Getting ready for spring and summer almost always involves some level of house cleaning, and doesn't it feel amazing when it's actually all clean--you know, for the short amount of time you get to enjoy it before someone tracks in dirt!
Unfortunately, there are a surprising amount of mistakes it's super easy to make when you're cleaning. Make this year the cleanest year by avoiding these common cleaning mistakes:
Cleaning Mistake #1: Spooning in the Dishwasher
Okay, yeah, that sounds a bit awkward, but the result is real: when you put all of your silverware facing the same direction, it will stack together and keep soap and water from reaching the dirty surfaces. At best, you have mostly clean silverware with spots; at worst, you still have food and bacteria on there. Ew.
The prevention for this is easy: turn half of your silverware upside down and half right side up, and spread them out in the holders. This will increase the chance of everything getting evenly cleaned!
Cleaning Mistake #2: Using a Dirty Sponge
It's not surprising that you don't usually think of your sponge being dirty unless you actually see something on it--sponges are used for cleaning, and there's kind of this expectation of cleanliness.
That couldn't be further from the truth. Because of their porous texture and the fact that they hold moisture so well, sponges are a breeding ground for bacteria. Does this mean you should throw out all your sponges? No way!
Once every few days, at least, throw your sponge into the top rack of your dishwasher and let it run through a load with your dishes. You can also get it wet and then microwave it for two minutes (just make sure it's wet--if you try to microwave a dry sponge you could end up with a small fire in your microwave).
Cleaning Mistake #3: Waiting Too Long to Empty the Vacuum Cleaner
When do you empty the vacuum cleaner? If you're like most, the answer is (very sensibly): "When it's full." While this makes sense, letting your vacuum get completely full can make its suction power a lot less effective.
Obviously, the fix for this is super easy: dump it when it's about two-thirds full. This will keep it from losing suction.
Cleaning Mistake #4: Using Fabric Softener on Towels
Ahhh, that feeling of a nice, soft towel out of the dryer--but wait, if you used fabric softener, you might find that your towels aren't so absorbent anymore. Fabric softeners leave a film on clothing, and this can reduce your towels' ability to absorb. That's a bummer.
There's good news, though: vinegar is a natural fabric softener that doesn't leave a film, and despite its strong odor, won't actually leave any odor behind on clean clothes, so your towels will come out soft, smelling clean, and still do their job correctly.
Cleaning Mistake #5: Window Washing in the Sun
There's something refreshing about cleaning house on a sunny day, especially if it's cool enough to throw open the windows when you're done and air out the house. That fresh air is so worth it.
You might want to hold off washing your windows on that sunny day, though--it turns out the heat from the sun on your windows dries the cleaner too fast, resulting in spots and streaks. No one needs that kind of extra effort--wait for a cloudy day and then clean your windows. The next time it's sunny, you'll have spot-free windows from which to enjoy the light.
When you get done cleaning, take a step back and appreciate the space and the work you've done. Yeah, it'll probably get messed up within a few days, but hey, that doesn't diminish the accomplishment!