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Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making: Cleaning

Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making: Cleaning

Most of us have learned how to clean by watching our parents when we were growing up. Our folks’ tips and tricks became the canon that we stored away in our subconscious as the ‘right way’ to clean. Sometimes, though, the way we learned to keep house may not be the easiest, fastest or most hygienic way to get the job done. In our fourth series on mistakes you didn’t know you were making, we’ve come up with some helpful ways to avoid these cleaning mistakes while making your cleaning less stressful and more effective.

Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making: Cleaning Vinegar ImageAvoid Streaks on Clean Windows

How do you deal with streaks that remain on the windows after cleaning? One trick is to choose the right time of day to clean them. Another is to use plain vinegar and water instead of window cleaner. Wash your windows in the late afternoon when the sun is waning, and you won’t have dried-on streaks from places you didn’t wipe quickly enough. And, believe it or not, crumpled newspapers are great for cleaning windows. Make it a family affair, with everyone brandishing a spray bottle of vinegar and water and a wad of newspaper.

Mom and Dad can use a ladder to get the high windows clean while the kids work on the lower ones. The only caveat is to avoid moulding and trim since sometimes ink can transfer to painted areas. You’ll also want to wear latex or vinyl gloves to keep your hands clean. There are people who swear by their sparkling clean, streak-free windows washed with newspapers, and the discarded paper is still recyclable.

Don’t Use Cleaners on Your Microwave

Do you wipe down your microwave with household cleaner? There are more effective ways to get a clean and fresh-smelling microwave using natural products. First, remove the turntable and wash it separately with hot, soapy water. Then, place a microwave-safe coffee cup full of water in the middle of the microwave and heat it on high for two or three minutes until it boils. Wait five minutes, then wipe down the floor, walls and ceiling of the microwave with paper towels. All the dried-on grunge and stains will come right off after they’ve been softened by steam.

To create a fresh, pleasant smell in your microwave, add four tablespoons of lemon juice to a bowl of water and microwave it the same way, allowing the water to boil and steam to build up in the interior. Wait five minutes, then wipe everything down with paper towels or a clean cloth. This tip will even get rid of the smell of burnt popcorn!

Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making: Cleaning Vacuuming ImageYour Home is Probably Dustier Than You Think

When you flick that feather duster over the furnishings and window sills, all the dust settles to the floor to be vacuumed up, right? Unfortunately, it actually just resettles elsewhere. The thing about dust is that it’s extremely lightweight and nearly invisible. You probably move it around just as much as you eliminate it with a feather duster or broom. Here are some helpful tips for minimizing dust:

  1. Spend a little more to purchase hypoallergenic filters for your air handler. They’re better at catching dust and keeping it locked up than the inexpensive ones.
  2. After unplugging the vacuum cleaner, wipe down the hose and vent with damp paper towels after each use. Replace the vacuum cleaner bag when it’s almost full. 
  3. Throw out the feather duster! You can get rid of a lot of dust with the right vacuum attachment or by using a small handheld vacuum.
  4. Use damp cloths on hard-to-reach areas. Just spritz them with water from a spray bottle and you’ll be amazed at how much dust they collect.

These three common household chores can be streamlined and improved with the cleaning methods we’ve suggested. There are old tricks and new ones, and some of them will make the job a lot easier. What household tips and shortcuts can you think of?


Photo credits: cleaning products, vinegar, vacuuming

About The Author

Sereena S.

Mom of two, wife to one, and a dog lover, although cats can be okay too. Sometimes.

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