For many families, the warmer weather means one thing: spring cleaning. After many months of closing the windows to keep the cold out, you can finally open them up and shake some of the dust out. Cleaning from top to bottom can be a bit of a chore, but it’s rewarding to sit back in a freshly cleaned home.
You may think the process is straightforward. But did you know you can actually waste unneeded time to clean one area (or just make the job a lot harder) with just a few simple mistakes?
The key to a really clean home is to avoid these spring cleaning faux pas:
1. Not Having a Plan
It’s tempting to go from room to room, cleaning the things that are obviously dirty, but it’s best to start with a plan in mind. Make a list of all the rooms you need to clean and what you need to do in each room. Your list should go beyond scrubbing with cleaners. You should also be thinking about organization. Look for clothes you haven’t been wearing and kitchen gadgets you never use. Spring is the perfect time to get rid of these things.
2. Starting from the Bottom
You quite literally should be cleaning your home from the top down. If you start by washing the carpets, then cleaning the fans, you’ll find a lot of dust dropping down to your freshly cleaned floors. It’s helpful to list the things you need to do to clean each room separately, then put them in an order that makes the most sense.
3. Using Dirty Rags and Mops
Don’t forget to clean your cleaning tools! If you’re taking the same cleaning rag or mop from room to room, you’re bringing germs along with it. Use a mop that can be thrown into the washer. Buy plenty of rags – or make your own from used towels – so you always have a fresh supply on hand. Switch to a fresh rag when you switch tasks or rooms.
4. Forgetting Areas
If you’re making a cleaning plan on your own, you may be forgetting some important areas. For instance, you might know you should dust the baseboards along the bottom of the walls, but did you remember to dust the door frame? You might remember to wash your blankets and sheets, but when was the last time you cleaned the washing machine? It’s helpful to get a list online to be sure you’re not forgetting anything.
5. Mixing Cleaning Products
Combining cleaning products can be dangerous. For instance, when you mix bleach and vinegar, you can create a poisonous gas that could seriously harm you. While you probably wouldn’t intentionally mix the two, you might try cleaning with vinegar, then decide you needed a deeper clean with a bleach-based product. Check out these cleaning products you should never mix for more information.
6. Cleaning with the Wrong Tools
Rather than going out to buy a whole new set of cleaning supplies, most people try to use the things they already have on hand. This isn’t always the best idea. For instance, certain types of sponges or cleansers can scrape delicate materials, like the countertops, stove, or bathtub. Traditional mops don’t always work well on hardwood floors because they can leave pools of water that will damage the wood. Make sure you know which materials are best for cleaning the things in your home and have those items on hand.
7. Scrubbing Stains
When you see a stain on your couch or the floor, your instinct might tell you to apply a stain remover, then scrub at it. This can cause the stain to spread or seep deeper into the material. Instead, you should focus on blotting the stain out. If you’re not sure what to do to remove a stain, consult the manufacturer’s guidelines.
8. Waiting too Long to Change the Vacuum Bag
If you’re like most people, you wait until the vacuum bag is practically bursting at the seams before you decide to change it. After all, you don’t want to be wasteful. This can be harmful if it takes a few months to fill up that vacuum bag. For instance, if you were to vacuum up a piece of food the kids dropped on the floor, it could start to grow mold sitting in the bag for a few weeks. If you have a canister-style vacuum that you empty each time or you vacuum enough that you’re filling a bag each week, you probably don’t have to worry. Others should consider changing the bag more frequently.
9. Losing Steam
It’s easy to start your spring cleaning project off with a bang, but after a few hours – or days – of cleaning, it starts to lose its appeal. Rather than feeling like you need to get everything done in a single weekend, try breaking things down into smaller tasks. Do a few things each weekend for a month or two. The house will eventually be cleaned, but you’ll still have some time for yourself.
10. Waiting Until Spring
Spring cleaning doesn’t have to take place in the spring. You could also do many of the tasks during the winter months when you’re stuck inside anyway. It’s also a good idea to create a regular cleaning schedule so you’re never stuck spending the entire weekend cleaning. Taking on a few daily, weekly, and monthly tasks means your home never gets to a point where it needs a deep clean.
A deep cleaning of the home fits in well with spring’s theme of a fresh new start. By taking care to do it properly, you can be certain your home will be free from dirt, grime, and germs.