Little Things You Do That Might Be Ruining Your Home

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

Miami Beach, contractor installing bathroom tile.
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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 Spray Cleaners Directly Onto Surfaces

A view of Windex at Good For The Globe pop-up in The Carousel at Bloomingdale's 59th Street celebrates Mix Masters with Law Roach & Lauren Jauregui on March 14, 2019
Photo Credit: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Bloomingdale’s
Photo Credit: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Bloomingdale’s

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 Clean Your Gutters Regularly

Seniors in Canada: Senior man cleaning a rain gutter on a ladder. Clearing autumn gutter blocked with leaves by hand.
Photo Credit: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

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 Let Vines Grow On The Side Of Your Home

Hotel restaurant at the village Luz-Saint-Sauveur, Hautes-Pyrenees, France.
Photo Credit: Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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 Walk Around Wet After A Shower

Young woman under shower.
Photo Credit: Dadi Luca /AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Dadi Luca /AGF/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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 Remove Parts Of Your Downspout

A pipe for carrying rainwater from a rain gutters called a downspout, waterspout, downpipe, drain spout, roof drain pipe, leader, or rone. At the end is a downspout silencer and a green splash block below..
Photo Credit: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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 Forget To Clean Out Your Dishwasher Drain

13 April 2020, North Rhine-Westphalia, Cologne: Washed dishes are in an open dishwasher with blue lighting. Photo: Oliver Berg/dpa
Photo Credit: Oliver Berg/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Oliver Berg/picture alliance via Getty Images

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

Cutting branches of poplar trees
Photo Credit: Sergei FadeichevTASS via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Sergei FadeichevTASS via Getty Images

If a tree starts growing into your property, or if any branches seem like they could fall off and damage our home in a rough storm, trim those branches away before they cause problems.

Don’t Put Your Grill Too Close To Your House

Steaks lie on a charcoal grill in a garden
Photo Credit: Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images

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

Nail Hung A Picture.
Photo Credit: Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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

Living area seen from Dining Table in Unit 618 at Avidian on April 14, 2020 in Washington DC.
Photo Credit: Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

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

chimney sweep
Photo Credit: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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

A landscaping crew from Prairie Snow Enterprises out of Keenesburg, CO, place mulch around new plants in front of a new HUD rehab home in Aurora
Photo Credit: Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images

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 Forget To Use Your Exhaust Fan

Master Bathroom in the Ashcroft Model Townhome at
Photo Credit: Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

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

Kitchen Sink with Breakfast Nook behind in the Model Home at Villages of Urbana on February 4, 2020 in Urbana Maryland.
Photo Credit: Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

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

mop
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Photo Credit: Getty Images

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 Make Your Bed Right After You Wake Up

king bed
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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 Put The Toilet Brush Back In The Holder RIght After You Use It

toilet brush
Photo Credit: Indianapolis Museum of Art/Getty Images
Photo Credit: Indianapolis Museum of Art/Getty Images

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

Towel Hanging In A Bath
Photo Credit: Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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

man washing dishes
Photo Credit: Matthias Balk/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Matthias Balk/picture alliance via Getty Images

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 Let Rooms With Hardwood Floors Stay Humid

Consumer Council Briefing on the problems of dehumidifiers.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Wong/South China Morning Post via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jonathan Wong/South China Morning Post via Getty Images

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 Clean Hardwood Floors With Bleach

clorox bleach
Photo Credit: Chris DELMAS / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Chris DELMAS / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

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 Leave Your Curtains Open All The Time

windows
Photo Credit: Jumping Rocks/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jumping Rocks/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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 Pour Coffee Or Tea Down The Toilet

teapot
Photo Credit: Xinhua/Hu Chenhuan via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Xinhua/Hu Chenhuan via Getty Images

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

cutting board
Photo Credit: Emma Garofalo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Emma Garofalo/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 12: Laura Kiker's kitchen has granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and pendant lighting November 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. Kiker's building previously was a section of Specialty Hospital Capitol Hill. (
Photo Credit: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Photo Credit: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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

A Moroccan rug dealer cleans a carpet at a shop in the city of Sale, north of the capital Rabat, on June 3, 2020, during the novel coronavirus pandemic. - Artisans in Morocco have been starved of income for almost three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The crafts industry represents some seven percent of GDP, with an export turnover last year of nearly 1 billion dirhams ($100 million).
Photo Credit: FADEL SENNA / AFP
Photo Credit: FADEL SENNA / AFP

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.

Don’t Wash Your Cutting Boards With Dish Soap

Close up shot of the hands of a butcher cutting a piece of meat.
Photo Credit: Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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.

Sweep Less, Vacuum More

broom
Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pinterest
Photo Credit: cottonbro / Pinterest

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

Boiled ravioli
Photo Credit: Anton NovoderezhkinTASS via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Anton NovoderezhkinTASS via Getty Images

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

person cleaning out dryer lint
Photo Credit: Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Rene Johnston/Toronto Star via Getty Images

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

shoe rack by front door
Photo Credit: Aalok Soni/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Aalok Soni/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

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. It can also be what’s making your allergies worse at home.

Slamming Your Door Is Ruining The Alignment

keep out sign on kids door
Photo Credit: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

If you’ve got a teenager that loves to slam doors to win arguments you should try to find them a different outlet because 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

man tiling bathroom
Photo Credit: David Potter/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images
Photo Credit: David Potter/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

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

inside of coat closet
Photo Credit: Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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

toilet in pottsdam germany
Photo Credit: Ralf Hirschberger/picture alliance via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Ralf Hirschberger/picture alliance via Getty Images

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

view of under porch storage
Photo Credit: Pinterest
Photo Credit: Pinterest

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

washer dryer at laundromat
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Photo Credit: Unsplash

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.

Don’t Use Bleach Tablets In Your Toilet Tank

toilet tank needs to be clean
Photo Credit: Pinterest
Photo Credit: Pinterest

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.

Stop Using Dusting Pads

dusting laminate floor with swiffer
Photo Credit: Pinterest
Photo Credit: Pinterest

Those Swiffer-type duster pads seem 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-build on your surfaces that attracts more dust. You get stuck in an endless cycle of dusting.