10 Household Cleaning Mistakes That Are Making You Sick

May 23, 2020

10 Household Cleaning Mistakes That Are Making You Sick

There’s nothing like the feeling of a fresh, tidy house. But how clean is your home, really? Your bad cleaning habits may be preventing you from achieving a real deep, lasting clean—but don't worry! Simply follow these 12 tips for your healthiest home ever.

1. Forgetting the Germiest Spots

germiest places in house

Research by NSF International reveals that the germiest place in your home is actually the kitchen. That’s right, the place where you prepare and eat food may be the dirtiest spot. The biggest culprit? Your dish sponge or rag. Make sure you bleach or microwave your sponge every week.

2. Not Cleaning the Toilet Brush

cleaning toilet brush head

Mold and bacteria love dark, humid places. After you clean your toilet, place the brush between the toilet bowl and seat, with the brush end facing inward. Lower the lid to secure the brush, then spray it with a disinfectant like vinegar or bleach. Let the brush dry before placing it back in the holder.

3. Doing the Lazy-Clean

Lazy Cleaning

We all know the feeling. We need to clean, but don’t particularly want to. So, instead of doing a good job, we wipe down all major surfaces with the same old rag. Instead, use paper towels and cleaning spray to target the major germ magnets: doorknobs, toothbrush holders, trash cans, the stove, remote controls, and sinks.

4. Rushing Your Cleaning Products

Rushing While Cleaning

While commercial products do save time, they also need time to work. After spraying your bathroom tile, sinks, and shower curtain, give the product a few minutes to break down scum and mineral buildup. Then scrub gently with a sponge, rinse with fresh water, and towel-dry.

5. Smothering Your Laundry

too much laundry detergent

Less is more when it comes to laundry detergent and softener. In fact, using too much of these products can be harmful to your clothes and the environment. Always use concentrated detergent as directed. For an alternative to softener sheets, try wool dryer balls or add one-half cup of baking soda to the water before tossing in your clothes.

6. Leaving the Lid Up

toilet seat up or down hygiene

Keeping the toilet lid closed is not just a matter of decorum. When you leave the lid up when you flush, you're guaranteed to spread germs. This means that, because the sink is often so close to the toilet, toothbrushes and faucet handles can be some of the dirtiest surfaces in the home. Clean your toothbrush regularly, and wipe down faucets and handles with disinfectant.

7. Using Bleach

cleaning with bleach

Yes, it’s often the go-to product for disinfecting your home, but be mindful of your bleach use. Never mix bleach with ammonia, vinegar, lemon, or other acids, as this creates toxic chlorine gas. Keep bleached areas well ventilated, use bleach sparingly, and be especially careful when spraying surfaces near fabrics, rugs, and upholstery.

8. Forgetting to Clean the Cleaners

Clean Cleaning Tools

Those time-saving devices need some TLC too. Check your dishwasher filter every month or so. Empty your vacuum bag before it gets half full. Always clean your dryer’s lint trap. Grind up an occasional lemon peel to refresh your garbage disposal. And finally, take time to deep clean your countertop appliances: Even conscientious cleaners often overlook the coffee maker and blender.

9. Spraying Electronics

cleaning electronics

Your phone, laptop, TV, and gaming console occasionally need a good clean. But never spray a disinfectant directly onto these delicate surfaces. First, wipe them with a dry microfiber cloth. Then dab a cotton pad in rubbing alcohol and wipe it lightly over the device. Use a toothpick or Q-tip for hard-to-clean areas between keys.

10. Vacuuming Throw Rugs

Vacuuming Throw Rugs 

While vacuuming does lift surface hair and dust off your rugs, for a truly fresh underfoot experience, shake them out outdoors. You will be amazed at the clouds of dust that fly off your Persian carpets, kitchen rugs, and kilms. 

Source: Bobvila