Are You Making these Cleaning Mistakes?

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Are you making these cleaning mistakes

My definition of a cleaning mistake is one that causes you waste time cleaning.  We’re busy people, so why spend MORE time cleaning instead of something more fun? So this is my collection of efficiency tips to make your cleaning routines FAST and EASY!

Disclaimer:  This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Many of these tips came from a fascinating little book I first read probably 20 years ago.  I’ve used these simple and somewhat brilliant cleaning tips consistently ever since.  Just think of how many HOURS of cleaning I’ve saved myself!

It’s from a company called The Clean Team – they are experts in speed cleaning and have a great line of helpful products for all types of cleaning.

Here is the original Speed Cleaning Book from Amazon.

cleaning mistakes


Cleaning Mistake #1 – not having the right tools handy

Let’s face it, it slows you down considerably if you have to traipse all over the house to assemble all the necessary cleaning tools.  For bathrooms, I keep a set in each bathroom, but for other supplies, I like to keep mine in a handy cleaning tote like this one:

cleaning mistakes

It’s always kept stocked with cleaning cloths, spray cleaners, Goo-gone, brushes, scrapers, and all the handy little tools and products I need. I love these microfiber cleaning cloths, but some people like old, soft flat-fold diapers or burp cloths.

cleaning mistakes

I also keep a full set of cleaning supplies in each bathroom for a quick tidy-up.  It’s so much easier than playing hide and seek with the Windex between different bathrooms.  Huge time-waster!

Since my breast cancer diagnosis, I have switched to all-all natural cleaning and household products, like Mrs. Meyers, Method, and Tom’s.  I use them for personal care items like toothpaste, mouthwash, and deodorant as well.  I buy them at a discount from a company called Grove.  This link will get you a free full-sized starter kit with your first $20 purchase.

Get a caddy, stock it up, keep it handy.  You’ll be so glad you did!

Cleaning Mistake #2 – Don’t feather dust

Being a true fan of Flylady, I hung onto my faithful Flylady feather duster for years, but honestly, that thing didn’t dust for squat.  It just made a huge mess.  Then I tried the Swiffer dusters, but I got annoyed with the cost of the refills.

So, instead, I use this microfiber duster from Amazon.  This baby works like a charm!  Grabs the dust instead of spreading it around.  Plus it’s machine washable.

cleaning mistakes

Bonus dusting tip – use an old pillowcase to dust the ceiling fan blades.  Keeps it from flying around the room.

Cleaning Mistake #3 – Cleaning Surfaces in the Wrong Order

Which brings me to one of my favorite tips from the Speed Cleaning book.  The order you clean things in is IMPORTANT.  

One of the best tips I learned (pay attention!) from it is to always clean from top to bottom and to move in a clockwise rotation around a room.  That way you are not wiping dirt down from a dirty surface onto an already cleaned one.  Start at the top, all the way down down, before you move forward to the next area.  Bring your caddy along with you, so if you run into a sticky spot, you’ve got the tools handy to deal with it.  In a pinch, I can swipe through a whole room in 15-20 minutes and leave it sparkling clean!

It’s speedy and more thorough that way and you’re less likely to miss spots.  Hey I have ADD, so if I’m darting all over a room, I’m definitely going to miss stuff.  The trick is to do it methodically and consistently.

Always clean from top to bottom and clockwise around a room

Cleaning Mistake #4 – Save Your Arm by Giving the Products Time to Work

Also, you want to be fast, but you are wasting your cleaning products if you don’t give them time to work, especially grease-cutting agents.  If you spray and then wipe immediately, you might as well be spraying water.  Spritz, and let it sit for a minute or two, while you put a few things away, then wipe.  And don’t overspray.  You don’t want cleaning product on your painted walls or upholstery.  Just a light spritz unless it’s particularly heavy grease.  Otherwise, you are just gunking up your cleaning cloths with excess cleaner.

Cleaning Mistake #5 – When You Declutter – Finish the job!

Here’s the mistake some of my decluttering clients used to make.  They would start a decluttering project, but then they would just pile the giveaway items in a box.  They had the intention to take them to a Goodwill the next day.  Never happened.

One of two things would then happen:

The box would sit somewhere and become part of the clutter problem


They would start poking through it and start reclaiming items from the box.  I call this re-cluttering!

My rule is that everything has to be out of the house by sundown.  No, really.  It’s literally part of a contract I require my clients to sign. It really helps – out of sight, out of mind (and out of the darn house!).

Cleaning Mistake #6 – Buying Cute Organizing Containers

Well, I should say “over-buying” organizing containers.  Let’s face it, ladies, we love to buy stuff.  And it’s kind of fun to buy all these bins and baskets and shelves.  We think we’re going to come up with all these fabulous Pinterest-like ideas to store all our “stuff”.

If you buy a bin or a basket, you are darn well going to find SOMETHING to put in that basket.

I coach clients to declutter FIRST and re-purpose some of the baskets and bins they already have.  That usually works like a charm, but if they absolutely have a need for a storage item after that, then they can go out and buy just that one thing they need and not a whole houseful.  The whole point is to get rid of STUFF, not to feed your shopping addiction – whoops!

The whole point is to get rid of STUFF, not to feed your shopping addiction

Random Tip:  Here’s a tip I just learned about how to pick up broken glass.  I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds like it would work.  Use a piece of bread to pick up the shards – supposedly the glass magically clings to the bread.  It saves your fingers and it’s supposed to get even the tiniest shards of glass.  Then take a flashlight and shine it across every inch of the floor.  If any tiny pieces are left over, they will reflect the light.  I’m going to try that one next time we break a glass – hopefully no time soon.

Bonus tip – this isn’t a cleaning tip, but it’s SO handy.  When you lose something, think back to the very FIRST place you went to look for it.  That is it’s natural home and if you always keep it there, you will be able to find it – first time, every time.

Hope these tips help – got any handy tips you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear them.  Leave them in the comments.

Here are some other posts you may enjoy:

How Does Your Clutter Affect Your Children?

7 Steps to a Permanently Clean Kitchen

Cleaning Tips to Make Life Easier and Great Smelling


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  1. These are great tips, thanks! I totally agree about the bins. Sometimes we don’t need to organize our stuff as much as we need to just parse it down or get rid of it altogether! I think people (me included, but I’m realizing it’s not a good idea) buy storage thinking it will solve the problem without first just assessing what we have and where we need it!

    1. I agree absolutely. You can’t organize clutter. Usually it’s just because we are too exhausted to take the time to make the decisions about what to keep and what to toss. I spent about 3 hours this weekend paring down my inbox. I had over 3,000 Emails in there – yes, I am a virtual hoarder! And that was just from about May or June time frame. Do you know what helped me a ton? Instead of figuring out what I wanted to delete, I started figuring out what I wanted to keep. I would select about 50 messages at a time to delete and then unmark the handful I wanted to keep. I was really surprised at how much easier that simple trick made the decision.

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