6 Common Cleaning Mistakes Everyone Makes (and How to Fix Them)

That duster could be doing more harm than good.
That duster could be doing more harm than good. / m-gucci/iStock via Getty Images Plus
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There are two types of people in this world: Those who find cleaning fun and relaxing, and those who dread it. Regardless of which category you fall into, chances are everyone could use a little help getting their bathrooms, kitchens, and living rooms spotless. And that’s exactly why Mental Floss and Roborock have teamed up to provide tips for fixing six of the most common cleaning mistakes everyone makes. 

1. Cleaning the floors first.

Think about it: If you vacuum your floors spotless and then start wiping off that old bookshelf, where do you think those little dust balls are going to fall? Right onto that freshly cleaned floor, that’s where. 

Instead of having to re-vacuum your floors every time you dust off an armoire or entertainment center, use gravity to your advantage and work from top to bottom. The debris from your highest surfaces will fall to the floor, and since you’ve saved that for last, you’ll be able to vacuum everything up at once. 

2. Using bleach to (try and) eliminate mold. 

Bleach is usually a go-to for getting rid of mold, but it only really works on non-porous (smooth) surfaces like glass, metal, plastic, and tile. As such, it should never be used on hardwood floors, carpet, drywall, or any other porous areas in your home. 

To eliminate mold from those surfaces, you’ll need to spray hydrogen peroxide directly onto the mold (just give it a quick test to make sure it won’t fade the surface’s color). Leave it on for about 10 minutes before scrubbing and drying the area. Alternatively, if you prefer to steer clear of harsh chemicals, put a mixture of one teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (a.k.a. baking soda) and two cups of water into a spray bottle and use it on the affected surface.

3. Not emptying your vacuum cleaner.

To keep your vacuum in tip-top shape and working to its full potential, it’s essential to empty the dustbin, bag, or canister regularly. While some people recommend you empty a vacuum out every time you use it, you can also get by with waiting until it’s around two-thirds full. But no matter how often you do it, it’s important to make this a consistent part of your cleaning routine, because a full vacuum won’t be able to pick up all the unwelcome dirt and dust lurking in your home. 

4. Cleaning the windows on a sunny day.

While it may sound counterintuitive—after all, nobody really notices window stains and fingerprint marks unless the sun is out—it’s best to avoid cleaning your windows on warm, clear days. This is because the heat from the sun will cause the glass to dry too quickly, leaving you with smears, streaks, and smudges across the surface. To avoid wasting your time and effort, save the windows for a day when it’s cloudy and cooler out so the glass takes more time to dry.  

5. Using a feather duster. 

Feather dusters are a classic tool in nearly everyone’s cleaning repertoire, but chances are they’re actually spreading dust throughout your home instead of picking it up. To effectively eradicate dust, opt for a damp microfiber cloth or rag that’s sturdy enough to grip the particles, thus eliminating them for good.

6. Forgetting to replace your kitchen sponges frequently.

You’ve likely heard this before, but it can’t be stressed enough: Sponges—particularly the kitchen variety—are a breeding ground for bacteria. With this in mind, it’s important to replace your kitchen sponges as often as every week if possible. Alternatively, you can try disinfecting them yourself in the sink by dunking them in a mixture of ¾ of a cup of bleach and a gallon of water for a couple of minutes. If you’re looking to cut down on waste, many brands now produce sponges that are designed to get tossed in the wash with your laundry, which is great news for anyone who perpetually forgets to replace their sponges. 

But no matter what solution you go with, just don’t hold on to a ratty old sponge for too long—if it looks grimy and has a bit of a funky smell to it, just toss it in the trash. It’s doing more harm than good by that point. 

Roborock has a line of robot vacuums designed to meet any of your cleaning needs. To get rid of the dust, dirt, and pet hair throughout your home, there’s the Roborock Q5 robot vacuum, which has 2700Pa of suction power and a 3D mapping feature that scans your floors to avoid furniture and other obstacles. You can also create customizable cleaning schedules for specific areas of your house, so you can pay special attention to high-traffic rooms and hallways. Then there’s the Roborock Q5+ robot vacuum, which has an additional Auto-Empty Dock Pure function that empties the vacuum’s dustbin all on its own to ensure quality results every time you clean. And if you need a robot vacuum that can also mop your floors, check out the Roborock Q7+ and the Roborock Q7 Max+, the latter of which comes with an auto-emptying function.