9 common (and 1 very dangerous) cleaning mistakes

Bleach doesn’t clean everything (sometimes it sets the stain). And if you’re spraying your product straight on the counter, you’re actually making it dirtier. Surprised? So were we. Here are common cleaning mistakes and the quickest way to do it right.

1. Don’t spray product on the counter.

You almost always end up applying too much, which leaves a gummy, sticky residue that dirt can stick to. Instead, spray on a microfiber cloth or rag. You save on cleaning product, and get a better clean too.

2. Don’t vacuum pet fur

Vacuums blast pet fur into the air (hello, allergies). Pick up visible pet fur with a Swiffer (or any electrostatic dry mop), then use your vacuum’s wand attachment to carefully suction the rest.

3. Don’t use laundry stain removers on carpets

“If it cleans my shirt, it should clean my carpet, right?” No. Laundry stain removers are usually thick and impossible to completely scrub off a rug, and the sticky residue just attracts dirt. Tip: to get rid of carpet stains – even old ones – use your steam iron. (Watch the tutorial.

4. Don’t use a dry rag to dust furniture

You’ll just be flicking dust around. Use a microfiber cloth, or a slightly damp rag. An old toothbrush can help you get dust out of intricate carvings.

5. Don’t use bleach to remove rust stains

The bleach actually sets the stain and intensifies the discoloration (some complicated chemistry at work here – but trust us on this one.) What works: lemon juice and salt. Squeeze the lemon, completely saturating the spot, sprinkle salt, and leave for 24 hours. Blot off the stain.

6. Don’t use bleach on stainless steel

Bleach stains the steel, and some cleaning sprays can leave residue that dulls the finish. A cheap but effective solution – vinegar and a microfiber cloth. The secret to the shine is how you wipe: press the cloth on the water stains, then wipe with the grain from left to right and top to bottom.

7. Don’t wash windows on a sunny day

The glass cleanser evaporates faster, so you get ugly streaks. Best time to clean on overcast days, or in the late afternoon or evening. Professional window cleaners also use squeegees and this awesome fanning move.

8. Don’t clean stone counters with vinegar

Vinegar’s a natural disinfectant, but the acids seep into granite and other natural stone counters. Buy gentle stone cleaners instead.

9. Don’t mix bleach with ammonia

This is the most dangerous mistake you can make. Bleach and ammonia will combine to produce a gas that can constrict breathing. Since some cleaning products can contain ammonia (or its chemical derivatives) you should only mix bleach with water.

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