Being a homeowner comes with a lot of little headaches (and some big headaches). If you want to avoid big problems down the line, there are a lot of little steps you can take to make sure your home keeps running smoothly.
You want to make sure that the steps you're taking to protect your home are the right steps, though. Sometimes, certain cleaning methods actually do more harm than good. Keep reading to learn more about what not to do around your home.
Don't Clean Grout With Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Commercial toilet bowl cleaners contain acids that will break down your grout and caulking over time.
Save that stuff for the toilet bowl and use gentle cleaners on your grout instead.
Don't Walk Around Wet After A Shower
After you get out of the bath or shower, make sure you're as dry as possible before you start walking around your home and dripping water everywhere.
All of that water can cause your wooden floors to warp and buckle over time.
Don't Forget To Clean Out Your Dishwasher Drain
It's not sufficient to clean your dishwasher by turning on a self-clean cycle.
Sometimes, you need to help it along by manually clearing out the filter at the bottom of the machine.
Trim Loose Tree Branches
If a storm is in the forecast, it's important to survey your property.
Check for any branches that could easily break in high wind, and trim the branches ahead of the storm.
Don't Put Your Grill Too Close To Your House
In America, we equate the summer with barbecues in the backyard, but be careful about how close you put your barbecue to your home.
Every year, thousands of house fires start because of grills placed too close to homes.
Always Use A Stud Finder
If you're hanging something heavy on your wall, you can't just hammer a nail in wherever you feel like it. Make sure you hammer into a stud.
You can use a stud finder to make sure that you're hammering in the right place.
Use Furniture Pads On Hardwood Floors
If you have hardwood floors in your home, make sure that you have furniture pads underneath all of your heavy furniture.
That way, your furniture won't scratch your floors when it slides around.
Clean Your Chimney And Fireplace Regularly
Neglecting to clean your chimney and fireplace can have huge repercussions for your home down the line.
Having a dirty fireplace can reduce the air quality in your home and lead to the release of fireplace pollution.
Don't Use Mulch So Close To Your Home
Flower beds and mulch-based landscaping may look pretty, but all of that mulch holds onto a lot of moisture, which can cause problems if it's located very close to your home.
Move the mulch further out.
Don't Spray Cleaners Directly Onto Surfaces
Cleaners that come in spray bottles should be sprayed onto a paper towel or sponge and then used on the surfaces in your home.
Spraying them directly onto your floors or counters can leave behind a nasty film.
Don't Forget To Use Your Exhaust Fan
How often do you really turn on the fan in your bathroom?
You should be turning this fan on every time you use the shower to help rid your bathroom of excess moisture.
Don't Pour Grease Down The Sink
Bacon grease can't be disposed of like other stuck-on foods. That stuff will harden in your pipes and clog your drain.
Pour excess grease into a container before washing your pots and pans.
Don't Use Too Much Water On Your Hardwood Floors
Mopping your hardwood floors with a sopping wet mop can cause your floors to warp and wear down over time.
Use a minimal amount of water or a specialized hardwood floor cleaner.
Don't Put The Toilet Brush Back In The Holder RIght After You Use It
It's not a good idea to put a moist, dirty object into a closed, damp space where it can't dry.
Dip the brush in some household cleaner and let it dry completely before reholstering it.
Don't Leave Towels In The Bathroom
It makes sense to have towels on hand for after you use the shower, but you really shouldn't leave towels hanging in your bathroom all the time.
Towels in moist environments can be a breeding ground for bacteria.
Don't Clean Your Dishwasher With Vinegar
Vinegar can work as a household cleaner, but you shouldn't use it in your dishwasher.
Your dishwasher has a lot of delicate rubber and plastic parts that can be harmed by vinegar's high acidity.
Don't Make Your Bed Right After You Wake Up
If you make your bed right after you get out of it, you're trapping all the moisture from your body under the sheets.
Let your bed air dry for a bit first before you make it.
Don't Use Bleach Tablets In Your Toilet Tank
Tossing in a bleach tablet is a handy way to keep the inside of your toilet tank looking clean.
