Avoid these 6 common cleaning mistakes to clean like a pro

A clean home is a healthy home — and fall is a great time to get your house back in shape after a hectic summer. From tips on improving your indoor air quality to the best ways to clean up household messes, Canadian Tire has everything you need to Prepare for Fall.

Cheerful young man using handheld Bissell vacuum cleaner to clean the couch while smiling at his dog
Photo via Canadian Tire (CHRIS ROBINSON PHOTO)

As summer comes to a close and life returns to its regularly scheduled programming, it would be nice to feel like you’re going into fall organized and properly prepared.

For many, fall means getting back to making lunches for the kids and hectic after-school schedules, compounded by your own busy work schedule. That’s a lot of adjustment, but it’s much easier when you’re doing it all from a clean and organized home base. It’s common knowledge that operating in a neat, clutter-free environment makes it easier to focus, and helps promote a calmer and more stress-free mind. Cleanliness can also improve your general health and even help you sleep better—the benefits are endless!

We’re also aware that cleaning can seem like a daunting and overwhelming task for some, especially if you feel like you have to keep going over the same spots again and again just to get them spick and span. Luckily, learning to clean quickly and effectively is easier than you may think, and we’re here to help. Start the fall season on the right foot by avoiding these common cleaning pitfalls to give your home a thorough clean.

1. Washing windows on a sunny day

Little boy helping his father wash and wipe clean glass doors for household chores at home on a sunny day. Happy father and son doing spring cleaning together. Kid learning to be responsible by doing tasks
Photo via Getty Images (PeopleImages via Getty Images)

Most people wouldn’t think twice about cleaning windows on a sunny day, but cleaning experts advise against it. Why? The heat from the sun will dry out the cleaning solution (or water) you’re using too quickly, leaving unsightly streaks. Instead, opt for a cloudier day to tackle this chore.

If you’re pressed for time, or there aren’t any clouds in your upcoming forecast, don’t fret. Simply clean small sections, or a single window pane, at a time so you can quickly remove any excess liquid before it dries. It’s recommended you use a specially formulated window or glass cleaner like Zep Glass Cleaner for a streak-free finish.

2. Using the wrong cleaning products for the job

Bathroom cleaning products from Canadian Tire, bleach, glass cleaner and concentrated all-purpose cleaner
Photo via Canadian Tire (Photo via Canadian Tire)

Avoid unnecessary frustration and wasted elbow grease by always using the correct cleaning products for the task at hand. Your everyday cleaner may be fine for one surface but damaging to more delicate or sensitive surfaces. Marble counters or floors, for example, can be damaged by overly acidic cleaning agents.

Before you embark on a day of fall cleaning, it’s wise to stock up on a variety of cleaning products. If you have hardwood floors, opt for a specialized cleaner, like the Rejuvenate Professional Wood Floor Cleaner. For marble counters, you’ll need something gentle and non-acidic. This method All-Purpose cleaner is plant-based so you can trust that it won’t damage your fussier surfaces. Tackling hard water buildup and soap scum? You’ll want to go with something a bit stronger, like CLR Bathroom & Kitchen Cleaner.

3. Letting your vacuum get too full

Woman emptying Dyson vacuum in her kitchen garbage can
Photo via Canadian Tire (Alex Griffiths)

It only takes a minute to empty the vacuum bag or canister, but we’re all guilty of letting it get a tad overfull. Don’t procrastinate on this pesky task, though, because it’ll ultimately prolong your cleaning time. A full vacuum won’t pick up debris as effectively and might even result in overheating. Instead, empty your vac when it reaches 75% full for the most effective clean.

If a bulky vacuum makes it harder for you to vacuum or clean out the canister regularly, we highly recommend a lightweight cordless vacuum like the Dyson V11 Absolute Extra Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner. This sleek device is lightweight, easy to operate and will revolutionize your cleaning routine with its powerful suction and advanced filtration. For a great wet/dry vacuum that’s equally capable when it comes to cleaning carpets and hard surfaces, consider the BISSELL CrossWave All-in-One Multi-Surface Wet/Dry Vacuum Cleaner. This multi-purpose cleaning tool is a fantastic option for homes with children and pets.

4. Reusing dirty cloths and sponges

Closeup of unrecognizable woman cleaning glass ceramic stove top with a detergent and a soft cleaning sponge.
Photo via Getty Images (gilaxia via Getty Images)

Reusing dirty cloths and sponges is probably the biggest cleaning no-no. You might have one cloth you use to clean every room in your house, but that’s only going to transfer dirt and bacteria from room to room. Instead, designate one cloth for the bathroom, a separate one for the kitchen, and one for your living and working areas.

When it comes to dirty sponges, proceed with caution. Damp, dirty sponges that come into contact with food are the perfect environment for bacteria to breed. That’s why it’s important to keep sponges as clean and dry as possible. It’s never a good idea to use your dish sponge to clean countertops either, as you’re just spreading bacteria around. Instead, opt for paper towel you can toss afterwards, or a microfibre cloth that won’t leave behind lint or dust.

5. Forgetting to clean high touch point areas

Woman cleaning door handle with rag indoors, closeup
Photo via Getty Images (Liudmila Chernetska via Getty Images)

“High touch” point areas are easy to miss and are often neglected. Door knobs, light switches, faucets, and toilet handles are all considered high touch point areas, and are prone to harmful bacteria and microbial growth. Considering a house full of sick people can really wreak havoc with our busy fall schedules, it’s important to give these areas added attention when you clean. Thankfully, cleaning high touch point areas couldn’t be easier. Simply wipe these surfaces with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and feel confident that you’re doing your part to minimize the spread of germs.

6. Starting at the bottom

Young woman cleaning her house, she is dusting a bookcase, chores and hygiene concept
Photo via Getty Images (demaerre via Getty Images)

Most things in life involve starting at the bottom and working your way up—but that doesn’t apply to cleaning. For truly quick and efficient cleaning, you need a strategy, and the best way to clean is by starting at the top. That means dusting top shelves first, vacuuming (or sweeping) starting at the top of your stairs, and cleaning windows and mirrors from the top down. This way, you won’t have to clean all over again once the literal and proverbial dust settles.

Fall is all about getting back to routine, and making sure both you and your home are properly prepared for colder weather. Whether you’re looking for garage storage solutions, tools to help you make quick work of fall lawn care, or time-saving cleaning products, Canadian Tire has what you need to Prepare for Fall.