Large wooden kitchen island in front of chalk board

Spring Cleaning on a Budget: 3 Things to Stop Doing Now

Vinegar isn’t the be-all it pretends to be. Nor is lemon.

Image: Julie Kruger, photo/ Lokahi Home Designs, design

Hello, March — and spring cleaning season!

Save time and money by putting a stop to these three cleaning habits that might be costing you.

#1 Stop Using Vinegar on Wood and Stone

From windows to laundry, vinegar is an eco-friendly cleaning powerhouse. But it’s also an acid that can damage stone and wood. When cleaning your granite or marble countertops, use mild soap and warm water instead. It’d be a shame to ruin your carefully-chosen kitchen materials.

And only clean floors and furniture with made-for-wood cleaners.

#2 Don't Use Lemon in the Disposal

Water running in white sink with lemons in garbage disposal. Image: Anne Arntson for HouseLogic

While you may have heard running a lemon through your disposal will clean the blades, think twice before trusting that tip. It may indeed clean the appliance, but lemon’s citric acid can also corrode the metal, while the peel can damage grinders and clog pipes.

Instead, turn on the water, run the disposal, and dump in a couple of trays of ice cubes. It’s loud but effective.

Related: DIY Cleaners That Are Safe to Use

#3 Stop Using Hot Water in the Washer

Cabinets opened to reveal washing machine and supplies Image: @lkathome

This is one time you shouldn’t listen to grandma. Today’s laundry detergents clean more efficiently than ever in cold water.

Even though it might feel strange, winter’s much-used blankets will get just as clean on the cold setting — and you’ll save money on utilities, too.

Caveat: When a family member is sick, or you’re washing dirty cloth diapers (or other nasty messes), then listen to grandma. Use hot water mixed with chlorine bleach to kill all that icky bacteria.

Purple flower peaking through snow against blue sky

More in Deep Cleaning Tips Just in Time for Spring

See the full spotlight