The average person spends about six hours per week cleaning their home. That amounts to almost 1,000 days spent cleaning in a lifetime. With so much time dedicated to keeping a clean, tidy space, you certainly want to know that you’re doing it right! Think you’ve got housekeeping all figured out? You might be surprised to learn you’re making some mistakes. Check out these 10 common housekeeping mistakes and what you can do to avoid them!

1. You Aren’t Replacing Your Sponge

You might think it’s your toilet bowl or your trash can, but your kitchen sponge is actually the filthiest item in your home. Old food and meat particles quickly build up in your sponge, creating the perfect moist environment for bacteria to thrive. Sponges can carry nasty pathogenic bacteria, including E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and staphylococcus.

You can sanitize your sponge with a diluted bleach solution, but it’s best to replace it every 7-10 days. If you wash your dishes by hand, avoid using the kitchen sponge. Instead, use a dish cloth that can be thrown into the laundry after use.

2. You Load Utensils Incorrectly

Yes, the way you load your utensils matters. Most people tend to place all their silverware either handle-up or handle-down. This can cause your forks and spoons to “spoon” each other, preventing the jets from properly cleaning.

Instead, alternate the direction of your spoons and forks to create space. It might take you a few more seconds to put them away later, but you’ll have brighter cleaner utensils.

3. You Use Harsh Cleaners on Your Stove

Not all chemicals can or should be used for cleaning home appliances, especially your stovetop. Only use cleaners specifically designed for cleaning your stove, and make sure the surface dries completely before cooking. Otherwise, you could be emitting chemicals into the air and your food.

In most cases, all you need to clean the stove is a soft dishcloth and warm water. If you need a little more grease-fighting power, use a fifty-fifty mix of white vinegar and hot water.

4. You Use Too Much Laundry Detergent

You don’t need to use a full cup for every load; in fact, you probably don’t even need half a cup. Using more detergent won’t make your clothes cleaner, but it will wear and tear on them and your washer.

In general, you only need about a tablespoon of laundry detergent to wash a load of clothes. For large loads or bulky items like towels and sheets, you could use two tablespoons. Laundry detergent is highly concentrated, so it doesn’t take much to properly wash your clothes.

5. You Overload Your Dryer

We’ve all been there: it’s Sunday night and you have a flight first thing Monday morning. You aren’t sure why you waited so long to do your laundry, but now you’re cramming armfuls of wet clothes into your dryer. Slow down; overstuffing your dryer isn’t good for your clothes, your dryer, or your electric bill.

When items aren’t able to move and tumble freely, they become twisted and tangled, and it takes much longer for them to dry. Overloading your dryer puts a lot of pressure on the drum to stay balanced, wearing down your machine and increasing your risk of fire. Instead, you should avoid filling your clothes dryer more than halfway, and less is better.

6. You Aren’t Cleaning Carpets and Mats

It’s easy to believe that you only need to vacuum your carpets and rugs, but vacuuming only removes surface dust. To remove deep dirt, dust, and bacteria, you need to wash your high-traffic rugs every three to six months. Regularly cleaning your carpets will help them look and smell better, last longer, and resist accumulating more dirt.

For more icky rugs like kitchen and bath mats, you should be cleaning at least once per week. These rugs collect a lot of moisture, bacteria, and other particles that make them nastier.

7. You Don’t Clean Your Reusable Bags

Investing in reusable grocery bags is a great way to protect the environment, but they can also introduce a lot of germs into your home and your food. You should be cleaning your grocery bags after every use if possible.

Some cloth bags can be thrown into the laundry. If you have more rigid plastic or canvas bags, spray and wipe them with a hydrogen peroxide solution.

8. You Need to Replace Your Air Filters

Your HVAC system is your strongest line of defense against dirt, dust, and airborne pathogens. Air flows through the system and filters before returning to your home.

You should replace your air filters at least every six months, but you may need to do so more often if you have multiple pets or allergies. Replacing your air filters will help you keep a cleaner, fresher home and reduce your risk of catching respiratory illnesses.

9. You Use Too Many Fragrances

Candles, plugs, and sprays galore. We all love to walk into a clean, sweet-smelling home, but too many fragrances can be overwhelming and bad for your health. Fragrances only mask odors; they don’t remove the stink at its source.

After you’ve removed all sources of stink from your home, be careful which products you use to create a pleasant scent. Candles, room sprays, and plug-ins are notorious for emitting toxic, cancer-causing chemicals. If you want to scent your home, choose safe and natural solutions like essential oils or soy wax melts and use them sparingly.

10. You Could Be Mixing Chemicals

This is probably the biggest, most important housekeeping rule that you should never break. You need to be cautious when cleaning your home with multiple chemical solutions. Most chemical-mixing accidents happen in the bathroom or kitchen, where supplies for housekeeping are mixed.

Mixing the wrong chemicals can lead to serious injury and even death. These are some chemical combinations you should always avoid:

  • Bleach + toilet bowl cleaner
  • Bleach + vinegar
  • Bleach + alcohol
  • Bleach + ammonia
  • Vinegar + peroxide
  • Highly alkaline products + highly acidic products
  • The same product in different brands

When in doubt, don’t risk it. Turn on your ventilation fan while cleaning the bathroom. If you need to use two conflicting products in the same room, wait for one product to dry and dissipate completely before moving on to the next.

Common Housekeeping Mistakes: Not Hiring the Pros

Regular house cleaning is a task that everyone must learn to do, but there is one surefire way to avoid common housekeeping mistakes. Hiring a housekeeper will ensure that your home is always clean, fresh, and safe.

Top Mops Cleaning Service has been keeping Lexington clean since 2012. Don’t wait until your house feels out of control to hire a cleaning company; click here to get started on your free quote!