If you’re a responsible homeowner – which, let’s not kid ourselves, you definitely are – you maintain your property. This includes cleaning it, which of course you do regularly. But are you actually hurting your home more than you’re helping it? Here are a few common cleaning mistakes and how to avoid them.
Bleach in a carpet shampooer
Let’s say you have a white carpet, and you want to clean it. You go to the grocery store and rent a carpet machine, and decide to bleach your carpet. You also get an upholstery attachment to clean your white couch. Your carpet is white. Your couch is white. Bleach is good for whites. What could go wrong?
Bleach is great for getting stains – and all color – out of just about anything. It’s also a strong base, which means it’s corrosive. Carpet cleaners leave a damp residue, which isn’t an issue for a skin-safe cleaner like the ones that most grocery stores and rental shops sell. If you use bleach, expect to deal with rashes on your feet, and irritation on your skin if you sit on that couch. The bleach can also weaken your carpet and furniture, meaning you’ll have to replace it sooner.
Pressure washers on wood siding
Wood siding looks beautiful. It’s classic, and it’s a huge selling point if you’re putting your home on the market. Unfortunately, it has to be painted from time to time, which means removing the old paint. Many people choose a pressure washer, but this isn’t a good choice for wood siding. Wood, particularly thin cedar shakes, can gouge if you hit it with a stream of water strong enough to remove paint. This can lead to costly repairs, or reduced curb appeal. Use a chemical peeler instead, and save yourself some money.
Dish soap on a butcher block
Dish soap can leave a residue, and soak into porous surfaces like wood. For butcher blocks and wooden cutting boards, this can mean that everything you cut ends up tasting like soap. This is one thing you can actually clean with bleach. Gently wash your cutting board or butcher block with a bleach solution, rinse with water, and you’ll be all set to prepare your next meal without any funky soap flavor.
Vinegar on stone counters
Vinegar is a great cleaner for most surfaces. It’s mild, it’s antiseptic, and it won’t damage your skin. For stone counters, though, it can be the kiss of death. Stone counters, particularly granite, are sensitive to acids, including vinegar. Use a stone-safe cleaner on your granite counter, and it will last you for years. As a side note, be careful of all acidic foods on stone counters.
If you spill lemon juice or tomato sauce, clean it up immediately to keep your countertops finish intact. Karina Toner, owner of Spekless Cleaning, an Arlington, VA maid service, suggests using a mixture of dawn and water if you are ever not sure of how a surface will react to vinegar. Better to play it safe than sorry.
Not letting cleaning products do their work
This won’t directly damage your home, but it will impact your wallet. Many cleaning products instruct you to let them sit for a few minutes before scrubbing or rinsing. By rushing the process and not letting the cleaners do their work, you can end up spending more on cleaning products, and cleaning more often than you need to.
Today’s post was from Anita Edwards – professional writer and editor. She works as blog editor at Spekless, where she shares her own and her colleagues’ tips for cleaning. In her free time, she enjoys cooking and going on day trips with her children.