10 Common Cleaning Mistakes!


Contrary to what you might have come to believe, I am prone to making mistakes. Yes, I am admitting that I am not perfect. And if I can do it, then so can you, cause hey, who is? And before I learned all that I know about cleaning I was making A LOT of cleaning mistakes and I still see people making the some of the same mistakes I did, so I am here to help you. I have looked far and wide and come up with the top 10 cleaning mistakes that many of us make. Here we go…

1) Spraying Product Directly on a Surface

I completely understand why someone would do this; you are trying to clean something so spray it then wipe away the solution. However, this is not always the most effective or safest way to clean, especially electronics (more on that later). When you are cleaning with a product just spray a small amount onto a microfibre cloth then wipe the surface that needs cleaning and use a dry cloth to wipe away any excess liquid. For many surfaces, like stainless steel, glass and wood it is always best practice to use this method. It will use less cleaner, still get the job done, and ultimately save you time and money!

2) Not Cleaning Your Sponge

I want you stop and think for a minute about the things that your sponge has cleaned just this week. Now think back to the last time you cleaned that sponge. I bet it was a while ago if ever! Many of us forget that just like everything else in our kitchen our sponges need  a good cleaning too or else they turn into a breeding ground for bacteria, become stinky and then spread their stink and germs onto whatever you clean with it. Gross!! Luckily, cleaning your sponge is easy – you can throw it in the dishwasher then next time you run it, put it in some water in the microwave for a few minutes or even boil it. Just make sure you do this at least once a week if not more often and replace your sponge regularly.

3) Putting the Toilet Brush Back Right Away

Just like your sponge your toilet brush has a nasty job to do and picks up some not so pleasant germs on the way. But hey, someone has to do it so it might as well be that guy! So be nice to the brush that’s doing your dirty work and free him from becoming a playground for bacteria by giving him a good rinse in the clean toilet water and then leaving him to dry for at least 5 minutes before putting him away. And if you haven’t seen my handy trick for letting your toilet brush dry make sure you check out my toilet cleaning video.

4) Cleaning too Quickly

Yes, we all want to get our cleaning over and done with so we can go have some fun, but when you rush through your cleaning you are creating more work for yourself in the long run and this equates to more time spent cleaning. When we rush we miss spots, do things incorrectly and likely just move dirt around. So take your time. And if you are short on time pick one thing and do it really well then come back and do the same in another area and continue this cycle until all the cleaning is done.

5) Not Reading Directions

We’ve all been cleaning for a long time and we think we know how products work, but I bet if you read the labels of some of your everyday cleaners you’d be surprised to find that you are not using them as directed. A lot of time, money and research went into developing the products we clean with and in that process the developers found the best way to use said product and put those directions right there for you to use. Some cleaners need more time to work, some only work on certain surfaces, some will harm certain surfaces and so on and so forth. So to get the most out of your cleaners (and your money) and not ruin anything take a few minutes and read the directions!

6) Wash Windows on Sunny Day

I know you’ve heard me talk about cleaning windows before and have some our window cleaning video, so I am sure this comes as no surprise when I tell you not to clean your windows on a beautiful day. Now you may think this is counterintuitive since you want to be outside to clean your exterior windows and what better day to do it on then a nice sunny one? Well the problem, my friends, is that the sun heats up the windows rather quickly and you in turn get streaky windows, as the water and soap dries before you can properly squeegee them. So wait for a day that overcast and then on the next sunny day you can admire your beautiful work.

7) Cleaning side to side

I am sure you have heard me talk about this one before but I am going to be a broken record and repeat myself again – DO NOT clean side to side. When you do this all you are doing is moving the dirt from one side to the next and back again. When you clean in an “S” or “Z” motion you are moving the dirt away and end up with a way cleaner surface. Trust me on this one!

8) Thinking more is better

Just like reading the directions, we have to remember that our cleaners were created to get a job done and get it done well. Therefore, most of the time you do not need very much product to get the job done. You will also create more work for yourself if you saturate what you are cleaning with a product because you are the one who is going to have to remove it all. Add a little at a time and you will be surprised how well things work with just a bit.

9) Not emptying Vacuum

Are you ever vacuuming and you notice a weird smell? No it is not your gym shoes, it’s your vacuum. Ever find that your vacuum is just not picking up those crumbs? Well the answer to both these problems is probably pretty simple – your vacuum is full! When the vacuum bag or canister is full it can not only become stinky but it also doesn’t allow your vacuum to do the job it’s supposed to do because air flow is restricted and new dirt has no where to go. So before you start vacuuming check to make sure it’s empty and remember to empty it out after you are done so dirt isn’t sitting in it becoming even dirtier!

10) Using cleaners on electronics

I told you we’d talk about this later! Cleaners and electronics do not mix. You can damage the electronic or even start a fire! So please refer to rule #1 and do not spray anything onto any electronics. You can use a very little bit of water on a cloth or better yet just use a duster.

I hope you can now clean safely, happily and more effectively, but please tell me, have you been making any of these mistakes? As always, I’d love to hear from you and I ask – are there any mistakes you caught yourself making that aren’t on this list?

Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. Thanks for those 10 tips. Can you tell me the best way to clean those burner coils on top of an electric stove? THX

  2. My hate job is the oven, my other half won’t cover anything,he cranks the oven up on high and splatters stuff everywhere. I dread opening the door for fear of what I’ll find. Help please.

  3. It’s funny how watching one video on how to clean a hot tub got me to your videos. I’m glad it did. I have a small (I’m the only employee) house cleaning business, and love finding new ways to save time cleaning. Thank you! Love your video!


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