15 Horrific Cleaning Mistakes That Are RUINING Your Home

15 Horrific Cleaning Mistakes That Are RUINING Your Home

We often talk about cleaning tips here at Expert Home Tips, but what about cleaning mistakes?

You may be sat there thinking, "No, not me! I'm a cleaning pro," but cleaning errors are easier to make that you might think.

Even if you've been keeping your home spotless for years, the danger of dirt is that it's not always visible. Your kitchen may sparkle and gleam, but cleaning mistakes mean it could be harbouring germs not visible to the human eye.

Check out this list of common cleaning mistakes to see if you're a culprit. Don't fret if you are, they are easily remedied!

If you love our tips, don’t forget to share it with your pals using the links above and below. Sign up to the Expert Home Tips newsletter to get all the best home hacks, living tips, competitions and more.

1. Using washing up liquid on chopping boards is a big mistake

using washing up liquid on chopping boards = cleaning mistake
Even Fairy Liquid won't get chopping boards spotless.

Washing up liquid gets rid of everything, right? Unfortunately not, especially in the case of raw meats.

Raw meat contains harmful bacteria. These germs are easily transferred onto our chopping boards, so it's important we treat them properly after every use.

Washing up liquid may do a great job on greasy pots and pans that have contained cooked food, but for the cold surface of our chopping boards, something stronger is required.

Soaking chopping boards in bleach after every use will ensure they are properly sterile, thus preventing any risk of bacteria transfer.

2. One of the biggest cleaning mistakes is spraying polish directly onto furniture

You may have got into the bad cleaning habit of spraying polish directly onto your furniture. This will actually be making your job much harder, as the furniture polish will build up over time and be hard to remove.

Instead, spray first onto a microfibre cloth, then wipe over furniture. It will prevent any marks and stains from being left behind, plus you'll use less product.

3. Are you using a feather duster all over?

Feather dusters are great for reaching high-up places. A quick flick with those soft bristles and ceiling lights and corner cobwebs can soon be swept away.

However, unlike dusting with a cloth, the dust is not actually removed. Instead, it is flicked off, falling down to lower areas of the room. This is why it's never a good idea to use a feather duster to clean everywhere - instead of making the room clean, you're just transferring dust from one surface to another.

To counteract this, you should also make sure to vacuum after dusting

4. Washing windows on a warm day

A sunny day may seem like the perfect occasion to finally get those windows clean. Washing them in the heat is, however, one of the biggest cleaning mistakes!

This is because the sun will evaporate the water and cleaning solution before you've had time to finish. You'll be left with streaks and cleaning product build-up - not exactly the gleaming glass you had in mind!

5. Making the bed too often & quickly can lead to germs

making your bed is a cleaning mistake
Leave your bed to air for fresher sheets.

If you're anything like me, a messy bedroom will stress you out. As soon as I wake, I like to make sure everything in my room looks neat and tidy.

I was fascinated to learn that this is actually one of the worst cleaning mistakes - oops! When we make our beds, we're trapping bacteria, dust mites and dampness inside, creating an environment that encourages the multiplication of germs.

By leaving our covers thrown back, we allow our sheets to properly dry out, aerate the bedding. This make dust mites and bed bugs much more unlikely.

6. Forgetting to maintain your hoover

A lot of us make the mistake of not cleaning our cleaning appliances. Don't let this be you!

Your hoover may make it look like bits of dirt and strands of hair on your floor have vanished into thin air, but they have to go somewhere.

Hair, in particular, can pose a particular problem. It will wind its way around the cylinders at the base of your hoover, making it harder for it to function.

After each clean, turn your hoover off and lay it flat on the ground. Then begin to pull off hair, and any other objects that have become wrapped around the mechanisms inside. This will help your hoover continue to perform as efficiently as possible.

7. One of the most common cleaning mistakes is dusting surfaces with a dry rag

Not getting the results you're after with your cleaning cloth? A dry rag will do one thing and one thing only - flick dirt and dust from one place to another.

In order to really maximise the capabilities of your microfibre cloth, you need to add water! Not much - a cloth that's slightly damp is all we're after. The wetness will pick up dust much more effectively, and your surfaces will be left spotless in no time.

8. Cleaning mistakes can happen with natural products too!

As you know, we love natural cleaning solutions here at Expert Home Tips. Check out Colleen's 17 natural ways to clean your lovely home to see just some of our favourites.

