7 ways you might be over-cleaning your home – according to the experts

This much cleaning might be overdoing it, professionals say

A set of natural cleaning supplies in a basket on a kitchen kitchen island
(Image credit: Getty Images)

This might be the best news you hear this week, but it is entirely possible to ‘over clean’ your home – and professionals are recommending that we take a step back from some of our chores to avoid causing damage.

With the rise of clean-fluencers on social media and an onslaught of different cleaning tips and hacks coming at us from all sides, it can sometimes feel like we need to maintain a clinical space through constant cleaning. More often than not, however, we are simply wasting time and energy.

This is what you should be cutting back on from your chore list, and why overdoing it could be doing undue damage to your home.

7 ways you might be over-cleaning your home  

Over-cleaning certain spots and neglecting the 10 most forgotten cleaning dirt spots could make your cleaning routine take loner than necessary.

This is what you need to cut back on, for the sake of your home and your sanity.

1. Doing laundry too frequently

Laundry baskets

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Very few of us love doing laundry, so it can be a relief to hear the experts tell us to tone it down – but they are doing so for good reason. It turns out washing your clothes after every wear could be damaging the fibers, shortening their life span, and overusing your washing machine, Karina Toner, operations manager and cleaning expert at Spekless Cleaning, warns.

‘Repeatedly washing clothes, linens, and towels after just one use can waste water, energy, and laundry detergent, while also contributing to faster wear and tear on fabrics. This can lead to fading, thinning, and pilling, reducing the lifespan of your clothing and linens,’ she explains.

‘In many cases, clothes and linens may not require washing after every use. Items like jeans, sweaters, and pajamas can often be worn multiple times before needing a wash, as long as they are not visibly soiled or odorous.

‘To address these issues, consider spot cleaning instead of a full wash. Make sure to hang clothes and linens outside or in a well-ventilated area to air out between wears.’

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Karina Toner
Karina Toner

Karina is the Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning, a trusted maid service based in Washington D.C. The team has over five years of experience providing top-quality cleaning services for both residential and commercial clients. Karina oversees every aspect of the business, ensuring that every client gets the same top-notch service and a spotless clean every time.

It is not just how often we do our laundry that is having a negative impact either, adds Elizabeth Shields, operations manager at Super Cleaning Service, Louisville. We can easily unknowingly over-clean by using too much laundry detergent in a wash too, even if we only run a cycle once a week. 

While we shouldn't wash clothes without detergent, ‘extra detergent can make a ton of suds that mess with your washing machine and leave a soapy residue on your clothes, she says. ‘Plus, it's not great for the environment. Stick to the detergent guidelines on the bottle, you don't need any extra to help clean.’  

2. Committing to too many deep cleans

Corner of kitchen with bar stools at marble island

(Image credit: Nicole Hirsch)

Deep cleaning can sound satisfying, but it takes a serious amount of time and effort to do properly and, most of the time, it isn't needed, says Ryan Knoll, cleaning expert and owner of Tidy Casa.

‘Excessive deep cleaning keeps your areas clean but doing this too frequently will use a lot of cleaning chemicals and can lead to the degradation of the surfaces you are cleaning,’ he advises. ‘You also don’t need to clean under furniture constantly. Instead, pull out your furniture once every six months to vacuum up any dirt and dust accumulated underneath.’ 

Unless you are cleaning a new home before moving in, doing a deep clean more than once a month is usually overkill.  

Ryan Knoll
Ryan Knoll

Ryan Knoll is the CEO and founder of Tidy Casa, a cleaning service that now spans multiple states across the US.

3. Shampooing your carpets more than once a year

Someone vacuuming the carpet

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Speaking of deep cleaning, deep cleaning carpets is one of the most overdone tasks in a home, professionals say. Although it is nice to have clean floors, washing too much can actually make your carpets and rugs dirtier, encouraging the growth of mold or mildew. 

‘Instead of going overboard with the shampoo, it's smarter to give your carpets a proper deep clean every year or so,’ suggests Elizabeth Shields, cleaning expert. ‘Knowing how often to vacuum for your flooring type, and how to vacuum correctly is more important and more practical than deep cleaning.’ 

4. Rinsing dishes before using the dishwasher

Kitchen sink and window with green cabinets

(Image credit: Roundhouse)

There is perhaps no device in a home more contested than the dishwasher, and there are plenty of dishwasher mistakes we make on the regular, but experts have finally declared that there is no need to rinse the dishes before loading them in.

‘Modern dishwashers are designed to handle food remnants and pre-rinsing might be an extra step we've grown accustomed to,’ begins Angela Rubin of Hellamaid. ‘Instead of rinsing dishes before loading, scraping off excess food and placing them directly in the dishwasher can save water and time without compromising cleanliness.’ 

5. Disinfecting every surface in your home

Modern white living room with cream sofa, nest of tables, sculptural ceiling light, kitchen in background

(Image credit: Ginny Macdonald Design, photography by Raquel Langworthy)

After the pandemic, there has been a drastic increase in how often we disinfect the surfaces in our homes – even down to the smallest details such as door handles and television remotes. However, there comes a point where too much disinfectant makes the problem worse, cautions Elizabeth Shields, a cleaning expert.

‘Abusing these sprays too much might actually make some germs stronger like they're learning to resist the sprays. This can be a problem because it might make regular treatments less effective. So, while these sprays have their moments, it's important to use them wisely and not too often, opt for a multi-purpose spray or degreaser instead if you must.’ 

6. Dusting daily

hallway with archway and bookshelves

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Removing dust from a home has become a new goal of many cleaning-obsessed, but dusting daily, or even more than once a week is wasting your precious time, says Ryan Knoll, cleaning expert.

‘Yes, dust is unpleasant to look at and can hold bacteria and mold but when you dust every day there isn’t really a lot to pick up.’

Instead, Ryan recommends leaving your dusting to once a week to allow a little more to build up without it becoming excessive. This will help to save you time, energy, and money on cleaning supplies. 

If you are concerned about dust because of allergies, it is a good idea to consider an air purifier to help tide you over in the meantime.  

7. Decluttering excessively

Minimalist white bedroom

(Image credit: Renee Kemps)

Don’t get us wrong, we love decluttering, but doing it too much or obsessing over having everything tucked away is often counterintuitive and can lead to undue stress and anxiety – not so much damaging your home, but your mental health. 

‘There is certainly a pressure nowadays to maintain an unrealistic level of tidiness, and this can be very overwhelming,’ cleaning expert Karina Toner reflects. ‘Focusing solely on the removal of clutter can detract from the enjoyment of your living space. Balancing a clean and organized living environment with the reality of daily life is essential for overall well-being. 

‘Prioritizing a comfortable and functional space over an immaculate one can lead to a healthier and more enjoyable living experience.’

FAQs

How many hours a day should you spend cleaning your house?

You should not be spending any more than half an hour cleaning your house if you clean it every day. Spending more time than this suggests that you are cleaning the same areas too many times a week, not cleaning efficiently, or wasting energy cleaning something that doesn't need to be cleaned in the first place.  

What is it called when you clean too much?

If you clean your house excessively and find it anxiety-inducing not being able to clean, then you may have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD. This is a medical condition that needs to be fully diagnosed by a medical professional but can result in feelings of dread or severe anxiety if you are unable to keep your space under your complete control. 


It is important to remember that there are some spaces in our homes that do still need regular cleaning to keep them safe – cleaning kitchens and cleaning bathrooms, for instance, should be done weekly, as should washing bed sheets. These tasks help to keep you and your home healthy. 

Chiana Dickson
Writer

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, 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.