9 Cleaning Mistakes That Really Slow You Down
We're in the business of cleaning well, but we also want you to get chores out of the way as quickly as possible. And if you're committing these common cleaning mistakes, you just might be scrubbing up sun up to sun down.
1. You don't follow the "top to bottom" rule.
If vacuuming is your least favorite chore, it can be tempting to get it out of the way first. But if dusting the top shelf (or cleaning the ceiling fan) is your last task for the day, dirt will likely fall over your freshly vacuumed carpeting. And then you have do that annoying part all over again.
2. You don't sort laundry when it really counts.
Every now and then, you might skip sorting by color to hurry laundry day along (some moms even find that doing laundry "by person" saves a ton of sorting time — especially when all of your kids' clothes are similar hues and fabrics). But pre-sorting is often actually a time-saver in the end.
"Don't forget to separate lint givers from lint catchers, like towels from knits or corduroy," says Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. "If you wash them together, you'll spend time trying to rid the fuzzy fabrics of lint."
3. You tackle windows on a sunny day.
The nice, warm sun might actually inhibit your efforts, since the heat could cause your cleaner to dry before you can wipe it away. That means streaks — and then you'll just have to start over.
4. You don't turn off your vacuum's brush roller when you switch to wood or tile floor.
"If you're vacuuming bare floors with an upright vacuum, be sure to turn off the rotating brush," says Forte. "Leave it on, and you'll scatter dust and dirt instead of picking it all up."
5. You wash dishes at the sink before you put them in the dishwasher.
Yes, you should scrape any food scraps into the garbage, but don't bother hand-washing or even rinsing your dishes before you they go in the dishwasher. Research shows that it doesn't get your dishes any cleaner, and our experts agree.
"Prewashing dishes is a waste of time and energy," says Forte. "Simply load them in the dishwasher, and if you aren't running it right away, let the dishwasher rinse them with a 'rinse only' cycle."
6. You don't let tile cleaner sit for a few minutes before you start scrubbing.
"Give spray tub and tile cleaners a few minutes to work before wiping them away, "says Forte. "Letting them sit helps soften and dissolve soap scum and stains, so less scrubbing is required." And less elbow grease means less time (and a not-so-sore arm the next day).
7. Your family doesn't remove shoes at the door.
The dirt you track in from outside can really build up over time, so beat it at its own game by going shoeless inside. And while you're at it, double up on doormats (one inside and one outside). They grab dirt before it can reach your new cream carpeting.
8. You use a lint roller to clean up pet hair.
If you're staring down a particularly fur covered couch, you might instinctively reach for this sticky paper. But a lint roller, while handy, isn't really up to heavy-duty jobs. When you need to clear a ton of pet hair at once, reach for a damp rubber glove instead to efficiently whisk the fuzz away.
9. You forget that your cleaners need cleaning, too.
"Dirty cloths, mops, and full vacuum cleaner bags don't pick up or remove dirt," says Forte. "You'll just be working harder and longer with no results to show for it. Clean or replace your cleaning tools as needed."