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Whenever you are cleaning something in your home, the goal is to leave the area in better condition than how you found it. Most times, these chores are straightforward tasks with a very low probability for anything to go wrong. Unfortunately, several of the techniques that many of us learned as children can actually do more harm than good. Here are five common cleaning mistakes that damage your home.

Dirty Sponges

Sponges are a great tool for efficiently cleaning the dishes in the kitchen sink, but they can quickly become a health concern if not properly treated. Sponges do an efficient job of soaking things up, including harmful bacteria. If you use a sponge to wipe other surfaces, you may be helping to spread the bacteria, which can lead to many types of illnesses.

Mopping Wood Flooring

Water exposure can wreak havoc on wood, including the flooring found in many homes. Moisture causes warping and discoloration in wood, so it’s essential to avoid exposure whenever possible. Instead of wet mopping, try using a specialty cleaner designed for hardwood flooring.

Mixing Cleaning Products

Mixing cleaning products is rarely a good idea, especially when one of the cleaners contains bleach. Many cleaning products contain ammonia that, when combined with bleach, creates chlorine gas. Laundry detergent or tiny amounts of dish soap are the only cleaning products you should ever consider mixing with bleach.

Scrubbing Stains on Furniture

One of the biggest furniture cleaning mistakes many homeowners make on upholstered sofas and sectionals is trying to scrub out a stain. Scrubbing will not only set the stain deeper into the fabric, but it also spreads the stain around, making it more prominent. Try blotting the area instead, and only use stain remover if absolutely necessary.

Dirty Dryer Lint Screen

The last of our cleaning mistakes that damage your home is a failure to clean the lint trap. From a practical standpoint, leaving this undone makes your clothes take longer to try. From a safety perspective, leaving lint sitting in the dryer can lead to a house fire. Always pull and clean the lint trap after each load of laundry to help protect your family from harm.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.