Skip to Content

17 Bad Cleaning habits that are sabotaging your efforts in keeping a clean house

Sharing is caring!

Stop doing twice the work and keep a cleaner home especially with tip number 17

There are a number of cleaning habits that most of us have developed over the years that are actually holding us back in our cleaning efforts. These habits include cleaning in the wrong order, using the wrong equipment, and using the wrong cleaning solutions. These habits really need to be broken, because they can be a real problem. In this blog, we’ll look at these habits, why they are so important and how we can break them and what you can do to boost your cleaning efforts.

1. Waiting to long to clean

Yeah, cleaning may not be the most fun task in your life but we must do it.   Waiting until grime has built up and dust has formed several layers.  Makes you do twice the work and double the time.

If you are already short on time, find pockets of time to wipe things down regularly.  Which will reduce the build-up and time spent cleaning while improving the state of your home daily.

*This post contains affiliate links and I am an affiliate with Amazon.  This means that if you click-through and make a purchase I receive a small commission (at no cost to you).  I only write and endorse products I personally use, love and what I find helpful in being an awesome mom.  For more details, Click here

Also letting things pile up like laundry creates impossible mountains.  It’s better to do smaller loads more frequently than trying to fit as much as you can in the washer which doesn’t clean your clothes.

The washer actually needs room to agitate your clothes and too many clothes mean dry spots and no room for water to flow.

Stop putting things off even when you are short on time, create a cleaning routine that fits your lifestyle but allows consistency.

2. Using dirty cleaning tools

Vacuums are great and can suck up a lot of life’s leftover crumbs and mess.  But you have to clean the inside of your vacuum regularly.  This includes

  • Changing filters
  • Washing dirt bin
  • Removing roller -cleaning 
  • Wiping it down

Otherwise, you are spewing all that yuck back into your air.

Sponges are versatile cleaning warriors but a batería filled sponge will fill your home with germs and that’s the worst.  

Regularly replace your sponges to avoid contaminating your home.  And clean your sponge after use.

I love using Clean Smart spray to spray down my sponges to reduce batteries and fungi.

Mops is another breeding ground for swishing grossness around.  Change your mop head frequently and be sure to disinfect and clean it after each use.

3. Using cleaning chemicals incorrectly

Stop mixing cleaning agents!  Your goal is to make your home clean and smell good NOT blow it up.  Be sure you aren’t mixing Cleaning agents. 

Many form harmful gasses and can cause damage to your health.  Also using cleaning stuff on the wrong type of material can cause damage to expensive things you own in your home.

Read all cleaning labels and their uses.  Allow cleaning agents time to clean.  That’s right, some cleaning agents need to sit for 5 minutes or an hour to penetrate the scrum.  

Be sure to wear protective gloves and other items to avoid skin irritations.  Also, crack a window and turn on your bathroom vents to rid the air of fumes while using them.  Avoid breathing in toxic chemicals 

The fact of the matter is actually we don’t need as many cleaning products as you may think.  A good all-purpose non-toxic cleaner can go a long way.  And a basic disinfectant as well. 

4. Not replacing filters 

3 Vaccum Filters for Shark Vaccum

Your heating/cooling requires filters that need to be changed.  But let’s not forget the humidifiers and whole room air purifiers.  While each may be very different, regular maintenance is required to keep from breaking down.  

Also when you don’t take the time to change our filters or wipe them down.  You are blowing all those nasty particles right back into your home and into your air. 

5. Not moving items away from the wall

Do you wipe the counters down but only in front of the appliances and paper towel holders?  It’s important to remove all items away from their homes and wipe the entire area they are located in.  

This means removing couches from the wall, pulling fridges away from the wall, pulling the range away from the wall.  

All these unseen areas collect dust and can hide hidden dirt really well. 

6. Not cleaning the inside of your washing machine

So I mentioned above the fact that you need to allow room for your clothes to breathe inside the washing machine.  But you also need to be cleaning the inside of your machine as well. 

