It is possible to clean incorrectly. Here are some common cleaning habits you'd be better off breaking.
"When my customers say, 'I tried X brand and the stuff doesn't work at all,' I always ask if they read the directions on the label," says Teresa Ward, owner of Teresa's Family Cleaning. "The answer is usually no." It's in the manufacturer's best interest to ensure the product works for you. It's in your best interest to follow its advice.
Most jobs require nothing more than gentle, pH-neutral cleaners, which are not only safer for you and your family, they're easier on your home's furnishings, fixtures, and finishes. When you must break out the big guns, know that a little goes a long way. When you use bleach, things don't need to smell of it to be clean. Trust us!
"More" doesn't directly translate to "better," says Colin Bishop, president of The Maids. "Use only the amount of cleaning product required to do the job," he says. "You just waste time wiping up the excess." You also waste product and therefore money.
"Cleaning them too often can wear the finish down and cause them to swell, as moisture penetrates the surface," says Matthew Ricketts, president of Better Life Maids. Spot cleaning does the trick, plus it's faster and easier.
Always dust before tackling the floors. Start at the top of the room, and work your way down and around. That way, your final vacuum or mop will take care of any remaining debris you've knocked to the ground.
Doing two things at once may make you feel like you're getting more done, but you're only prolonging the cleaning process, Ricketts says. "If you focus on cleaning only and don't try to organize, take a phone call, or watch TV, too, you can get the job done in half the time," he says. "Then you're free to put your full attention toward the things you'd rather be doing."
Believe it or not, you have a cleaning personality. Take our fun quiz and find out if you're the Queen of Clean or the Don't Judge Me Girl, and get cleaning tips and tricks to suit you. Plus, read what other BHG.com users have to say about cleaning.