Just because you choose a natural cleaning solution, it doesn't mean it's overly gentle or weak. In fact, many natural products pack a real punch.

Going overboard on the vinegar or bicarbonate of soda is definitely a common cleaning mistake. Trust in the power of natural cleaning, and use moderate quantities. You don't want to end up damaging your lovely furniture!

9. Not allowing cleaning products to sit

leave toilet cleaner to sit
Make your products do the work.

Cleaning products aren't cheap these days - make sure you're getting your money's worth. If they claim to remove all traces of limescale yet you're still left with crusty taps, chances are you're making one of those pesky cleaning mistakes.

Allow your cleaning product to sit on surfaces before you get scrubbing or wiping them clean, and you'll be amazed at the difference!

10. Flushing the toilet with the lid open is a big mistake

Did you know that the flush on a toilet can spray water up to six feet in the air? I certainly didn't!

This fact explains why flushing the toilet with the lid open is one of the most horrible cleaning mistakes.

After you've finished scrubbing, be sure to close the lid before flushing clean. The last thing you want to do is germ up a bathroom you've just thoroughly disinfected.

Wondering if you can flush hair down the toilet? Read our other article. 

11. Don't make the mistake of overloading your dishwasher

Dishwashers are magical things, aren't they? Not magical enough to wash through a hundred dirty plates, 30 cups and 3 smoothie cups you're too lazy to wash by hand, however.

Overloading your dishwasher is in fact, one of the easiest cleaning mistakes to make. All that wonderful water needs room to move around and do its thing. When dishes become too cramped together, it's unable to cycle effectively, splashing food from one bowl to another, or simply not reaching it at all.

Next time you load your dishwasher, make sure you're not asking too much of it. Remember, space is key!

12. A wet toilet brush creates a breeding ground for germs

toilet brush cleaning mistake
Don't let those germs multiply!

Toilet brushes can be unsightly things. As soon as you're done scrubbing the loo, you'll be anxious to get that germy brush back in its holder, right?

STOP! This is one of the worst cleaning mistakes you can make. Wet environments create breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. Leave your toilet brush balanced over the seat until it has had time to dry to prevent this.

13. Using furniture polish on furniture that isn't wood

Furniture polish has been around for centuries. It certainly does its job - it's wonderful at buffing and shining wooden surfaces, giving them a gorgeous gleam.

Once upon a time, when all furniture was wooden, it was perfect. In our modern homes, however, it's not as suitable.

Despite most of us using furniture polish on all surfaces, it's actually not advisable. It's still great for nourishing solid wood, but does little for other materials.

So what should you use instead? A simple, dampened cleaning rag. It will get those IKEA surfaces dust-free in no time.

14. Forgetting to clean your cleaning tools

What do you use to clean? Sponges? Rags? Toothbrushes? A mix? Whatever you choose, if you're neglecting to clean them, you're making a mistake!

All those germs that you do a great job at wiping from your surfaces can end up on your cleaning tools - gross. To make sure you begin each clean with sterile cloths and sponges. Have a read of Clean My Space's guide to maintaining cleaning tools to learn how.

15. Not wearing rubber gloves when cleaning

why you should wear rubber gloves to clean
Protect your hands - you only get one pair!

A pair of bright yellow Marigolds don't just look professional, they're beneficial in so many ways.

The durable barrier they provide between your hands and the outside world provides protection against all the germs and bacteria you come in contact with. This means you don't have to be afraid of getting your hands dirty.

If you want to preserve your soft skin, forgoing the rubber gloves is a real mistake. The harsh chemicals in our cleaning products can be extremely harmful. Pull a pair of gloves on before you start your clean and you won't have to deal with dry or damaged skin.

To learn more about the benefits of rubber gloves, have a read of these reasons to wear rubber gloves that will shock & surprise you.

Take care of these pesky cleaning mistakes, & your house will be cleaner than ever before! Let me know which ones you're guilty of in the comments below.

Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

Follow me on X
  1. Author yvonne on May 26, 2017 at 4:29 pm

    Don't use descaler or Brasso or metal cleaner on Gold Taps. They may have been sold to you as 'Brass' taps, but in reality is just a chemical film sprayed onto base white metal and it is easily and quickly abraded off. Even meticulous wiping will wear the 'gold' film away. But the best descaler is a light wipe over with vinegar on a paper towel followed by a wipe with a damp cloth.