Washers can build up dirt over time and bacteria from all the hard work of washing your daily life away.  Especially when you have kids.  Cause who knows what they get into. 

It’s important to use the clean cycle on your machine if it offers one of run your machine on a clean cycle with some vinegar.  Some recommend bleach which does work.  But my preference is vinegar. 

Follow your manufacturer’s clean cycle recommendations or two cups of vinegar into your machine.  

The simplest way to do it is to use these neat cleaning tablets.  They are very simple to use and will leave your machine fresh.  

Before you drop them in be sure to wipe down the entire machine all around the soap dispensers and the tub.  Remove all the accessories and clean them well.  Then run your machine with the hottest water and drop in the tablets. 

7. Thinking bleach is the only thing that disinfects

Clean Smart Spray Bottle

I am a huge advocate for as many non-toxic cleaners as I can.  But rarely I will need a splash of bleach.  I can buy a bottle and it normally lasts me an entire year.  

I don’t use it much because of its harmful fumes which flare up my asthma but also because it’s not good for many other reasons and I want to keep my family’s immunity up and not bring it down with harmful chemicals. 

My top 4 choices for disinfecting my home are Clean Smart, Vinegar, Hot steam, Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant all four of these options are WAY better for your health and clean just as well or even better than straight bleach. 

Do I use bleach sparingly and with proper PPE.  

8. Setting yourself up for cleaning success

One of the grossest rooms in our homes especially with kids is the bathroom.  From sticky fingers to potty training accidents.  Our bathrooms can become grimy in minutes.  

Ya know the gobs of toothpaste left in the sink and messy counters are just the visual mess. Pee stains and toilet paper balls are a whole other thing.  

Use a cleaning caddie to keep a small bottle of cleaner, disinfectant wipes, and more in a quick access place inside each bathroom to do quick cleaning wipe-ups. 

9. Not having a regular decluttering plan

We often bring things into our home daily from normal routines, school, and other activities we may be a part of.  Then add on birthdays, Christmas, and other gift-receiving holidays.  The influx of stuff that comes in needs an act of planning where it should be going and when it’s time for it to find a new home.  

I use an annual decluttering plan that is broken down into monthly simple-to-use action tasks.  As a busy mom of 3 the papers my kids bring in and the long to-do list means I need quick decluttering sessions to keep me sane.


Decluttering ebook pages

If that sounds like a plan you want to get in on as well you can check that out in my shop and purchase the ebook with the calendars.  I also go into a deep dive into decluttering and other maintenance things you can do inside my Tidy Habits Tidy Homes course for stay-at-home moms. 

10. Using a plastic shower curtains

Plastic shower curtains are for the most part non-recyclable and are difficult to clean.  Sure there is just tossing it in the machine trick but that’s not the whole solution.  Plastic showers take a longer time to dry and over time will build up mold.  Not to mention they don’t allow your shower to breathe.  

Trapping more moisture into the bathroom leaving breeding grounds for more mold to grow.  

Opt-out of plastic shower curtains and use a double layer shower curtain layer instead.  When you clean the bathroom just toss the curtain into the wash with the towels.  

Also, make sure you are always pulling the shower curtain close after every shower to allow it to dry. 

11. Not rising out the shower/bath after you shower

That horrible shower ring around the tub/shower is preventable ya know?!   Yeah, I said it.  It’s gross no one wants to shower after you haven’t at least rinsed the shower with water all around the edges.  

It takes seconds to use the showerhead to move around and let the water rinse off the sides of the tub/shower and or use your kid’s shower cup after bath time and get some clean water to clean off the edges.  

It takes only a min of your life but helps get of the shower ring or at least keeps it away a lot longer than if you never rinsed after each use.

12. Not adjusting your habits to support your cleaning

I hear it all the time that I just don’t have time to clean or the house is always a mess.  But instead of thinking, you need to find a new cleaning checklist.  Take a look at your habits.  

Are you putting things down and walking away after using them or are you putting things back after each use which saves you time in the first place. 

Are you adjusting your daily schedule to include clean-up time or are you doing a mad rush when guests are coming over. 

