10 Bad Housekeeping Habits You Should Drop Today

Updated: Nov. 30, 2022

Are you guilty of these housekeeping mistakes?

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shutterstock_236885437 washing clothes
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Not Cleaning Your Washing Machine

Isn’t the point of a washing machine is that it cleans dirty things? So why would you have to clean it? The reality is, your cleaning tools need just as much TLC as the rest of your home. Good housekeeping means paying attention to the things that make your life easier, which is why you have to clean your washing machine.

If your clothes have started smelling of mildew after being washed, it’s time to run a cycle on the hottest water setting with nothing inside, and using vinegar for an extra boost for a squeaky clean washing machine. Cleaning a front loading washer is a little different, but follows the same basic process.

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Not Washing Your Cutting Board

Whether you’re slicing veggies, fruit or meat on your cutting board, it’s a no brainer that you need to wash it. For a wooden cutting board, use hot water with a sponge and mild dish soap to kill bacteria. You can also use common household ingredients to do the job. Wipe down the cutting board with vinegar and then use baking soda and a lemon to get rid of stains and odors. Don’t use bleach on wooden cutting boards as it can dry out the wood and leave it discolored.

It’s also good to have a separate, plastic cutting board on hand to use for raw meat to help prevent cross contamination. To clean a plastic cutting board, you can use diluted bleach or just stick them in the dishwasher.

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Dusting Surfaces with a Dry Rag

Put down the duster, or anything that resembles it, especially a dry rag. While dusting your fan may leave it looking pearly white, that dust doesn’t just disappear into thin air. All that sneezing you do when dusting is the result of the tiny particles flying elsewhere, like your table, rug, etc. You may think you’ll clean up all the dust when you vacuum the floor, but there are plenty of nooks and crannies it settles in that you’ll forget about. Your best bet is to wet a rag, which will pick up dust more effectively.

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Not Washing Your Pillows

Sure, you know about washing your pillowcases weekly, but what about your actual pillows? Most pillows have a tag giving laundering instructions, yet very few people follow through with doing so. Your pillow is subject to dust mites, body oils, and bacteria from your saliva, which is why you should stick it in the washing machine every three to six months.

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Cleaning Stainless Steel in Circular Motions

It doesn’t take much to dirty up a stainless steel appliance. One touch and your refrigerator is totally smudged. When cleaning, be sure you’re not wiping in circular motions, because you’ll see the marks when the cleaner dries. Instead, find the grain in the stainless steel and follow that. You’ll notice a big difference.

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Close up view of man hand using antibacterial wet wipe for disinfecting home TV remote control.
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Switches and Remotes

You know to do the big stuff: vacuuming, mopping, wiping away dust. But there are some items in your house that you may have never cleaned, yet harbor a major amount of bacteria. Light switches and remote controls are two highly overlooked housekeeping areas. Cold viruses lurk on such places, from sneezing or coughing into your hand and then immediately flipping on the TV or light. A simple spritz of disinfectant is a good place to start, and a bleach wipe can get into the tough to reach spots where the unhealthy gunk hangs out.

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Young woman washing window
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Washing Windows on a Sunny Day

You can’t control the sun, but you can avoid it, which is something you should do when washing your windows. This is because glass cleaner dries quickly in direct sunlight, leaving behind unsightly streaks that are counterintuitive to your washing job. Opt for overcast skies and the temp below 70 degrees.

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man cleaning hardwood floor
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Using Too Much Water on Wooden Floors

Less is usually more when it comes to good housekeeping, and that’s certainly true for cleaning and taking care of your wooden floors. Whether you’re mopping or using a standard rag and bucket, be sure that you don’t have too heavy of a hand with the water. If there are scratches or gouges in the finish, the excess water can make its way beneath the surface and damage the wood.

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Not Cleaning Your Air Ducts

Even if you are good at keeping the dust at bay throughout your house, your housekeeping is lacking if you’re not cleaning your air ducts out. Over time, they collect dust, leading to allergy symptoms and even increasing the chance of fires when you turn the heat on. Be sure to clean them once a year at least.

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Not Cleaning Your Light Bulbs

While light bulbs used to burn out and need replacing frequently, today the long-lasting LED bulbs make it possible for you to forget about them for a while. But you shouldn’t. The longer they’re installed, the more dust they build up, which can become a fire hazard.