Cleaning Hacks

3 Spring Cleaning Mistakes You’re Making (and What To Do Instead), According to the Pros

Mary Grace Garis

Photo: Stocksy/Trinette Reed
Even if you live in a state of disarray (or maybe especially if you live in a state of disarray), there’s something rejuvenating about spring cleaning. It gives us an anxiety-relieving sense of order, true fresh start energy, and… you know, leaves you with a clean home. But if you really want to keep things sparkling, then it’s good to know what common cleaning mistakes you’re making.

Now, judging by my own space (which has paper plates on the nightstand and crumbs in every cushion), I’m not the expert on how to clean wisely. But I tapped the pros from TaskRabbit about the major mistakes people tend to make when cleaning. So before you grab your Swiffer ($15), scroll down and learn what not to do when scrubbing down your home.

Common spring cleaning mistakes

1. The order of operations when it comes to dust matters

One thing you want to make sure of is that you don’t create a new mess after cleaning up an old mess. “A lot of people dust before they vacuum, however, it’s best to vacuum and leave the dusting for the end,” says Renata Rudoy from New York City. “If you dust first and then vacuum, the air from the vacuum filter will blow dust right back on your surfaces.”

2. Missed spots in micro places

JamiQuan Rudd from Richmond, Virginia, can name four hotspots you’ve probably missed, even if your home looks flawless. First, check the little things like light switches in the living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, even the switches on your lamps. Then inspect the handles for all doors, cabinets, your dishwasher, oven and microwave. “Don’t forget your closet, interior, and exterior door handles as well,” says Rudd.

If you have any remotes, give them a little scrub down, even the tiny key fobs. And don’t forget your faucets!

“Most people concentrate on cleaning the grime and gunk in the sink and then just do a brief sweep of the faucets,” says Rudd. “But it is important to thoroughly clean all faucets and handles, especially behind it as water can pool there and germs can gather. Don’t forget your bathtub faucet and handles.”

3. Overly rely on special sprays and polishes

Not that you need to toss out your Windex ($3), but some cleaning materials are easy to DIY, says TaskRabbit’s lifestyle expert Ariel Rothbard. “My go-to is a combination of white vinegar and olive oil,” Rothbard says. “First, I pour the distilled white vinegar into a spray bottle to apply it on the appliance and use a microfiber cloth to clean the surface. Then, I pour a very small amount of olive oil on another microfiber cloth and wipe it on the appliance to make the stainless steel shine without getting sticky.”

Another combination she recommends for stainless steel appliances is dish soap ($15) and baby oil ($5). The former is amazing for getting rid of accumulated grime.

“All you need to do is moisten your microfiber cloth with a little water and dish soap, then clean your appliance,” says Rothbard. “To restore the shine, apply a bit of baby oil on your other microfiber cloth and apply it. And voila, your appliances will look brand new.”

Important steps to remember for spring cleaning

Now that you know what major pain points to avoid, what are some things to keep in mind while tidying up? Consider these simple tips:

1. Keep a soft cloth on hand

Not just because sponges are extremely “ick,” but because some materials require a gentler touch. “Make sure you use a non-abrasive cloth when cleaning in order to avoid damaging the stainless steel,” says Rothbard. If you’re looking for microfiber cloth to get your steel items shiny, you can’t go wrong with these simple best-selling Blue, White, and Yellow Cleaning Cloths ($12).

2. Clean with the grain

“Look at the surface of your appliance to figure out the direction of the grain so you can shine in the same direction,” Rothbard says. “This will give you a more polished look.”

3. Don’t forget in-between cleans

No going to lie, there’s probably all sorts of things living and growing in my microwave, my oven, and my toaster. While spring cleaning is an opportunity to unload those microbial monstrosities, it’s fair to say that you should really keep it clear.

“For maintenance, regularly clean your stainless steel appliances with warm water and a microfiber or non-abrasive towel,” says Rothbard.

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