1. Ignoring Minor Plumbing Issues
A minor leak in the kitchen tap, a slow-draining bathroom sink, or a continuously running toilet can all be bothersome. While they may not appear to be a significant issue initially, if not addressed promptly, they can escalate into major problems. Blocked toilets and pipes can overflow or burst, causing small puddles from leaks, encouraging mold growth, and rotting wooden floors and supporting beams.
Frequently clean your sink and shower drains to eliminate hair and grease blockages. Pay close attention to the sounds of running water or drips both inside and outside your home. Most minor plumbing issues can be fixed with a few basic tools and supplies. If you're not particularly skilled in DIY, it's advisable to call a professional plumber.
2. Overlooking HVAC Air Filters and Vents
Allowing vents to become obstructed with dust not only burdens the system but can also lead to its failure. Vacuuming the vents monthly and replacing the filter is a quick, 15-minute chore that can protect your system and improve your family's air quality.
Each month, vacuum your heating and cooling system vents and replace the air filter as recommended by your HVAC specialist.
3. Misusing Cleaning Products
Cleaning is commendable, but it can be counterproductive if you're using the wrong products. Harsh chemicals can strip off protective finishes and some cleaning products can build up and ruin the very thing you're trying to keep clean. For example, an acid-based cleaner, even one like distilled white vinegar, can etch marble countertops. This damage is not reversible unless you have the stone ground down, which can be quite costly. Or, using liquid or paste floor wax on laminate or wooden floors sealed with polyurethane will leave the finish looking dull and dirty. Stripping away that wax can actually damage the factory-applied sealant.
Take the time to read the labels on every cleaning product and learn from manufacturers and experts on how to care for different finishes.
4. Allowing Clutter to Accumulate
We all have clutter and often allow it to pile up until it seems impossible to ever get organized. Not being able to find your favorite shirt is one thing but allowing clutter and garbage to pile up provides the perfect environment for pests like rodents, roaches, moths, spiders, and fungi to thrive.
Empty trash cans that contain food waste daily. At least seasonally, sweep through living and storage areas to get rid of paper, especially cardboard. Monitor every area for insect and rodent activity and treat accordingly.
5. Not Finishing the Cleaning Chore
While any cleaning is usually a step in the right direction, not finishing the task can also cause problems. Some chores can be done in small steps, like removing clutter, others must be started and completed in one process. For example, when you treat stains on carpets, you must finish the chore by blotting or rinsing away all of the cleaning solution. Leaving soapy residue in carpet fibers will cause the carpet to attract more dirt and look even worse.
Learn the steps for each household chore before you begin and plan your time accordingly for the best results for your efforts.
6. Ignoring Annoying Beeps
Nearly every electronic device emits alerts and beeps. Some are helpful, many are annoying, some can be ignored, and some can even save your life. Ignoring beeps from smoke and carbon dioxide detectors that need a battery change can be a fatal error. The damage from even a small kitchen fire can run into thousands of dollars and can be life-threatening.
Regularly change batteries in home protection systems and, following the manufacturer's instructions, update as needed.
7. Forgetting About Hidden Spots
You probably haven't given your clothes dryer or kitchen hood venting system a thought in quite some time. These everyday workhorses carry away moisture, lint, cooking odors, and grease particles each time you use them. When was the last time you cleaned them? Forgetting these hidden systems can result in fires and extensive damage.
Make a note in your phone or calendar to schedule regular cleanings.
8. Focusing Only on Indoor Chores
There are always things to be done when you are responsible for both indoor cleaning and outdoor areas. Some things are simply unsightly, like weeds in the lawn or muddy concrete patios. Others, like gutters clogged with leaves or pine straw, have the potential to cause damage to your home and lower its value. Overflowing gutters lead to moisture problems, roof damage, and pest issues.
At least seasonally, walk the outside of your home and make a list of chores that should be done. Then do them or hire some help.
Maintaining a clean and healthy home is more than just a chore, it's a responsibility. By breaking these 8 bad cleaning habits, you're not only making your home a happier, healthier place to live, but you're also protecting your investment for years to come. So put on those gloves, grab that mop, and start making a positive change today!