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  • Writer's pictureClean Team USA

Common Cleaning Mistakes

From cross-contamination to overlooking frequent touch points in your home these common mistakes can disrupt even your best cleaning efforts. Check out these tips from the pro’s to make the most of your time and energy!

Spraying Cleaner Directly on a Surface

At times this method may be okay, however, it shouldn’t be thought of as an everyday practice simply because it could leave a residue behind. Instead, spray your cleaner on a microfiber cloth first, then wipe away any dirt from surfaces.


Cross-contamination can be easy to do, especially when you’re in a hurry. Most of us are aware that you should use different microfiber towels (or paper towels) to clean your kitchen and your bathroom, however, it is also important to remember to wipe surfaces down from left to right and then top to bottom making a “Z” shaped pattern. This helps you to effectively clean and prevent you from re-contaminating surfaces.

Using Fabric Softener on Towels

Over time fabric softener becomes built up and coats the fibers of your towels, preventing them from being absorbent and fluffy. Adding a 1/2 cup of White Vinegar to your wash cycle can soften the fibers of your towels and help eliminate odor and bacteria. (Don’t worry, since the vinegar is diluted you won’t even smell the vinegar after you wash.)

Using Dirty Sponges

Dirty sponges can harbor bacteria and spread it on countertops and other hard surfaces throughout your home. Routinely sanitizing your sponges can help cut back on the spreading of bacteria and prevent cross-contamination. Learn more about how to disinfect a sponge here.

Not leaving Cleaners on Long Enough

Many individuals use the terms sanitizing and disinfecting interchangeably, however, you may be surprised to learn that there is a difference. Confusion when implementing hygienic practices can lead to cleaning processes that are not effective and can result in the spreading of unwanted germs. Especially when you are sanitizing a bathroom or kitchen it’s important to thoroughly saturate hard surfaces with cleaner, then let the cleaner sit for ample time in order to lift the bacteria from the surface so they can then be wiped away. The best way to know how long to let a cleaning solution sit on a surface before wiping it away is to refer to the instructions on the back of the spray bottle. To learn more about the differences between sanitizing and disinfecting click here.

Not cleaning “Touch Points”

Germs can live on surfaces for up to 72 hours, which is why it’s a good idea to frequently clean and sanitize touch points throughout your home (especially when someone is sick or during flu season). Light switches, door knobs, counter tops, remotes, electronics, cell phones, etc. These areas can all be wiped down and sanitized using a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Cleaning Garbage Cans

Keep germs from congregating in your garbage can over time by remembering to clean them often. Simply spray out your garbage can using a garden hose, wipe it down using your favorite household cleaner, then allow ample time for it to dry out before using again. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a cotton ball and place it in the bottom of the trash can to elminate odor, and always remember to line your garbage cans using a garbage bag.

Washing Windows on a Sunny Day

Glass cleaner is notorious for drying up fast and leaving streaks behind, especially on a sunny day. For a streak-free shine avoid washing your windows in direct sunlight.

Mixing Chemicals

Mixing certain chemicals together can be toxic and detrimental to your overall health. Remember to always check before you mix chemicals together to avoid making a dangerous mistake. To learn more about green cleaning techniques and what chemicals not to mix together, click here.

Have you ever caught yourself making one of these cleaning mistakes, or have one to add to the list? Comment below!

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