    1. Author Stephanie C on May 30, 2017 at 10:15 am

      Hi Yvonne. Thank you for sharing your tips - you're obviously very knowledgeable in this field! :)

    2. Author dennis cogley on November 12, 2021 at 11:19 am

      hi stephanie,what is the best way to clean windows?what products to use etc.regards dennis.

    3. Author Joanne A on January 11, 2023 at 10:47 am

      Hi Dennis! You can clean windows with a mixture of warm water and washing-up liquid, for heavy-duty cleaning, you can use a commercial window cleaning solution. For a streak-free finish, use a microfiber cloth or newspaper.

  2. Author Anne Ballinger on May 26, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    When I use certain bath cleaners I apply to a wet bath and clean right away, many years ago a friend was cleaning her bath with a bath cleaner, ( naming no names) when she was called away to deal with a problem that her son was having with his homework, by the time she returned to cleaning the bath the solution had eaten into the acrylic bath and NO AMOUNT OF SCRUBBING WOULD REMOVE THE INPRINT OF WHERE THE SOLUTION HAD RUN DOWN THE BATH! needless to say a perfectly acceptable bath was ruined, so read the instructions before you use the cleaning products as some are quite corrosive if left on to long, A LESSON LEARNED THE HARD WAY!

    1. Author Stephanie C on May 30, 2017 at 10:14 am

      Hi Anne. Thanks a lot for sharing your story. It's true that cleaning products can be extremely powerful so it's always best to edge on the side of caution. Normally you're pretty safe to leave cleaning products to sit on bathroom tiles, though.

  3. Author Tina on May 26, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    OMG, who knew? That's it I'll always dry out the toilet brush AND close the lid when flushing ?

    1. Author Stephanie C on May 30, 2017 at 10:07 am

      Hi Tina. Me too! Don't want to spread any germs unnecessarily :)

    2. Author Claire on June 1, 2017 at 2:26 pm

      I partly fill my brush holder with bleach and let the brush soak in that in between uses

    3. Author Stephanie C on June 1, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      Hi Claire. My Mum does this! Although this does mean the brush will remain wet near the top, which can lead to germ multiplication. It's best to bleach your brush, then leave it to dry if you can :)

  4. Author Angela W on May 26, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    Bleach can't sterilise your chopping board through a layer of dirt. You need to wash your chopping board first and then soak it in bleach.

    1. Author Stephanie C on May 30, 2017 at 10:06 am

      This is very true, Angela. Thanks for making the process clear! :)

  5. Author Sue L on May 28, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    I can't use rubber gloves due to sensitive skin so I use vinyl gloves instead.

    1. Author Stephanie C on May 30, 2017 at 10:06 am

      Hi Sue. I've never tried them myself but glad they work for your sensitive skin :)

  6. Author Lucy on May 30, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    My mum always uses boiling hot water and washing up liquid to seperately wash items that were in contact with raw meat and she always warns me not to touch any of the things before they have been washed to avoid spreading germs.

    1. Author Stephanie C on May 31, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Hi Lucy. Your Mum is certainly right! Cross-contamination is extremely easy in the kitchen - always best to take extra care :)

  7. Author Annmarie Currie on October 2, 2017 at 8:37 am

    I don't know if any of you guys have heard about the 'magic sponge/eraser' Its just a white sponge and all you do is wet it. No cleaning products needed. I swear by them! I have my own cleaning business so anything that makes the job a little easier I'm all for it! You can get the magic sponges out the pound shop, cut into 4 and you have 4 sponges for just £1. Shower screens, glass and mirrors it's fantastic on, just clean with the magic sponge (after wetting it with warm water) then buff with a dry cloth or towel. It also removes scuff marks from doors, skirtings and bath panels. I have a lot of happy customers with shining showers and homes!

    1. Author Stephanie C on October 2, 2017 at 9:51 am

      Hi Annmarie. Thanks a lot for telling us a little about magic erasers. I'm sure our readers will find this very interesting and would love to try one. :)

    2. Author Kathryn Clinton on October 2, 2017 at 10:47 am

      Hi there I also use use these sponges but buy them in bulk on Amazon its so much cheaper and my goodness they dont half do the job!! Great post! Thank you!

