Spring Cleaning Myths and Mistakes
by Marcus Pickett
Many of us learned our spring cleaning habits growing up. Like other home remedies, for every spring cleaning tip that has served us well over the years is another one that is all smoke-and-mirrors. Here are some common spring cleaning myths and mistakes that either don't get things cleaned as they should or waste valuable time that could be spent on other areas of your home:
The Surface Cleaning MythsA big chunk of spring cleaning is putting your weekly or monthly cleaning schedule on steroids: After vacuuming, you also steam clean. After sweeping, you also mop the floors. You move furniture and refrigerators. You dust edges and corners. You really do a number. So, here are some common myths and mistakes associated with this super-cleaning.
- Flooring, Countertops, and Fixtures: The notion that bleach effectively cleans these surfaces is myth. You must first clean, then disinfect with bleach or a similar product. Without first removing the dirt and food particles, germs can linger even with a bleach application. Likewise, without using a disinfectant, germs can linger.
- Carpets: Carpet cleaning does more harm than good. Some homeowners have become so petrified of these dangers that they neglect any form of carpet cleaning. Most of these dangers—mold, odors, shrinkage—arise from carpet that is left too wet for too long. If you hire a reputable company or invest in solid carpet cleaning equipment, your carpet will be fine and have better durability.
- Wood Cabinets and Furniture: The biggest myth about maintaining wood is that consistently applying wood polish is not necessarily the best thing for wood. The interaction between the polish's chemical composition and the wood can attract excess dust or even dull the finish. Consistent dusting may be enough to keep your wood looking good. Otherwise, stick to the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Tile Grout: The myth here is the degree of difficulty in cleaning tile grout. After removing as much dirt as you can with water, you can use baking soda with a little bit of vinegar to clean your grout or a pH-balanced cleaning solution. Still, many homeowners choose to hire a pro, since the process is tedious, time-consuming, and homemade solutions won't come close to the clean provided by professional, high-powered water vapor systems.
The Home Maintenance MythsAfter cleaning each nook and cranny, home maintenance is the other side of spring cleaning. Unfortunately, it's too often the neglected side. From changing the air filters on your A/C to pressure washing your siding, this is far from a complete list. Still, be sure to watch out for these common spring cleaning myths and mistakesý.
- Gutter Cleaning: You can't just throw the leaves out of your gutter and call it a day. Good gutter cleaning involves identifying leaks, seams, flushing downspouts to prevent clogging, and ensuring they're properly draining, along with comprehensive gutter channel cleaning.
- Window Washing: I use a squeegee so I can essentially match professional window washing service. Ever wash your windows and find them dirty by the time summer rolls around? Many homeowners use paper towels, squeegees, or rags that cause static to build up on window glass and attract new dust. Professional window washing uses a specific methodology that most homeowners are either unable or unwilling to duplicate.
- Painting, Staining, and Sealing: Rather than myths, mistakes with these projects generally involve bad habits or practices. The work may not be the most technically demanding, but knowing which type of paint works best for your climate can save you dozens of labor hours and extend the lifetime of the paint job. "A poor paint job can last as little 3 years before it needs attention," says home improvement expert Matt Goering, "A good one can last for upwards of 20."
- Professional vs. DIY Maintenance: Perhaps the most pervasive myth is that you're a wimp unless you do your own spring cleaning. People with hectic schedules can easily justify the costs of hiring a handyman, especially if you can bundle your spring cleaning list into one full day's work. Professional maintenance also includes professional experience and expertise. A home inspection can create a comprehensive spring cleaning and maintenance list.
The Biggest Mistake of AllNot keeping your priorities straight is the overarching mistake homeowners make. Specifically, caring more about things appearing clean than actually being clean is at the heart of many spring cleaning myths. From reducing the risk of infection and other health hazards to increasing the life expectancy of your home furnishings, having a clear understanding and methodology for your spring cleaning is critical to maintaining a healthy home. And this is spring cleaning we're talking about, so do it right.
Marcus Pickett is a professional freelance writer for the home remodeling industry. He has published more than 600 articles on both regional and national topics within the home improvement industry.
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