Scrubbing your floors extra hard or constantly vacuuming in between the sofa seats isn’t going to help keep your house spotless — you’re just wasting energy. Jagruti Verma tells you why cleaning less is a better option
Do you zip around the house, cleaning every tiny stain and mopping up every spill just like Monica from Friends? While that makes for great comic relief on television, your obsessive cleaning could be doing more harm than good in real life. Here’s a list of things that can help you decide where to draw the line.
Using too much detergent
Using too much detergent to wash your clothes will discolour them, and the extra foam that forms will restrict the clothes from brushing up against each other (a process that helps them get cleaner). If you use too much detergent, residual grains may get stuck between the folds of your clothes — try cleaning those after they’ve come out of the washing machine!
Scrubbing the carpet
This won’t help you to get ride of the stains! Instead it will damage the fibres of your carpet. The harder you scrub, the more damage you do. So, scoop up the waste, and blot the area with a cloth or tissue paper instead. You can also pour some soda water on it and then blot it. Stain-removing liquids can also help, but make sure that they won’t do any damage to the colour or material of your carpet.
Natural cleaning products
Overusing anything is never a good thing, and the same is true for natural cleaning products too. Lemon, vinegar and baking soda may be milder than chemical cleansers, but that doesn’t mean that they are not acidic! When they’re used on natural stones such as marble and limestone, they can damage the quality of the stone. So, use them with constraint.
Too much furniture polish
If you polish your wooden furniture often, you aren’t exactly cleaning it. Excess polish can build up on the surface, attracting even more dirt particles. Using a variety of different products together may cause a chemical reaction on the surface, which can add to the residue build up. In any case, most modern furniture doesn’t need regular polishing.
Wiping your mirrors all the time
If you wipe your mirrors too much or over-spray them, cleaning agents can seep to the back and ruin the silver coating, which will eventually render it useless. This can also damage the frame. Remember that you don’t need harsh chemical cleaners to clean mirrors; sometimes, a damp cloth is enough. To avoid scratches, always use a soft cloth.
Fabric softners and rough towels
Using too much fabric cleaner or softner does not make rough towels softer. Instead, it will reduce their absorption power. You should dilute the fabric softener (follow the instructions on the bottle) before washing your towels. Using too much can lead to residue collection and bacteria build-up and keep it wet for longer. You can use warm water washes, vinegar, baking soda and ammonia to keep your towels soft.
Water in your mop
Avoid using too much water while you mop the floor, especially if it’s a tiled floor. This will leave water marks instead of making them spotless. If you have floorboards, linoleum or tiled floors, the excess water can seep through and eventually cause the floor sub-surface water damage. Also, it increases the chance of slipping on the floor. So, do a round of dry mopping to complete the task.
Scrubbing your countertops too hard can damage their colour. Always wipe them with a microfibre or soft, damp cotton cloth. Never use harsh chemicals on granite floors as these can dull and weaken them. Also avoid using acidic solutions such as vinegar and lemon. Use only pH balanced fluids when you’re cleaning granite countertops.
THE CARDINAL RULES OF CLEANING
- Instructions are important
Reading labels and following instructions (especially regarding the quantity and method of use) are important. Cleaning materials contain chemicals that can harm the surfaces in your home. Reading the instructions will save you time and money!
- Quick cleaning is as good as not cleaning
When you’re using any kind of cleanser, make sure that you give it some time to settle and fight germs. But at the same time, don’t leave it on for too long.
- Wet is not good
Do not store used sponges, cloths or mops without completely drying them, especially if you’re keeping them in a closed space. This can lead to the growth of bacteria. Make sure that toilet-cleaning brushes stay dry, even if they are stored in the vicinity of your bathroom.
- The dustbin should be the cleanest
Yes, it stores garbage, which is why special care should be taken to ensure that it stays clean. This is the most vulnerable spot for bacteria as well as for rodents. So, keep it clean by regularly washing it and use it only when it is completely dry.