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FYI: 10 cleaning mistakes that can actually make you sick


Bacteria and mould thrive in dark, humid places. - 123RF
Bacteria and mould thrive in dark, humid places. - 123RF

Homeowners spend countless hours every year cleaning their homes.

We assume all cleaning efforts are worthwhile, productive and lead to good results.

Not so, according to an interesting story posted on Bob Vila’s website (www.bobvila.com). The story was about cleaning mistakes that can make you sick, a subject most homeowners never consider.

Here are some of them worth heeding:

1. Forgetting germ-infested places.

The germiest place in your home is surprisingly the kitchen, according to research studies. Hard to believe when you consider that this is the place where we prepare, store and eat our meals. The culprit? The sponge or rag you use to clean surfaces.

Solution:

Bleach or microwave your sponges regularly.

2. Failing to clean toilet brush.

Bacteria and mould thrive in dark, humid places.

Solution:

After you clean your toilet, place the brush between toilet bowl and seat with the brush facing inward. Lower lid to secure the brush and then spray it well with a disinfectant like bleach or vinegar. Allow brush to dry before placing it in its holder.

3. Half-heartedly cleaning.

Despite its importance, nobody enjoys cleaning. Instead of doing a thorough job, we wipe surfaces with the same old rag. Mistake.

Solution:

Use paper towels and cleaning spray to target germ centres, such as toothbrush holders, doorknobs, trash cans, stove and sinks.

4. Rushing cleaning efforts with commercial products.

In an effort to get the annoying task done most homeowners apply the products and immediately wipe them off.

Solution:

After spraying products on surfaces on sinks, shower curtains and bathroom tile, give them four or five minutes to break down the mineral buildup and scum.

5. Smothering laundry.

Homeowners have a tendency to use far more laundry detergent and softener than is needed. Using too much of these products can actually be harmful to your clothes and the environment.

Solution:

Use concentrated detergents as directed on the package.

6. Leaving toilet lid up

Closing the toilet lid is far more than a matter of decorum, Vila said. By leaving lid up when you flush, you’re spreading germs. Since the sink is often close to the toilet, faucet handles and toothbrushes can be some of the dirtiest surfaces in your home.

Solution:

Regularly clean toothbrushes and wipe faucets with disinfectant.

7. Using bleach.

While bleach is one of the most popular disinfectants in a home, be careful how you use it. Never use it with vinegar, ammonia, lemon or other acids because they create a toxic chlorine gas.

Solution:

Use bleach sparingly, keep bleached areas well ventilated, and be careful when spraying surfaces near rugs, upholstery and fabrics.

8. Forgetting to clean cleaners.

All the time-saving cleaning devices need TLC.

Solutions:

Empty vacuum before it gets full; clean dishwasher filter every month; and regularly clean your dryer’s lint trap.

9. Cleaning electronics.

Your TV, laptop and gaming console also need to be cleaned regularly. But never use a spray disinfectant.

Solution:

Wipe with a dry microfibre cloth. Dab a cotton pad in rubbing alcohol and wipe the surfaces lightly. Use a Q-tip to clean between keys.

10. Vacuuming throw rugs.

Vacuuming removes dust and surface dust from rugs, but it fails to do a thorough job.

Solution:

To remove dirt thoroughly, they ought to be shaken vigorously outdoors. In fact, let them sit outdoors for a couple of hours. The fresh air will give them a fresh clean smell.

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