But the bleach from tablets can also make the plastic or rubber parts of your tank's flushing system wear down faster.
Don't Remove Parts Of Your Downspout
The downspout coming out of the side of your house may not be the most aesthetically pleasing thing in the world, but it serves a very good purpose.
Don't remove it—you need it there to keep water away from your foundation.
Don't Wash Your Cutting Boards With Dish Soap
Bacteria builds up in the knife marks in your cutting boards over time. When you wash the boards with regular dishwashing liquid, all that bacteria can be transferred onto your sponge and onto your dishes.
Use hydrogen peroxide to clean your cutting boards instead.
Don't Let Vines Grow On The Side Of Your Home
Vines may be really pretty to look at, but they also serve as a home for a lot of bugs you probably don't want crawling around your home.
They can also trap water against the side of your home.
Don't Clean Hardwood Floors With Bleach
Bleach is fine for cleaning tile and porcelain surfaces, but you should keep it away from your delicate hardwood floors.
Bleach is powerful enough to strip the polyurethane coating right off of your floors.
Don't Let Rooms With Hardwood Floors Stay Humid
Humidity is the enemy of your hardwood floors. Invest in a dehumidifier if you live in a particularly moist climate.
It's a small investment to save your much more expensive floors in the long run.
Don't Leave Your Curtains Open All The Time
It's nice to let the light in, but if you leave your curtains or blinds open all the time, all of that sunlight will start to damage your home and your furniture.
Close the blinds when you're not home.
Don't Forget To Clean Your Gutters Regularly
Dead leaves, dirt, and debris can build up in your home's gutters. Those gutters are what keep water away from your roof.
If they're not clear, that means the water has nowhere else to go.
Don't Pour Coffee Or Tea Down The Toilet
Both coffee and tea can very easily stain porcelain surfaces—especially if those surfaces are white.
It's best to pour any coffee you don't want right into an accessible compost bin.
Don't Use Plastic Cutting Boards
It's a myth that plastic cutting boards are cleaner than wooden ones.
They're clean until you can see scratches on them, and then they're a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Don't Use Vinegar On Granite Countertops
House buyer and expert Melanie Hartmann says that vinegar and granite don't mix.
She explained that vinegar "removes the sealant and gradually reduces the sheen of these countertops over time."
Don't Try To Shampoo Your Rugs
The best way to clean your rugs is by beating them with a racket or using a vacuum.
If you try to wash your rugs yourself, you're going to end up with moldy rugs.
Sweep Less, Vacuum More
Brooms may help you pick up big pieces of dirt, but they actually end up spreading dust around rather than cleaning it.
It's best to use a vacuum that can actually suck up dust.
Don't Pour Pasta Water Or Coffee Down Your Sink
The starch in pasta water can cause fatty deposits to form inside your pipes, and coffee grounds poured down the sink can cause sewer blockages.
Find other ways to dispose of these common liquids.
Regularly Clean Out Your Lint Filter
You need to get in the habit of cleaning out the lint filter in your dryer on a regular basis.
Letting too much pile up can lead to your dryer operating less efficiently, but it's also a fire hazard that could lead to that built-up lint setting your dryer on fire.
Leave Your Shoes At The Door
Be un-American and start taking your shoes off when you come inside. Leaving your shoes on not only tracks dirt and general grime through your home, it also spreads bacteria you don't even realize are all over your shoes.
nIt can also be what's making your allergies worse at home.
Slamming Your Door Is Ruining The Alignment
If you've got a teenager that loves to slam doors to win arguments you should try to find them a different outlet.
Repeatedly slamming a door can push the door jamb out of alignment, eventually leading to a gap between the jam and the trim.
Keep Vinegar Away From Your Grout
While vinegar is one of those miracle household cleaners that's a great option for cleaning a number of surfaces in your home, it shouldn't be used to clean your grout.
Over time the acidity of the vinegar will wear down the grout, leading to yellowing or crumbly grout.
