7 bad cleaning habits cleaners urge you to break now

These bad cleaning habits are only making your home dirtier, experts warn – here’s what to do instead

All natural cleaning products on a table
(Image credit: Getty Images)

With so many things to clean and so many ways to do it, it is easy to fall into some bad cleaning habits without even realizing it – but there are several bad cleaning habits you need to break if you want a hygienic home, experts warn. 

Whether you picked up some cleaning tips online and they just aren't up to scratch, or you were never too sure what to do in the first place, these seven bad cleaning habits are easy to pick up without realizing.

Luckily, they are also all simple to fix – here’s what the experts do instead.

Bad cleaning habits you need to break

When breaking your bad cleaning habits, it is also good to consider things professional organizers urge you to stop doing too for a truly clean home. 

1. Using just one cleaner for the whole bathroom

Amber Lewis for Anthropologie Single Bathroom Vanity

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

When cleaning a bathroom, we might think that picking out the strongest bacteria-killing cleaner and using that everywhere is a safe bet (and makes the tedious task go by quicker), but Kimberly Gonzales, natural cleaning and organizing expert, and product inventor at PÜR Evergreen, warns it could be doing more harm than good: 

‘One of the biggest mistakes I see is toilet bowl cleaner being used in the showers. That is a huge no,’ she stresses.

‘Not only are you putting a strong product in an area that you will stand or take a shower in but it's also about the toxic chemicals you are absorbing. Secondly, toilet bowl cleaner is only for toilets. It can damage stone and the surface of tubs and showers.’

Instead, it is far better to use natural cleaners for the rest of the room, such as cleaning with vinegar.

If you feel more comfortable using a commercial bathroom cleaner for showers and sinks, we recommend eco-friendly products such as Method's bathroom cleaner from Target to avoid toxic chemicals. 

2. Having too many cleaning products

Close up of soap, jar of brushes and hand wash on a windowsill in front of a leaded window.

(Image credit: Polly Eltes)

That being said, you should never hoard every type of cleaning product under the sun either, Kimberly Gonzales, natural cleaning expert, continues.

‘The average home has between five and 15 different cleaning products under their sink. That is a lot of products,’ she explains. ‘More often than not, with the exception of specific areas of the home such as cleaning the toilet when dedicated cleaners are essential, keeping it simple is key to cleaning without getting overwhelmed.’ 

Editing your collection helps when organizing cleaning supplies, too.

3. Not pre-sorting laundry loads

A large wicker laundry basket with a removeable lid in the doorway of a country bathroom

(Image credit: Anbôise)

Doing laundry is tiresome enough as it is without accidental color bleeding between items or having to sort through a huge pile of clothing just to get one load on. Maria Mooney, brand director, and cleaning expert at Truly Free, is urging us to leave the bad habit of not pre-sorting laundry behind in favor of a more relaxed laundry routine:

‘A common mistake with washing clothes is not separating them. Sorting laundry helps prevent you from accidentally mixing colors, which can allow dye transfer to occur. 

‘Not to mention sorting based on materials, like dry-fit, is essential to ensure those fabrics don’t get washed in hot water, put into the dryer, or washed with fabric softener, which would ruin the material.’

3-Bag Laundry Sorter Cart | $66.67 at Amazon

3-Bag Laundry Sorter Cart | $66.67 at Amazon
These laundry hampers split bags help to separate different loads in advance, and they lift out, making it easier to take laundry to the machine in one go.

Maria Mooney
Maria Mooney

Truly Free has been a leading producer of eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products for family homes for over six years.

4. Not cleaning your cleaning tools

cleaning butcher block counters

(Image credit: Getty Images)

There are several forgotten dirt spots in our homes, but one of the most overlooked is our cleaning tools themselves, points out Lina DaSilva, cleaning expert and founder of Toronto Shine Cleaning.

‘Many overlook the cleanliness of their cleaning tools. Dirty mops, cloths, and brushes can spread dirt and bacteria rather than removing them.

‘It is simple to fix – regularly wash and replace cleaning tools and materials to ensure they are as effective as possible. As for washing microfiber cloths, wash them separately and without fabric softener to maintain their quality and efficacy.’ 

5. Using too much cleaning product in one area

Bathroom detail assorted cleaning products scubbing hand brush lint free cloths bottles various cleaners sprays detergents tap cleaner

(Image credit: Lizzie Orme)

Social media cleaning influencers may have us believe that more product equals a cleaner surface, but this is yet another cleaning hack to avoid that is not only pointless but costing you money too, Lina DaSilva, cleaning expert continues:

‘It’s a common misconception that using more products means a cleaner home. However, this habit can lead to residue buildup and an unhealthy indoor environment.

‘It is important that you check the manufacturer's instructions to gauge how much to use instead. Use the right quantities and focus on efficient cleaning techniques that prioritize the quality of cleaning over the quantity of product used.’

6. Not washing bathroom towels enough

Best bath towels cut out images bath towels stacked

(Image credit: Brooklinen)

Another bad cleaning habit we need to break is not washing towels enough – or correctly, says Maria Mooney, a cleaning expert.

‘The frequency of washing bathroom towels might not be top of mind for some, however, you should wash bath towels after every use, or every three uses for a smaller towel. That's right – towels can harbor bacteria and germs, so washing them soon after you use them to avoid any potential health risks is important.

‘Finding the right products that work best on both light and dark-colored towels will make life easier. Use a non-toxic laundry detergent, like Truly Free's Laundry Wash, available at Amazon. It is a great way to make towels smell fresh again, too.’ 

7. Not keeping a consistent cleaning schedule

Cleaning supplies

(Image credit: Future Publishing Ltd)

Cleaning is a constant uphill battle, and to win and keep your home hygienic, you need to clean little and often to stay on top of dirt and grime. One of the worst cleaning habits is not having a cleaning schedule to keep track of, says Lina DaSilva, a cleaning expert.

‘An irregular cleaning schedule can lead to the accumulation of dirt, making cleaning more daunting and less effective. Establish a regular cleaning routine, dividing tasks over the week to make them manageable and ensure every part of the home gets the attention it deserves.’


How do I change my bad cleaning habits?

One of the best ways to change your bad cleaning habits is to recognize the mistakes you are making and make a plan to change them. This could mean creating a cleaning plan with all the rectified cleaning tips and habits written down, and buying the right products you need for each task before you start to make sure you have everything in order. 

This way you will be starting off your new, better habits, on the right foot. Rewarding yourself with something small after each completed task will also help to reinforce the new habits. 

Why is my house always dirty?

Your house may always look or feel dirty because you are not using the correct products in the right ways when actually cleaning. Bad cleaning habits such as these will usually make your home feel worse over time as tasks are not completed properly. 

Fixing this is often simply a matter of making a cleaning plan and implementing better habits through that plan. Repeating as needed until the positive habits stick and don’t feel like an effort.

When it comes to creating better cleaning habits for yourself, it can help to try out some cleaner-endorsed cleaning hacks, such as the different day, different room housekeeping schedule to stay on top of your chores and focus better on changing the smaller individual tasks for each space. Repeat as needed, and the habits will eventually stick and turn into routine.

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.