Are you letting the kids pull all the toys out and giving them access to everything like a free-for-all without having to clean up after they are done playing.  

A simple habit evaluation can truly be an eye-opener to areas where we might need to do better so we can be kind to our future selves and keep a tidier home. 

13.  Wearing your shoes inside

Mens shoes on carpet

This is a huge no-no and I have a dedicated post that you can read here on more in-depth ways to avoid this and get your guests to take their shoes off as well.

Your shoes step on the world’s mess daily.  And then you track all that germ-infested bacteria into your home.  Walk across your carpets and now you have left dirt marks and your interior rugs age faster with dingy shoe residue. 

It’s also very unhealthy for children who crawl around on the floor.  

14.  Getting a handle on your mail and kids paper work

We get mail daily and kids bring in an astonishing amount of paperwork from school.  From the mad rush into the home.  You put the piles of paper down on the kitchen counter and it continues from there shifting from place to place. 

This pile shifting has now become an eyesore and you need to go through the pile but now can’t bear the thought of going through it because of the amount that has stacked on. 

Make it a point to create an incoming mail system.  It could be daily or weekly but still to address the paperwork and be consistent.  Again allow yourself time to go through it during your normal day as a habit to help keep the paperwork to a minimum.

15. Not putting things back after you use them

Before we can clean our house we normally will find ourselves tidying up first and put things back into their home.  While this is something you will always have to do because life happens.  Changing some of your habits like living your bathroom toiletries on the counter in the morning instead of putting them back after use can save you time.

And this concept works for just about anything.  You need to put as many things back as possible right after each use so you can spend less time in the future. 

If cleaning is already a hassle in your mind and time is an issue.  It would go a lot faster if you didn’t have to spend the time tidying up first and then trying to clean it.  

16. Forgetting to clean the inside of your dishwasher

Ever have those glass cups come out with residue or items with food still stuck on.  It could be a clear sign that you are in need of a dishwasher cleaning. 

Don’t think that just because the washer uses soap and water that it doesn’t need to be cleaned.  There is probably food stuck in the drain and you need to disinfect the washer too!

Not taking the time to regularly do this means you will spend more time rewashing dishes.  

Inside dishwasher drawer

17. Not cleaning from top to bottom

Cleaning from top to bottom means two things.  Literally cleaning from the ceiling down to the baseboards meaning. Capturing all dust particles as they fall off the ceiling and cleaning the floors very last. 

And secondly, deep cleaning.  Just as important as moving things away from the wall we must take the time to deep clean our appliances, laundry/towels, couches, pretty much anything that we own.  Not taking the time to deep clean your home can make your home start to look dingy.  

18. Doing it all yourself

Even distribution of chores and home responsibilities is so key.  And if one person is going to be a designated home keeper this should be a conversation of understanding, not expectation. When no conversation is had then it leaves the door for resentment. 

If more than one person lives in the home then shared duties can happen.  

Especially when it comes to families.  Kids need structure and to understand that the family unit works as a whole.  We all make messes and so we all need to clean our messes.  And kids can start when they are very young.  

Turn cleaning into a game and not a to-do or harping on them because no one enjoys this.  Make it fun and kids will love to help clean up.

Even asking for help with getting a cleaner to help you catch up is not bad. Sometimes life gets hard and calling in reinforcements to help you get back on track can be necessary for your sanity. That does not make you a bad mom or housekeeper especially when you have kids.

Cleaning is a necessary chore that most people don’t like doing, but it’s a much more pleasant task when you know you’re doing it right. Using these tips can help you improve your cleaning habits.

It can be hard to stay on top of our cleaning with all of the demands of our time today. If you are looking for some help with your home cleaning, check out my other helpful post and get the quick start guide for stay-at-home moms who are overwhelmed.

Whether you are cleaning for your own benefit or for the benefit of someone else, it is important to make sure that you are cleaning in a way that is actually helpful. If you are not cleaning in a way that will benefit you, then you will need to change your habits and learn a new way to clean, or you could be making a bigger mess than you think.