Before you dive in and devote an entire weekend to tackling the grime and clutter, do take a look at some of the most common cleaning mistakes we make that affect our home cleanliness and health.
1. Not making cleaning a habit
Spring cleaning is great to completely clean your home just once a year, but getting into daily habits and routines of cleaning and de-cluttering can make a tremendous difference and help you avoid a tiring annual spring cleaning event. Some simple things you can do include:
- putting a squeegee in the bathroom and wiping down the shower, toilet and sink after each use (only takes a couple of minutes!)
- 15 minutes decluttering sessions each day
- keeping a “donation” basket out at all times to place items you plan to give away, so they don’t pile up in closets and cupboards or the garage
By embracing everyday tidiness, your next spring cleaning project could be years down the road!
Check out more great tips on developing clean-house habits one at a time from zen habits.
2. Using a feather duster
Using a feather duster to dust surfaces will only spread the dust from one surface to another.
Switch to a microfibre cloth instead, which will grab and hold onto particles.
Alternatively, an air purifier in rooms can filter airborne dust and other harmful contaminants from indoor air.
3. Forgetting to clean your vacuum cleaner and other appliances / tools
Forget this, and you’ll just end up circulating dirt around your home!
Each vacuum cleaner would come with specific instructions on how to clean it beyond emptying the dust bag or compartment. Be sure to thoroughly clean the canister, vacuum head (including the brushes and bristles), and the filter!
Be sure to follow the instructions in the manual carefully!
4. Not washing windows correctly
We often forget to dust the windows before washing them. If you don’t dust the window sills, any window cleaner that drips onto the frame will become a muddy mess of dusty liquid. A vacuum cleaner or microfibre cloth can tackle it nicely.
Another thing we get wrong with windows is washing them in the hot sun. This increases the chances of you getting ugly streaks on your windows, making it seem like they’ve never been washed at all! This is because the sun heats up the glass and dries the cleaning solution before you can remove it, leaving behind ugly streaks and marks.
Ashley Poskin at Apartment Therapy suggests washing the windows only when they are in the shade and cooled off. For the best results, you can use a squeegee and overlap your strokes, but if you don’t have one of those, some newspaper or coffee filter will do the trick too.
5. Ignoring the most-used touch points
Your door knobs, handles, switches and remotes are some of the most touched items in your house every day, so it makes sense that they also harbour the most germs and bacteria, yet they’re frequently overlooked.
Use a disinfectant wipe to keep germs at bay. Don’t forget to address these bacteria hot spots when wiping down places like the kitchen and bathroom.
6. Not cleaning your dishwasher or washing machine
This one might seem counter-intuitive, but even cleaning machines require cleaning.
Dishwashers can get clogged with soap scum, food debris, and hard water deposits, and if not cleaned regularly, it can even harbour mould. Similarly, washing machines are especially susceptible to mould and mildew from all the water and damp clothes that go through them, leaving your clothes smelling less than fresh after being washed.
To clean, run your dishwasher with a heavy-duty cleaning agent through the wash cycle, or follow the recommendations provided in the product manual. For your washing machine, a simple hot cycle run with a mix of vinegar and baking soda should help!
7. Using the same cleaning rag or sponge everywhere.
If you’re getting streaky surfaces everywhere you clean, you’ve probably overused your cleaning cloth and (gulp!) spreading germs while you’re at it. Even if the sponge or cloth doesn’t look old or dirty, it should be replaced often if it’s used on high-traffic and therefore, dirtier areas.
So what’s the best way to clean it? Good Housekeeping worked with a testing lab and found that the best germ killer is using bleach solution, which killed 99.9% of the three bacteria strains from all their test sponges (scrub and regular cellulose), a benchmark based on the EPA’s requirement for sanitisation of non-food-contact surfaces. Mix 3/4 cup of bleach in one gallon (3.7L) of water, and soak the sponge for five minutes.
No bleach on hand? Use your microwave or dishwasher. Put a sponge into a regular dishwasher load, using the “heated dry” setting. In the microwave, saturate the sponge (we used 1/4 cup of water for scrub sponges and 1/2 cup for cellulose); heat on High for one minute (scrub) or two minutes (cellulose). Keep an eye on it.
Remember to squeeze out as much water as possible from your cleaning tools and allow them to dry properly.
Check out their full test here.
8. Curtains, blinds, upholstery, and throw pillows
They might look clean to the naked eye, but they trap everything from pollen and dust mites, to bacteria and mould. Those sofa throw pillows are collecting the same (if not more) dead skin, dust mites, and filth.
Use a vacuum cleaner’s upholstery attachment to clean curtains, upholstery and throw pillows. Wash throw pillow covers periodically, and for heavy curtains, check the label to see if washing or professional cleaning is an option.
9. Kitchen trash can
If there’s a foul odour lingering even after you take the trash out, it’s probably from leftover food debris and bacteria inside the trash can. Get it clean by hosing out any gunk before spraying with a disinfectant and an odour-eliminating product. Then, give it a nice and thorough scrub inside and out, and let it dry completely before using it again.
10. Not reading the instructions
There’ll be a few appliances from winter you’ll be keeping away for spring, such as your heater or dehumidifier. If you won’t be using it over spring, be sure you’ve followed the manual’s instructions on how to properly clean and prepare it for storage.
After cleaning it, store it in its original box, or cover with plastic to keep dust and dirt away while in storage. This will ensure that the unit is clean and functional the next time you take it out for use.
Now that you’ve got the above mistakes out of the way, it’s time to start spring cleaning! We love StayAtHomeMum’s handy Spring Cleaning Checklist.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general reference only. Please seek advice from professionals according to your needs.