Making the effort to keep your home clean and tidy is definitely half the battle. However, many people who do take the time to clean are actually making some quite substantial mistakes whilst doing so. Here are some of the most common:
Perhaps the most common cleaning mistake that people make occurs when they spill something that stains – red wine, or fruit juice – onto a carpet, and then in a mad panic desperately try and scrub it out. However, scrubbing can actually untwist carpet fibres, meaning that once the stain has gone, the area it covered can look rough and worn. The key to dealing with one of those evil stains is to first remove any excess you can using a spoon, and then blot the area using a clean white cloth or paper towel (no designs, as designs can bleed through). Change the towels frequently, and continue the process until there isn’t any more moisture. Once this has been done, you can then treat the area with a quality stain remover to get rid of any remaining colour.
Whilst it makes sense that you might want to do housework on a sunny day, cleaning your windows during those warmer times is actually quite a bad idea. The reason? The heat of the sun will cause the cleaning solution you use to dry too quickly, and as a result some nasty looking streaks will be left on the glass. Your best bet is to save the window cleaning until it’s cloudy outside. (There are plenty of other areas to clean, after all!). When you do the windows, ensure that you use a squeegee, and pull it down vertically across the window pane, overlapping strokes slightly to avoid leaving lines.
In a bid to be more green (which is no bad thing in itself) many cleaners have started using more and more natural cleaning aids, with two of the most popular being lemon juice and vinegar. In some situations, these products are great. On others, though, they’re actually corrosive. Yes, that vinegar you’re scrubbing into your marble counter-top is actually dulling the appearance of the stone! Avoid using the materials on any natural stone such as onyx, limestone or travertine, or else that beautiful work will soon look seriously drab. Obviously some materials are absolutely fine – when dealing with plastics or fibreglass, vinegar and lemon juice away!
Marketing professionals are quite devious. All those adverts that show counter-tops being wiped sparkling clean? Many of them are manipulating you. You already know that there are some areas of the home (kitchen sinks, bathtubs, door handles and countertops) that have to be cleaned using a genuine disinfectant because they’re more susceptible towards developing bacteria. However, whilst many cleaners are promoted as being ideal for cleaning kitchens and bathrooms, they’re not actually disinfectants, just normal cleaners. Look for an EPA registration number (disinfectants always have them), and check the product label. Don’t be fooled by the adverts; clean your home using the real deal!
Whilst we’re always keen to promote the virtues of the humble kitchen scourer, it’s actually a good example of a cleaning tool that people use way too much, often for jobs that it’s simply not suited to. Scourers are obviously ideal for scrubbing away the real tough dishes such as grill grates or pots and pans, but for plastic or ceramics they can actually be dangerous, sometimes permanently scratching the surface. Don’t ever use tough cleaning products on more delicate materials.
Just as you wouldn’t use half the bottle of shower gel when washing yourself, you don’t need to use four sprays of cleaner when doing the kitchen! Remember, if using more of the product led to better results, the companies would tell you. They want to sell the product, after all! It’s more sensible to simply use the amount of material recommended on the label, and combine that with some good old fashioned elbow grease!