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Common Cleaning Mistakes

Rush Jobs

Slow down when you clean. Sure, tips for shaving time off tedious cleaning tasks give us more time for other things. Even so, it is not helpful to rush and then have to do it again because the area did not get clean the first time. Advertising convinces buyers that all they need to do is spray on a cleaning product and wipe off. However, a hasty swipe can leave behind nasty germs that make you sick, such as salmonella. Instead, read the label on the bottle of cleaner for its suggested "dwell" time. This is the minimum time the product should remain on the surface. Generally, this is one to three minutes. The dwell time gives the cleaner time to loosen and lift the dirt -- and in some cases, to kill the germs.

Mixing Cleaners

Keep cleaners separate to avoid serious and sometimes fatal repercussions. Never mix pure ammonia and bleach together. Doing so creates toxic fumes that overpower you quickly. These fumes affect the eyes and throat or can cause you to lose consciousness. Continuing to breathe them in while passed out can make you very ill or even kill you. For many experienced cleaners, this is common knowledge. However, some commercially purchased prepared cleaners also contain ammonia as an ingredient. These cleaners mixed with bleach cause the same reaction as pure ammonia. Always read the labels for the ingredient list and never mix any purchased cleaning products. Most surfaces do not require these types of cleaners anyway. When cleaning surfaces that do not require scrubbing, use a combination of vinegar and water. This mixture is safe and kills most of the germs it touches. For surfaces requiring heavy cleaners, use a breathing mask and rubber gloves for protection.

Hot Spots

Hot spots exist in every household. Weekly cleaning of these areas is not enough. Hot spots define areas that are touched many times throughout the day. Germs from hands are consistently transferred to these spots. Then the germs are transferred to the next person's hands, continuing in a cycle. Hot spots include doorknobs, faucets and toilet handles. In addition, consider any other surface touched throughout the day, such as cupboards and appliance handles, a hot spot. Wipe them down with a vinegar cloth or disinfectant at least once a day.

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