5 Spring Cleaning Mistakes You're Probably Making

by Pamela J. Hobart

Spring is upon us, the coats and boots are almost done with their annual work, and it's time to think about tidying up a little in here. It makes sense that people would want to turn over a new leaf indoors as new leaves begin to show themselves outdoors, but you need to work smarter — not harder — at tidying your home. If these common spring cleaning mistakes are any indicator, plenty of people are taking the easy way out in the wrong places, and these shortcuts might be harmful to your health. At the same time, there's no need to knock yourself out spending cleaning energy where it doesn't matter.

According to research conducted on British participants by the cleaning supplies company Kärcher, most people make some very poor choices when it comes to spring cleaning, indeed. And judging from what I've seen of other Americans' homes (my own included), the situation is largely similar on this side of the pond, and some of these so-called "cleaning sins" are much more dangerous than others. Let's take a little time to untangle the merely annoying cleaning issues from those that need to be prioritized. The American Time Use survey shows that we're spending plenty of hours doing housework, but efficiency is really key here. Here are five mistakes you probably didn't know you were making — and ones that are actually worth paying attention to.

1. Only changing your sheets once per month

Sheets are close to ground zero in terms of bodily fluids — except for your toilet, they definitely see more body fluid action than all the other places in your home. I'm convinced that people just forget how good fresh sheets feel every single time, and then whoops, it's been a month since the last time you've swapped yours out. But saving yourself from the bed-borne allergens, oils, grime, and dust mites is worth it. Don't skimp on this chore!

2. Leaving food in the fridge

Food rotting in the fridge is indeed a health issue, so don't skip this step when you're cleaning this spring. It's incredibly gross to find stuff growing in there, but it's not going to get any better as time goes on, only worse — and you're ruining your other fridge contents (or their appeal) in the meantime. Food poisoning is common and unpleasant (and even dangerous), but it's largely avoidable if you practice good food hygiene. Spend one painful afternoon cleaning the fridge, and then keep it that way.

3. Leaving dirty laundry on the floor

Laundry isn't exactly exciting, and eventually you'll do it, but in the meantime dirty clothes are likely to pile up all over the floor. On the one hand, dirty clothes left lying around aren't really dangerous, but on the other hand it's such an easy situation to fix. Leaving laundry on the floor can attract bugs, not to mention it's bad for your clothing. Resolve to put your laundry in the hamper either before you leave each morning, or before you go to bed each night. You'll probably feel like your place is disproportionately cleaner, in comparison to the effort expended.

4. Not dusting the television and shelves

Dust is easy to ignore, but dust allergies are very real, so you're gonna have to suck it up and take care of it already. You might not feel any benefits from dusting immediately (in fact you may feel worse after the dust is kicked up into the air), but it is likely to improve your allergies, asthma, and general respiratory health in the medium to long run.

5. Leaving hair in the drain

If you have long hair, hairballs in the drain may just be a fact of life. My solution is two-fold: first, just wash your hair less (way less). Second, stick your loose hairs to the shower walls instead of letting them wash down the drain. I know it sounds gross, but after you've left the shower, they'll dry and fall to the shower floor. They're easier to remove that way, and obviously clean so it isn't as disgusting. Problem solved.

Images: Morag Riddell/Flick; Giphy (5)