Common Cleaning Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Stuff

Okay, CleanGeeks. We consider ourselves experts when it comes to keeping things spotless. Yet, even I, Claire, have made cleaning mistakes.

Like when I almost washed the car with dishwashing liquid. Oops. But I know I’m not the only one who messes up. My mother once used spray polish on our dining room table that had, key word being had, a French polish finish. I know she meant well helping out, but it was kind of heartbreaking to see that finish cloud over.

So here’s the dirt on common cleaning mistakes, some of which — I confess — I have made.

  • More is not better. Say you spill wine on your carpet. The cleaning solution says one teaspoon or two sprays. Using four or five is just overkill and it won’t work any better. Follow the directions to the letter. And do not scrub stains on carpets, blot them!
  • Natural cleaners are great, but they’re not right for everything. Remember, lemon and vinegar can work wonders, but they’re natural acids that can damage finishes. Just because they’re natural, doesn’t mean they’re mild.
  • Avoid cleaning windows on a sunny day. The cleaner will dry too quickly, leaving streaks on the glass.
  • Use the right tools. A putty knife isn’t the right tool to remove sticky substances and you may ruin the finish of what you’re trying to save.
  • Stop speed cleaning. While we might want chores to be done in an instant, many cleaning products take time to work.
  • Read the directions. Carefully. Don’t just use cleaning products the way you think they should be used.
  • Use the right products for the right task. For instance, don’t use furniture polish to dust. It should be used sparingly because it has oil in it, which can smear. And never use spray cleaners on your TV screen or LCD screens — use a microfiber cloth.
  • Never, ever mix cleaning products. You might create a lethal concoction.
  • Don’t neglect commonly overlooked germ magnets like your phone, toothbrush holders or doorknobs.
  • Don’t forget to wear gloves, even when working with natural cleaners.
  • And the lesson I nearly learned the hard way — never use dishwashing liquid to wash your car. It’s one of the worst things to use because it cuts grease with abrasives and will eventually dull the finish. 

So, let’s be honest, we’ve all made cleaning mistakes. Share some of yours here, and you just might save your fellow Clean Geeks from potential peril.