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December 01, 2017

6 chores you may be doing wrong

Here are some common housekeeping myths debunked

Homecare Cleaning
Red Lily Renovations Red Lily Renovations/for PhillyVoice

Overloading the washing machine will cost you both time and money in the end.

Keeping our homes clean is no easy feat. It can be tedious, repetitive and downright bothersome. However, it’s a necessary task for most of us. So, for the sake of getting the most value out of your cleaning time, here are some basic mistakes that even the cleanest person makes — and how to avoid them.

Nia Morris Studio, original photo on Houzz

1. Cleaning windows when it’s too hot.

It may seem like a great idea to clean your windows on a sunny day when there’s extra light to expose all the dirt. However, doing so causes the heat from the sun to dry the window too quickly, leaving streaks along the way. Instead, opt for a cloudy day to tackle this task.

Tip: To get your windows extra sparkly, add a tablespoon of cornstarch to a quart of lukewarm water in a spray bottle. Spray on the glass, then wipe your windows with newspaper, cloth or a squeegee, as you would with commercial glass cleaner.

Stylingbolaget, original photo on Houzz

2. Changing bed covers the hard way.

If you find yourself in a wrestling match every time you go to change your duvet cover, you may be doing it wrong. Rather than simply shoving your duvet into the cover and wrestling with a mountainous landscape, try flipping the duvet cover inside out first. Lay the duvet on top of the inside-out cover and, using safety pins, pin the duvet and duvet cover together at the top two corners.

Related: Finally! The difference between a duvet and a coverlet 

Next, push the duvet through the open end of the cover, feeding it through until it’s right-side out. Give it a good shake to flatten it out, then reach inside and remove the safety pins. Simple.

Red Lily Renovations, original photo on Houzz

3. Overloading the washing machine.

It’s a temptation we all give in to because, let’s face it, no one wants to spend an entire day doing laundry. With that being said, it’s important to resist the urge since overloading the washing machine will cost you both time and money in the end.

Load capacities vary, but always leave enough space in your machine for your laundry to move around. This will help with the soaking and rinsing process, so your laundry actually gets clean and doesn’t need to be washed all over again.

Stafford Bensen, original photo on Houzz

4. Not emptying your vacuum cleaner enough.

Most of us rely on vacuum cleaners when it comes to cleaning our homes, so it’s only fair to look after this hardworking machine. Don’t just empty out the bag when it’s ready to explode; an overload of dust, dirt, hair and other particles can reduce suction power. Instead, change the bag when it’s about two-thirds full.

Related: Get a new ladder to reach the ceiling

Tip: Tangled hair and threads can burn out the motor of your vacuum. To prevent this, unwind or snip them. After all, a brush roll that doesn’t turn, doesn’t clean.

Suzi Appel Photography, original photo on Houzz

5. Forgetting to look up.

Often the most-neglected surfaces in our homes are the places that are hardest for us to reach. After all, if you can’t see it, it’s not there, right? So wrong. For example, ceiling fans collect dust over winter; come summer, if they’re left unattended, you’ll be fanning built-up dust all over the place. In other words, don’t forget to look up when cleaning. Grab a stepladder and wipe down all overhead surfaces from time to time.

APT Renovation Limited, original photo on Houzz

6. Washing knives in the dishwasher.

It seems like a no-brainer to put everything in the dishwasher, right? Wrong. Fun fact: Chefs don’t put their expensive knives in the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent, which contains highly alkaline compounds, can dull the edges, so when it comes to knives that you’d like to stay sharp, hand-wash them with warm, soapy water instead.

Related: Got a grimy shower? Replace it today

7. Cleaning glass shower doors with chemicals.

You take a shower to get clean, but in the process, your shower door becomes quite the opposite. Over time, white soap scum likely will remain stubbornly streaked on your shower door, despite your best attempts to make the door clean and shiny. People often use particular store-bought cleaning products; however, if you prefer to use something with fewer chemicals, white vinegar is an excellent alternative.

Tip: It’s best to clean your shower surround while it is wet, so do it after a shower, or run some water on the surround first.