Hello, March — and spring cleaning season!
Save time and money and stay safe by putting a stop to these four 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 clean floors and furniture with only cleaners made for wood.
#2 Don't Use Lemon in the Disposal
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, and a great way to spring clean on a budget.
Related: DIY Cleaners That Are Safe to Use
#3 Stop Using Hot Water in the Washer
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 seem unlikely, winter's much-used blankets will get just as clean on the cold setting — and you'll save money on utilities, too.
Exceptions: 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.
#4 Don't Mix Bleach With Other Cleaning Agents
Bleach doesn't play well with other cleaning agents, so don't layer or create a custom blend with bleach and ammonia, hydrogen peroxide, acids, or other cleaners, says the Washington State Department of Health. The combo creates toxic chloramine gas, which can irritate eyes, nose, and throat, and even lead to death.