. 

Instead, grab an absorbent tissue and soak up as much liquid as possible. Then make up a mixture of 2 cups shampoo, 2 cups water and 1.5 oz. of white vinegar. Dab (don’t rub) a clean white cloth moistened with the solution on the stain. Continue to blot until the urine has been absorbed up out of the carpet into the cloth, then carefully brush the area in the direction of the pile.

This post was written by Homes to Love editors. For more, check out our sister site, Homes to Love.

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