A Packed Closet Can Ruin Your Drywall
Storage may be limited in your house but you should avoid piling too many clothes in your closet and layering up on your clothes hangers.
Putting too many pieces of clothing on hangers will lead to strain on the closet rod and brackets, which could lead to the brackets pulling out of the wall and ruining your drywall.
Avoid Flushing Those "Flushable" Wipes
Even if you buy the wipes that are supposedly fine to flush, if you can avoid doing it you should.
The non-woven fabric of the wipes can end up becoming congealed or stuck in your pipes which leads to much more expensive problems.
Don't Over-Stuff Your Storage Under Your Porch
If you're lucky enough to have a deck or porch that provides some extra storage you'll be tempted to shove as much of your junk under there as possible.
The problem is that it can block proper air circulation, which will eventually lead the boards of a deck or porch to warp.
Never Leave Damp Laundry In The Washer
It's easy to forget about switching your laundry from the washer to the dryer but leaving your damp clothes sitting can lead to it getting moldy or stinky, and then you'll just be forced to rewash it.
Don't start a load of laundry unless you can be ready to switch it to the dryer when it's ready.
Stop Using Dusting Pads
Those Swiffer-type duster pads seem like the easiest option to clean your house, and in the moment they are. The problem is they use static to attract dust, which leaves behind a static buildup on your surfaces that attracts more dust.
You get stuck in an endless cycle of dusting.
Stop Using Such Large Amounts Of Cleaning Product
Your house won't be cleaner if you use more of a product than if you just use a few drops. For example, using an excess of laundry detergent can leave a residue on your clothes because it won't rinse out properly.
Save your money and your products! Remember: a little goes a long way.
Don't Forget To Clean Your Cleaning Tools
You use your vacuum to clean your carpets, but are you remembering to also clean your vacuum?
If you're mopping the floor with a mop that's never been cleaned, you're just spreading the bacteria around.
Don't Use One Wipe To Clean Everything
If your cleaning product of choice is a disinfectant wipe, make sure you're using more than one.
Disposable wipes are a great way to easily clean up surfaces in a bathroom or kitchen, but they don't contain enough disinfectant to clean a whole room.
Stop Keeping Leftovers In Your Fridge For So Long
When you're deciding what food to throw away at the end of the meal or what to stash as leftovers, be realistic.
You don't want to waste food, but keeping leftovers when your family never actually ends up eating them is creating a breeding ground for mold and bacteria in that Tupperware of lasagna in the back of the fridge.
Don't Leave The Dusting Till Last
Dusting might seem like the easy task you can do at the end of your cleaning once you've tackled all the big messes, but logically, that doesn't make sense.
Dusting is going to churn up more dust and dirt in the air and on surfaces, so you should start with that and then you can clean up anything that's left over with your vacuum and other products.
And Don't Even Think About Using A Feather Duster
Now that you know you should be dusting first, you should also know that it's time to throw out that feather duster.
You might have been told that they trap and lock dust, but they really just push it around. A feather duster spreads the dirt and dust around instead of removing it.
Don't Use Wax-Based Wood Polish
You may want that wooden furniture to shine, but wax-based wood polish is not the product for you.
Wood polish in general can cause damage to the finish when used excessively, but specifically wax-based polish can lead to an oily buildup that traps more dust and dirt over time.
You Might Be Over-Cleaning Your Windows
Spot-cleaning your window when you notice a particularly dirty spot is one thing. In general, though, you should be cleaning your windows one to two times a year.
Any more than that can lead to streaking and to a buildup of dirt.
Leave Upholstered Furniture To The Professionals
To properly clean a piece of upholstered furniture, you're going to want to take it to a professional who can steam clean it and use the appropriate cleaning products.
At most, you can take a vacuum accessory like a brush attachment to clean between and beneath any cushions.
Some Kitchen Items Should Be Washed By Hand
As easy as it is to toss every kitchen tool into the dishwasher at the end of the meal, there are some products that you should be washing by hand.
When tools like a garlic press or cheese grater are run through the dishwasher, they won't be fully cleaned, and the leftover food can build up or become moldy.