    3. Author Stephanie C on October 3, 2017 at 9:20 am

      Amazon is a real God send! Glad you enjoyed the article, Kathryn :)

  8. Author V.Grey on October 2, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    I have to plead guilty to spraying polish onnnto wonn furniture - about once a year!My mother taught me about airinng the bed.I've told her that a dirty washing machine is not a good idea.I use different rubber gloves for different jobs.Onne very useful tip I've used:if your mmann has smelly feet wipe the mattress with a solution of vvinegar and water - it works a treat!

    1. Author Stephanie C on October 3, 2017 at 9:23 am

      Hi there. I'm glad you enjoyed our tips :) Great smelly-feet tip - thanks for sharing!

  9. Author Linda Hodge on October 3, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Did you know that after cleaning eg; that germs also breed on clean wet surfaces? I always use paper towels or thick kitchen roll to dry the cleaned surfaces including the toilet seat & handle. Linda.

  10. Author Linda Hodge on October 3, 2017 at 9:46 am

    Always dry cleaned surfaces, especially the toilet seat/lid & handle as germs also breed on wet surfaces. I dry with either kitchen roll or paper towels.

    1. Author Stephanie C on October 4, 2017 at 9:23 am

      Hi Linda. Germs do indeed breed on wet surfaces, you're right. It's why it's so important to properly dry things like plastic containers too :)

  11. Author Eleanor Reed on October 3, 2017 at 11:40 pm

    I ruined my new stainless sink because i squirted the plugholes and the whole of the bottom with the zero limescale bleach and it all went black, it looks as though there's been fires in my sinks!!!

    1. Author Stephanie C on October 4, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Hi Eleanor. Oh gosh, this sounds awful! Hopefully you will find a way to revive it.

  12. Author Judith on October 4, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    I use Australia's Oz Kleen Bathroom, Kitchen & carpet cleaner its biodegradable & has a great smell. There are other OzKleen cleaner's, but never seen them here in England.

    1. Author Stephanie C on October 5, 2017 at 9:00 am

      Hi Judith. Thanks for sharing with us! :)

  13. Author Micheal on November 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    Thank you for this great post! I think the last one will be the most important when we clean anything, we must protect ourselves first by those rubber gloves. Remember to wear them before cleaning, they will prevent the cleaning chemicals from harming your skin.

    1. Author Stephanie C on November 23, 2017 at 12:15 pm

      Hi Micheal. I'm so glad you enjoyed my blog post. I always wear rubber gloves and ensure to moisturise my hands thoroughly after any cleaning. Our skin can be very delicate so it's important to look after it :)

  14. Author D'Sapone on January 11, 2018 at 10:48 am

    nice info

    1. Author Stephanie C on January 11, 2018 at 5:27 pm

      Thanks D'Sapone!

  15. Author christine on May 8, 2019 at 8:39 am

    get a life. cleaning should not be a religion.

    1. Author Joanne A on May 8, 2019 at 9:18 am

      It is like a religion to some!

  16. Author Sandra on May 8, 2019 at 9:49 am

    A slightly damp feather duster will collect dust. I add a little disinfectant - but slightly damp is the important thing to remember.

    1. Author Joanne A on May 8, 2019 at 11:42 am

      Adding disinfectant is a great idea! Thanks for sharing Sandra - I'll have to give that a try.

  17. Author Harmony on May 16, 2019 at 9:51 am

    I am certainly guilty of washing my chopping boards with just hot water & washing up liquid & and not wearing rubber gloves when cleaning, as I hate how they feel. I do not use or keep dirty toilet brushes. I think that is most disgusting! I stock up on washing up brushes when they are discounted by half price at Poundland or supermarkets and dispose of them immediately after use instead. I have also used Flash Magic Erasers sold in Poundland to clean my conservatory window sills as one reader commented & I was amazed with the results. My window sills turned from grey to white without using any harsh cleaning chemicals. The product really is magic & lives up to its name! Thanks for the informative cleaning tips & keep up the good work ladies.

  18. Author Trevor G Jones on March 26, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    Interesting about washing up liquid and cleaning boards. I will not trust washing up liquid for any cleaning. Obviously have to use it for this mainly but we have one glass board we use for meat which we wash up normally and swill in boiling water. The reason I do not like washing up liquid for anything else is the fact it is not strong enough, if you have strong loose tea as we do, a couple of washes and the tea stains will not come off the cups with it, so I put some soda in them with boiling water. My mum used soda for washing up long before washing up liquid was on sale. As regards the boards, we have three wooden ones besides the glass one for bread, fruit and veggies which I clean with lemon juice and dry with kitchen paper.

