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7 Cleaning Habits That Are Actually Ruining Your Stuff

Here are some over-cleaning habits that you should break!

There’s an old saying that goes something like “Doing too much of anything good can be bad”, and it perfectly describes what this article is about: over-cleaning can often do more harm than good.

Keeping your house clean and organized is important for good indoor air quality and the health of the entire family. However, obsessively wiping, washing, or scrubbing surfaces and fearing contamination can end up wearing down your belongings. In fact, when it comes to cleaning, more isn’t always better.

Your over-cleaning habits may stem from having obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but you have to talk to an expert to get properly diagnosed. To know if you have the tendency, check if you’re guilty of any of the following habits that are actually ruining your stuff!

over-cleaning habits
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1. Using harsh chemicals regularly

One of the most common over-cleaning habits is using harsh products every time you clean your house. Commercial products like drain sanitizers, ammonia, bleach, and oven cleaners, among others, contain harsh ingredients that can damage items and surfaces in your home when used frequently. Not to mention, they are pretty toxic.

Cleaning products like those mentioned above can remove stains and sanitize efficiently and effectively, but their repeated exposure can end up weakening the structural integrity of fixtures and edoring materials.

Moreover, harsh chemicals are known to severely impact the environment, which is why you should use them only when absolutely necessary.

2. Using cleaning products more than necessary

You’re one of those people who tends to use more soap or detergent just to make sure the dirt is gone for good. You’re definitely not the only one who does that, but unfortunately, this is one of those over-cleaning habits that may end up doing more harm than good.

You apply more cleaning product than the required amount, thinking it will clean the surface better, but this habit is actually counterproductive. The product will become sticky and milky and will become hard to wipe or wash. This is especially true when it comes to washing clothes. Don’t pour extra laundry detergent because it won’t make your whites whiter and make stained clothes clean again faster.

Using too much detergent will result in too many suds that may not rinse out of clothes, which can hamper cleaning. This is because suds will cushion fabrics, preventing stains from being washed away as they should.

The rule “more isn’t always better” also applies when it comes to washing your dishes. If there’s still some spaghetti sauce on your plate, extra detergent won’t fix it. Too much of it can leave film, residue, and spots behind.

3. Using a disinfectant as a cleaner repeatedly

Reaching for the disinfectant every time you feel like germs or bacteria are lurking around is also among those over-cleaning habits that are actually counterproductive. People trying to keep contaminants at bay in their houses often make this mistake.

It’s important to understand that disinfectants are formulated to kill viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. They aren’t meant to remove stains and dirt. Using them as cleaners cannot give you whichever result you’re looking for, and you wind up with dirtier surfaces than before.

Instead of repeatedly cleaning stuff in your house with a disinfecting solution, clean them with a cotton rag (dry or wet with a cleaner) or a microfiber cloth (you can find plenty options here). Then you can use the disinfectant to ensure any type of germ or bacteria is gone.

over-cleaning habits
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4. Removing every stain with hard scouring pads

Next on our list of over-cleaning habits that are actually ruining stuff is when you tackle a stain using a hard scouring pad. These pads are excellent when it comes to removing stubborn stains and spots from a variety of surfaces, but if you don’t use them with caution, they may cause irreparable damage.

These sponges can leave scratches behind on multiple household surfaces, such as marble countertops and coppery fixtures, making them look dull and decreasing their lifespan. This being said, use hard scouring pads wisely if you want to avoid unknowingly doing more harm than good.

Pro Tip: Before using any new product or tool, always test it on a hidden area to check whether it’s harsh for the surface.

Keep reading to discover other over-cleaning habits that can ruin your belongings!

5. Brushing or vacuuming carpets too often

Sorry to break it to you, but using the vacuum too often isn’t the best decision you can make when it comes to cleaning. Sure, removing debris and dust from carpets is necessary to maintain their appearance and breathe clean air indoors.

However, if you tend to do that multiple times a day, you’ll keep any trace of dust at bay, but you’ll also affect the carpets’ structural integrity. If you want to make sure they are perfectly clean, vacuuming them twice a week should be enough, even for those who have pets.

You can sanitize high-traffic areas daily, but brushing or vacuuming more than that is neither necessary nor practical. Therefore, if your carpets appear dull or are becoming rough, this may be a sign of over-cleaning habits.

6. Using hot or boiling water every time you wash or rinse

Hot or boiling water is excellent for removing stubborn grime, stains, spots, and mold from almost any household surface or object. If you’ve ticked off some of the over-cleaning habits above, chances are you do this as well.

You may want to break this habit, though. Using too much boiling or hot water can cause damage to your sink, floors, slabs, countertops, etc.

For regular sanitation and cleaning, you can use water at room temperature, and it will give the desired results. Use hot water only when a surface is heavily oily or soiled and you know the heat won’t ruin it.

over-cleaning habits
Photo by Toii Scape from Shutterstock

7. Constantly sweeping or wiping surfaces

Next on our list of over-cleaning habits you may want to break is constantly sweeping debris and wiping household surfaces. Instead of getting fluttered by doing this continually, focus on cleaning your home as per a routine.

An option would be to declutter and sanitize in the morning after waking up and then before going to bed. Do necessary household chores like dusting, sweeping, mopping, etc., once a day, and tackle dirty areas whenever spills happen.

Over-cleaning habits can result in swirls and scratches on certain household surfaces and fixtures, and harsh products can erode their upper layers, making them look unpleasant or dull.

The same thing applies to your mirror, too. We’re not saying leave yours to fend for itself for months, but one measly fingerprint may not cause you to reach for the spray bottle. According to cleaning experts, when over-spraying cleaner or moisture from humidity gets behind the mirror, it can remove or damage the backing.


Over-cleaning habits can ruin your house if you’re not aware of them. The irreversible tear and wear means you’ll have to either fix the damage or replace the item altogether. This being said, if you do any of the things mentioned above, it’s time to mend your ways. And keep in mind that more isn’t always better.

If you like our article on over-cleaning habits that are actually ruining your stuff, you may also want to read 8 Household Items NOT to Clean With Baking Soda.

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