How To Avoid Exposure To Damage From Cleaning Products?

Damage From cleaning products

Every home whether it is an apartment, villa, house or even office needs cleaning. While there’s no one right way to clean your home, furious scrubbing and scouring is not always the smart way to get results.  And while you may have the best of intentions, oftentimes, we cannot avoid exposure to damage from cleaning products. Unfortunately, some cleaning products can actually do more harm than good.

Take the joyful job of cleaning windows. Washing your windows on a sunny day may actually be causing all those stubborn, hard to remove streaks you see on the glass. Being aware of common cleaning mistakes can protect your home. It’s always better to prevent damage than to try to repair it afterwards.


Common cleaning mistakes which incur damage from cleaning products

(plus some insights on how to do the job correctly):

1. Scrubbing Stains Out Of Carpets

Do you hit the ground scrubbing every time someone spills a glass of red wine? Tragically, scrubbing actually untwists carpet fibres, distorting the pile. Once the damage is done, it’s permanent.

Even though you may eventually get the stain out of your carpet, you won’t ever be able to reverse untwisted fibres. A smarter way to remove a stain is by first scraping up what you can with a spoon. Then blot the stained area with a clean white cloth or paper towel.

Continue blotting until the stain is dry and no more moisture is being absorbed. Next, treat the spot with a stain remover, but be sure to pretest the product in a hidden area first to make sure it won’t fade your carpet’s colour.

2.  Cleaning Windows On A Sunny Day

Thanks to the heat of the sun, your glass cleaning solution could dry too quickly leaving streaks on the glass. Wait for a cloudy day or only work when the temperature has dropped.

Apply your window-cleaning product then allow the product to sit for a minute, before using a white-backed sponge to work the solution around the window. Use a squeegee once horizontally all the way across the top, before swiping the window vertically, overlapping strokes slightly. Keep pressure even, and wipe the squeegee blade after each stroke to prevent drips.

3.  Using Vinegar Or Lemon Juice On Everything

We are advocates of organic cleaning products but both lemon juice and vinegar are acids, which can damage natural surfaces such as unsealed limestone pavers, marble, onyx, and travertine. Lemon juice and vinegar will permanently dull the appearance of stone, which can be expensive to refinish.

A vinegar solution such as one tablespoon of vinegar mixed with half a gallon water is fine for removing soap scum and water scale from ceramic tiles, fibreglass tubs, and showerheads. However, for natural stones, go with neutral cleaning solutions designed specifically for them.

4.  Using Too Much Cleaning Product

More is not necessarily better when it comes to avoiding damage from cleaning products. Using more cleaning products is just wasting your money and may even create a sticky buildup on whatever surface you’re cleaning over time.

The amount you should use is specified on the label. Go with the manufacturers recommended solution and save yourself time and money. While there’s no hard and fast rule of thumb about how much DIY cleaning product (like lemon juice or vinegar solutions) to use, remember everything you apply to the surface must be picked back up by your rag or mop otherwise you will end up with a filmy residue that, over time, becomes tougher to clean.

5.  Using Furniture Polish Every Time You Dust

Furniture polish and oils were used in the days when furniture lacked a protective topcoat. However, they are largely unnecessary given today’s finishes. To clean modern pieces, use a damp microfiber cloth and dust with the grain. If you see water drops on the surface after you clean, your dusting rag is way too wet.

Furniture polish is fine for antique furniture, however, try not to swap between products. Using different products with different ingredients can create a chemical reaction, which leaves a gummy residue behind.

6.  Not Every Cleaner Is A Disinfectant

Not all cleaning products were created equal. So, it pays to read their labels. Some home areas such as kitchen countertops, the kitchen sink, bathroom tiles, and bathtubs need a disinfectant to kill germs. Read the label and more importantly, follow the directions. Many disinfectants need to remain wet on a surface for a set amount of time. Spraying the disinfectant on the surface and immediately wiping it up does not disinfect the surface.

7.  Deodorising Your Garbage Disposal With Coffee Grounds.

Deodorising your garbage disposal unit is necessary because food particles can build up inside the grinding mechanism creating unwanted odours. However, coffee grounds are not the way to go. If you don’t run enough water through the garbage disposal while flushing with coffee grounds, they won’t be flushed through the pipe and end up clogging the unit because the blades are too big to grind them up.

Always trash or compost your used coffee grounds. To properly deodorize your disposal, try grinding up a lemon pre-cut into quarters. Alternatively, try specifically designed commercial garbage disposal cleaner. Also, don’t forget to clean the rubber gasket over the disposal unit every week to remove odour causing food particles.


Cleaning Products And Your Health

Whether it’s the ‘toxic’ warning labels on your cleaning product bottles, the long list of ingredients that all seem to end in ‘oxide’, ‘ethylene’ or ‘chlorite’, or the pervasive citrus smell that follows you through your home, our cleaning products don’t always give off a friendly vibe.

Happily, most of the chemicals in our everyday household cleaning products are actually safe to use. However, keep an eye out for products containing bleach, including cleaning products with hypochlorite, a common ingredient in disinfectants. Bleaches are dangerous if they get on your skin.

Hypochlorite cleaning products contain caustic soda. That ingredient can be quite dangerous so be very careful about splashing it on your skin. If you leave it on your skin untreated for more than a few minutes, it will damage your skin causing a chemical burn.

Even if you do come into contact with the ingredients in your household cleaning products, they won’t cause any long-term harm unless they are ingested.


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Final Word

A common cause of damage from cleaning products is using the wrong cleaning product for the job. So, always read the product’s label to see what surfaces it is safe to use on before you start industriously scrubbing away. Follow the advice above, only use the right cleaning products for the task and you will never experience cleaning issues in the future and those unsightly spills, stains, and accumulated grime will disappear.

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