Here's what not to do.

By Katie Holdefehr
December 22, 2020
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There are some cleaning mistakes that mean your home just won't look as clean—like washing windows on a sunny day, which can leave streaks. And then there are other cleaning mistakes that can slowly destroy your house or belongings—such as cleaning marble counters with vinegar, which can permanently etch the surface. To help avoid such costly cleaning mishaps, we've rounded up a few common ones to avoid. Don't do these at home.

There are many types of cleaning wipes and baby wipes that claim to be "flushable," but they may not break down fast enough. Especially if your house has an old or delicate plumbing system, these wipes can build up and cause a clog. 

To save yourself from having to deal with a clog—or even worse, flooding— get in the habit of throwing away used cleaning wipes, or switch to a cleaning spray and reusable cloth. 

White vinegar can be used to clean almost everything around the house, except for these items. At the top of the list: natural stone surfaces. Vinegar is acidic, and over time, it can cause etching on your marble or granite countertop. Instead, clean marble regularly with dish soap and warm water, following these steps

Fact: Kitchen sponges are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. And studies have shown that microwaving them doesn’t effectively disinfect them. To avoid spreading germs all over your kitchen countertop, dishes, and cookware (yuck!), replace your kitchen sponge at least once a week, or switch to a dish brush. 

If you spray cleaning product directly onto unsealed wood furniture, it can leave a buildup of residue and may even cause discoloration. For mirrors, cleaning spray can seep into the backing and leave water spots. The solution: just get in the habit of spritzing a cleaning cloth first, and then wipe down the surface.