You always start cleaning with the best of intentions – maybe you want to get ahead on spring cleaning before the weekend, or you want to clean the bathroom while your roommate is out of town. But there are ways you can end up wasting your time, energy and money by making specific cleaning mistakes.

Here are a few common cleaning mistakes you probably make and easy solutions to go along with them.

Scrubbing carpet spills

Whenever there’s a spill on the carpet, don’t try scrubbing it. Scrubbing the carpet will not only let the liquid spread, it will also spoil the carpet fiber. The best thing to do is blot the spill until all the moisture is sucked out. In case of a spill involving solids, like food, scoop out the solids using a blunt knife and then blot the area. Once the carpet is completely dry, clean it with a stain remover.

Cleaning with lemon and vinegar

Though both lemon and vinegar are all-purpose cleaners, they don’t work on all surfaces, including stones like marble. As an acid, lemon reacts with the marble and causes the color to fade.

Using the wrong tool

If you’re using a scrubber for cleaning, make sure to use it as it’s designed. For example, a scrubber with a rough surface is meant to clean grease and dirt from rough surfaces like pots and pans. If it’s used on plastic or ceramic surfaces, it can leave scratches.

Spraying cleaner directly onto a surface

If you spray a cleaning solution directly onto the surface you’re trying to clean, it will result in a gradual buildup of residue over time. To prevent this, spray the cleaning solution onto the microfiber or sponge and then use it to clean the surface.

Keeping a wet toilet brush in its holder:

This is a huge NO-NO! If you keep a wet toilet brush directly in its holder, it’ll become a breeding ground for germs. Instead, allow the brush to drip dry by placing it between the toilet seat and base with the bristles above the bowl. Once it’s dry, you can put the brush back in the holder.

Not testing new products:

Every time you use a new product for cleaning your carpet or sofa, remember to do a test patch in a hidden corner. This will help you determine any negative reactions, like fading or shrinking of the fabric.

Keeping your cleaning products for too long:

All cleaning products, especially sponges and scrubbers, should be replaced regularly to avoid a buildup of germs. How often? You should be getting rid of your old sponge every week! To maintain sponges and scrubbers for longer, you can microwave them at a high temperature to kill bacteria.

8 MUST-HAVE CLEANING SUPPLIES FOR YOUR HOME

These are simple mistakes, but they can prove to be costly. If you don’t clean your plush, expensive carpet the right way, you can damage it – even to the point of needing to replace it. Similarly, if you clean your marble floor with the wrong product, you can ruin a very costly part of your home. Avoid these mistakes and you’re already on your way to a cleaner and happier home.