Are Your Cleaning Habits Harming Your Home

Are Your Cleaning Habits Harming Your Home

When it comes to cleaning our homes, we often fall into the habit, using outdated techniques and supplies that end up making our work less effective. Often, just cutting some corners to save time can reduce the effectiveness of your cleaning, precipitate germ spread, and damage surfaces. Here are three common cleaning mistakes made around the house.

Using All-Purpose Cleaner on Everything

“All-purpose” or “all-surface” household cleaners are convenient and smell nice. However, some people overuse their all-purpose cleaners because they assume they work well on any surface. The reality is, you should avoid applying all-purpose cleaners to many surfaces throughout your home.

Don’t use an all-purpose cleaner to clean your entire floor. It might work well for small spills, but don’t use it to clean your floor, be it tile, linoleum, laminate, or hardwood. This is because all-purpose cleaners can leave behind a film. This film is usually very subtle, but it can certainly reduce your floor’s shine. You have probably noticed this if you have tried to use an all-surface cleaner on your mirrors or glass and realized it doesn’t work as well as a designated glass cleaner. Just like you do with your glass surfaces, use a designated floor cleaner to keep your floor looking great.

Vacuuming Hard Floors

Are Your Cleaning Habits Harming Your Home

Image via Flickr by Ivy Dawned

Vacuuming hardwood floors is much easier and quicker than mopping or sweeping. However, it is not nearly as effective, especially if you have pets that shed. A vacuum’s motor often blows this super-light hair away, spreading it around instead of sucking it up. If you do insist on using a vacuum, you will get much better results if you use the wand or hose attachment on your hardwoods. This way the air is not blowing the hair and dust away before you can suck it up.

Let Your Cleaning Supplies Dry Before Putting Them Away

We use scrub brushes, sponges, toilet bowl cleaners, mops, and other tools that need to be wet to clean surfaces. Then, when we’re finished, we usually put the tool away and move on to the next task. This is never a good idea. If you throw a sponge back under your sink while it is still wet, mold can develop. Even if that sponge is filled with soap, it can become moldy and smelly. The same goes for mops and scrub brushes.

You want to be especially careful to allow your toilet bowl cleaner to dry completely before returning it to the base. Toilet cleaning is just about the dirtiest home cleaning job, and you don’t want to make it even less sanitary by returning the wand to the base while it is still wet, where bacteria will form. You should also wipe down and dry your cleaning bottles before putting them back in a cabinet. The dripping cleaning solution can stain your cabinets and damage the wood. As silly as it sounds, you do need to clean your cleaning supplies.

Do your house and family a favor, and avoid these three common cleaning activities that spread germs and harm surfaces.


  1. I am one of those abusers of all purpose cleaners. I was just thinking I needed one specifically for wood as I was cleaning my piano a few days ago with it.

  2. I always make sure that my cleaning supplies are dry before I put them away. I’ve never used all-purpose cleaners, thankfully. Thanks for the tips!

  3. All of these are important tips for the cleaning. And definitely, let the things dry before putting them back because bacteria will form.

  4. I honestly don’t pay much attention to the cleaners I buy… I think I should be a little more weary as to what I purchase and use in the home. I know all that bleach can’t be good to be breathing in!

  5. The only thing I do right is let me cleaning products dry before storing them away. I don’t really use product on much. Just anti bacterial wipes on counters and a swiffer to dust around the house. I hate cleaning to be honest. The older I get the more I say f it haha.

  6. We try to use all natural cleaners in the house. I didn’t think about the vacuum blowing around hair and dust though, but it makes sense. I’ll have to keep these tips in mind next time I clean.

  7. I had to switch to an all natural cleaner. It was tearing my floors and counters up with how much I clean.

  8. This is some very good info. I didn’t know a lot of this. Glad to know more about the all purpose cleaners. I honestly didn’t know that.

  9. I have seen some gross toilet bowl brushes from people putting them away wet. So disgusting! These are great cleaning tips, though we do vacuum our hardwood floors, with a vacuum that works really well. 🙂 Our entire house is hardwood and tile so there’s no way we could sweep and mop it all.

  10. I am guilty of all these things!! Ack! What else am I doing wrong?

  11. I never thought about the all purpose cleaners, I really do use them all over. I need to read labels and be more careful about what I am using.

  12. I am a huge “all purpose cleaner” fanatic. I love to get the chemical-free versions but have been trying out others as well.

  13. Great advice!! Especially about letting sponges and such dry first!
    I do not use all-purpose cleaners because it is harmful to my pets.
    We have all hardwood floors and while it is frustrating to have to mop often – that is what we do.

  14. This is great information. I have found that a vacuum with a hard surface setting works incredibly well. It eliminates the scattering of dust and debris by the roller brush.

  15. Great tips. I vacuum my whole house, including my laminate wood floors. I have a Dyson made with a hard floor option, and I love it. Does a much better job than sweeping for me, since I have severe allergies. I do agree about mopping though, one should always mop, and with the correct cleaner.

  16. Floors are an expensive investment, you don’t want to damage them for sure.

  17. I didn’t know that about all purpose cleaners! I think I use some, so I’ll have to try something else. I don’t want to damage my floors, because I do use it to scrub away stains.

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