7 Things Professional Cleaners Would Never Do

When it comes to cleaning our homes, keeping belongings straight, and areas tidy, most homeowners will admit that it’s hard to do it all. Even professional cleaners will say that there is only so much we can do to prevent grimy handprints, crumbs on the floor, and even little hands that like to “help” by using the toilet brush on the bathroom sink. 

If we’re all honest, we’ve all probably implemented from time to time a few odd ideas to make things go faster, look better, and smell fresher in our homes. But the quickest, easiest, and latest hack, for that matter, isn’t always the best way to do something, which certainly goes for anything in life. When it comes to cleaning our homes, most homeowners agree that the top priorities—preventing a cleaning disaster, chemical explosion, or just keeping the messes at bay —are worth the work to save our sanity and create calm. So we’ve consulted housecleaning professionals about the things they would never do when it comes to cleaning our homes and caring for the people who live with us. 

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1. Don’t Begin Without A Plan

Every attained goal begins with a solid plan of action, so it’s best to make a scheduled plan and work the plan. “Professional cleaners use a specific method of cleaning and follow it precisely to ensure they are in and out of the house quickly,” explains Becky Rapinchuk, based in the Midwest, who is an author and cleaning expert at Clean Mama. “Cleaning from spot to spot or room to room without a plan is a time waster and leads to a poorly done job,” she says. Once you begin a cleaning process or plan, clean from top to bottom and left to right to ensure that you are covering each area, she explains. Then try it out for a while, and if some things aren’t working for you, tweak the plan and make some changes. Implementing a concrete plan initially can save time and sanity when it comes to knowing when to start, where to start, and what to do. 

2. Don’t Leave a Room Empty-Handed

While working your plan from top to bottom and left to right while cleaning, consider this tip for keeping things tidy. “Don't leave a room empty-handed,” says Rapinchuk. When exiting and entering rooms throughout your house, grab something to put away as you leave a room, she says. By grabbing one item that’s out of place and placing it back in its rightful spot, you’re making the most of your time when it comes to picking up. 

3. Not Ask Family Members To Help

Get family members in on the tidying-up action by reminding them to grab shoes, a toy, or a backpack, when moving from room to room. Even if you’re not doing a full-blown house cleaning, it’s helpful to tidy small things as you go, like making your bed in the morning and loading the dishwasher right after a meal, which helps eliminate the buildup of a giant mess, says Katie Dills, Senior Vice President of The Cleaning Authority. Additionally, having all family members pitch in with the straightening can yield significant returns on managing the load of responsibilities. 

4. Not Have A Place for Everything

If something hasn’t been used in a while or you have multiples of one item, it’s time to dispose of it or donate it. "Everything in its place and a place for everything” is a guideline that creates peace in the chaos, says Pam Clyde of Austin, Texas, President of BritLin Cleaning. Until all the items in your home have a specific place to go, inevitably, they will just sit out, she says. “Once things are out of control, it becomes overwhelming to get it back into shape,” she explains. You want to avoid permitting other family members to add to the piles. Instead, take a little time each day to put things in their places, sort out what you don’t need or what needs to go to the trash, and insist that family members follow your lead. 

5. Don’t Mix Cleaning Products

Indeed, this might sound like common sense, but this safety tip is worth the reminder, especially if it prevents a disaster. “Never mix chemicals such as ammonia with bleach because it will create a caustic gas,” says Clyde. Instead, always read labels and know what you are using on surfaces. If you are unsure, consult a professional cleaner and ask questions. Using “non-toxic products that are multi-purpose, so you can spray the same cleaner in most of your home, limiting any potential for a crossover of chemicals,” is a better tactic when it comes to cleaning products, explains Rapinchuk. She uses hydrogen peroxide as her go-to disinfectant. 

6. Don’t Use the Wrong Cleaner for the Wrong Surface

Using the wrong cleaner on the wrong surface or upholstery can be a costly mistake you’ll want to avoid. For example, avoid products with ammonia if you’re cleaning your tv screen. “Products like Windex can be extremely damaging to your screen,” says Dills. In this case, using a dry cloth without a solution is a better cleaning method. If unsure, consult the label on the back of the bottle or box. “Also, avoid the use of a magic eraser (melamine sponge) on a stained wood surface such as hardwood floors, kitchen cabinets, granite, or marble, as it will remove and possibly dull the finish,” says Clyde. 

7. Don’t Consult Social Media for Cleaning Hacks

As convenient as it may be to take to social media for housekeeping tips and tricks, Clyde says many of them will lead you astray and may even cause damage to surfaces in your home. Always test on a small surface if you’re unfamiliar with a new solution or cleaning product, and read all the warning labels. 

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