    1. Author Joanne A on March 26, 2020 at 2:40 pm

      That's an interesting perspective, Trevor!

  19. Author jan on March 28, 2020 at 5:03 am

    I leave the Toilet lid open to let the air in. Now i will keep it close. Thank you.

    1. Author Joanne A on March 30, 2020 at 10:31 am

      You're welcome!

  20. Author Pamela Eden on May 2, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Will stop making my bed ,as i climb out of it ,and put toilet lid down

    1. Author Joanne A on May 4, 2020 at 12:35 pm

      Glad we could help!

  21. Author Suze on May 22, 2020 at 8:10 am

    Oops I never wear gloves - time to get them on, my fave cleaning product is the pink stuff -cleans everything in sight, slightly abrasive but so far hasn’t damaged anything . I use it on my hob, old dried on cello tape, window frames , bath. So far anything that I’ve struggled o remove with other products that have failed to remove. I use the spray for daily jobs and tub for tougher job

    1. Author Joanne A on April 13, 2023 at 12:29 pm

      The pink stuff is a useful cleaning product that can tackle tough stains and dirt. Still, as it's slightly abrasive, it's essential to test a small area first and use it in a well-ventilated area to avoid any potential health problems.

  22. Author GENA MCLEAN on November 11, 2020 at 8:49 am

    I use fabric conditioner on a damp cloth to "polish" surfaces, leaves every thing gleaming and smelling lovely

    1. Author Joanne A on March 30, 2021 at 4:36 pm

      I've heard a few people say this!

  23. Author Sallyanne Holland on November 18, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    I use viakal on limescale as it melts it away. I do not own a toilet brush as I find them a breeding ground for germs. I always spray my polish into my cloth. When rinsing out showers I use a squeegee to wipe away excess water

    1. Author Joanne A on October 20, 2022 at 10:50 am

      Thanks for sharing!

  24. Author Lou on November 20, 2020 at 11:34 pm

    First one is bull. Why on earth would you wash chopping board with bleach? It's what you prepare food on! Washing up liquid and hot water and a good scrub is all it needs. I cut raw meat on it all the time and washing it this way hasn't done me or my family and friends any harm.

    1. Author Joanne A on February 14, 2023 at 12:04 pm

      Using bleach to wash a chopping board is a recommended practice in the food industry and by health authorities as it helps to kill harmful bacteria that may be present on the board. While washing with hot water and soap effectively removes dirt and debris, it may not be enough to eliminate bacteria. However, it is essential to ensure that the bleach is diluted correctly and rinsed off before using the chopping board again to avoid any potential harm.

  25. Author Vichkiee on August 18, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Hair wrapped around vacuum brush? Use dressmakers snips,to make it easy to pull out the hair😀😀works especially well on longer hair,and saves damaging my nails

    1. Author Joanne A on January 30, 2023 at 10:34 am

      Lovely idea!

  26. Author Eileen Cope on September 10, 2021 at 2:54 pm

    Hi when I clean the bathroom/kitchen tiles once dry, every 3/4 months I polish using car polish have done this for years, not only do I have a gleam to my tiles, but I don't have any lime scale residue. I am also mould free.

    1. Author Joanne A on January 30, 2023 at 10:23 am

      Hi Eileen! We're glad this works for you, but please note that it's designed for car surfaces and may harm or discolour the tiles. It's better to use a cleaning product specifically designed for tile surfaces.

  27. Author Tracy Humberstone on October 4, 2021 at 9:20 am

    We leave the toilet brush in a diluted solution bleach in its Holder so although it stays wet, it is actually being cleaned after use

    1. Author Joanne A on November 30, 2022 at 11:53 am

      Interesting idea! Our only concern would be the bleach degrading the toilet brush and holder over time.

  28. Author susan bowden on March 1, 2022 at 11:57 am

    a very light spray of diluted Zoflora (or similar) on a microfibre cloth lifts dust and leaves the surface smelling lovely. I mix it in a spray bottle but you can get it ready mixed now.

    1. Author Joanne A on March 3, 2022 at 3:31 pm

      Sounds perfect!


Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *