Don't try this at home. 

By Katie Holdefehr
February 10, 2020

We're all for DIY cleaning solutions and at-home stain removal methods, but there are some things that are simply better left to the professionals. When it comes to fragile antiques you don't want to ruin or a prized wool coat you would hate to accidentally shrink, these are the items you should never try to clean yourself. When deciding whether to DIY or hire a pro for any cleaning job, consider a couple factors: first, always prioritize your own safety, and then, think about the value (both monetary and sentimental) of the object. For delicate or valued items, it's often best to leave the cleaning to an experienced pro—and be sure to check reviews or get a recommendation from a trusted friend so you know you're choosing the most knowledgeable expert. 

RELATED: 12 Things Only Professional Cleaners Know

1
Antique Rugs

While you can easily clean some area rugs yourself—like cotton rag rugs or Ruggable's machine-washable options—antique rugs are better left to the professionals. Attempts to wash them yourself could affect the color and drying them improperly could result in mold.

Your best bet: Maintain antique rugs by vacuuming them regularly to remove dirt and dust, but leave the thorough washing to a professional. Depending upon the location of the rug, washing once every few years should be enough. The one exception: if you accidentally spill on the rug, it's better to spot-clean rather than wait for a pro, or else the stain could set in permanently. 

2
Leather and Suede Jackets

If well cared for, a leather jacket can last for decades. While you can spot-clean stains with water and a soft sponge or a specialized leather-cleaning wipe, a real cleaning should only be left to leather care experts. Similarly, suede should be brushed often with a suede brush, helping to loosen any dirt, yet a thorough washing is better left to the pros. 

3
Black Mold

Black mold can lead to serious respiratory issues for you and your family, and even the act of cleaning it up can have health effects. You may be able to clean a very small area of black mold with a solution of water and bleach applied with a soft brush (be sure to wear a face mask and arm protection), but larger mold infestations should be left to the professionals. Not only will they know how to deal with mold safely, but they'll make sure it's gone for good. 

4
Wool Coats

If treated carefully, you should be able to wash wool sweaters at home, but it's generally safer to let the pros dry clean your wool coats. Get everyday coats cleaned twice a season so they look fresh, but special occasion coats can be washed once before storing to keep moths at bay. 

A stiff clothing brush can also help remove lint, dust, and dirt in between professional cleanings. 

5
Gutters

If you have experience and are comfortable climbing ladders, you may be able to safely clean your home's gutters. But unfortunately, there are approximately 164,000 emergency room visits related to falls from ladders each year in the U.S. Plus, the gross truth of gutter cleaning is that it could put you into contact with pests and wild animals. When you hire experienced and insured gutter cleaning experts, they'll know how to get the job done safely. 

RELATED: 7 Signs It May Be Time to Hire a Professional House Cleaner

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