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Conquer Common Cleaning Mistakes with These Tips

We want you to have the best experience possible when living in an Invitation Home. And we know maintaining a house takes work, so we’re here to help along the way. Here are some common cleaning mistakes you might be making and not even realize it, as well as tips on what to do instead.

General Cleaning Mistakes

  1. Mixing cleaning products, especially ammonia and bleach, is very dangerous. This combination creates a toxic gas that can cause respiratory issues. Most cleaners, such as glass and multi-purpose cleaners, contain ammonia. Regardless of whether a cleaning product has ammonia or bleach, it’s best to avoid mixing products at all. Also, be sure your cleaning chemicals are stored in a dry and safe area, out of reach of children and pets, and that everything is clearly labeled.
  2. To preserve the quality of your furniture and other surfaces in your home, it’s best to avoid spraying cleaners directly on the surface. Instead, spray the cleaner on your rag first, and then wipe down the surface. Remember that a little goes a long way. Don’t overuse your cleaning chemicals.
  3. For carpet spills, don’t scrub to get the stain out, as this could make it worse. Instead, blot at the spill with water after removing any solid debris. You can use dish soap, but you need very little. After you’ve done all you can with the blotting technique, use your vacuum on the highest suction setting to go over the spot, adding water as necessary. Do not saturate the carpet because it could break down the backing of the carpet. If there is still any visible discoloration from the spill, refer to the Carpet and Rug Institute of America for the best spot-removing solvents.

Cleaning Mistakes in the Kitchen

  1. Depending on what kind of counters you have in your kitchen, you should follow different guidelines when cleaning them.
    1. For granite counters, don’t use acidic cleaners when doing your daily wipe down. Products containing ammonia, lemon, vinegar, or bleach can damage the granite’s sealant, which can cause discoloration and erosion. You can find cleaners specifically made for cleaning granite surfaces at the store, or you can simply use a small amount of dish soap with a sponge. Both will get the job done!
    2. With laminate surfaces, avoid using abrasive scrubbers like steel wool and other scouring. These can leave scratches and will dull the surface.
  1. To keep your stainless-steel surfaces looking new, stay away from bleach, window cleaners, and abrasive cleaning pads when cleaning. They’ll cause damage that may include scratches and dulling.
    1. The best way to clean stainless steel appliances is to simply use a washcloth dipped in warm water mixed with mild dish detergent to wipe down any stainless steel surfaces. Additionally, there are products you can find in stores that are specifically formulated to safely clean stainless steel.

Dos and Don’ts of Cleaning Your Walls

The walls of a home sometimes get overlooked on dusting day. Believe it or not, vertical surfaces collect dust too, especially if they’re textured. Dusting your walls is important to do once a month. You can find extended dusters with microfiber cloths at your local grocery store. For textured or paneled walls, your vacuum cleaner will help to clean dust off the walls. The best technique for dusting your wall is to start at the top and then work your way down. Don’t forget to clean the baseboards as some of the dust from the walls might fall as you’re wiping them down. Run the cloth along the baseboard to wipe off the dust.

For larger dirt stains on your walls, a little more elbow-grease is needed. Begin by dusting your walls before applying any liquid. For painted walls, use a mixture of warm water and mild dish detergent. Gently scrub your walls with a non-abrasive washcloth; be sure to lay towels on the floor to catch any water that drips down the wall. If you’re cleaning temporary wallpaper, you’ll need to be a little more delicate. You can use a slightly damp washcloth to wipe away dirt and grime. Be sure not to scrub as this could make the color fade.

The most common cleaning mistake that anyone can make is not cleaning often enough! Without a regular cleaning routine in place, dirt and grime build up, making it harder to remove when you clean. The longer you go without cleaning, the more effort you’ll have to put in once you do. Here’s a general list of how often you should be cleaning certain areas in your home:

  • Wipe down kitchen counters daily.
  • Clean your toilet bowls, shower walls, and bathtubs once a week.
  • After using a sponge, thoroughly rinse it out and leave it somewhere with good air circulation so it can fully dry. Replace sponges every two weeks to prevent bacteria growth.
  • Dust light fixtures and ceiling fans once a week and AC vents once a month.
  • Use multi-media-safe cloths and cleaners on your electronics once a week.
  • Prevent mildew by cleaning grout once a month.

By following these dos and don’ts of cleaning, you’ll be able to keep your home in excellent condition and won’t have chores hanging over your head. When it comes to cleaning, it’s best to prevent dirt and grime, not fight it once it’s already moved in. See more resident responsibilities here.

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