Most of us have some bad habits we’ve developed over the years, including those that involve the household – and some we may not even recognize as bad habits. However, certain things you do around the house could actually be damaging, to both your home and your health. Continue reading to learn the worst household habits you need to break, fast!
Originally published on March 9, 2017.
Don’t Forget About Filters
Bottom line: You NEED to get in the habit of checking the filters in household appliances, especially the lint filter in the dryer. Not only does a clogged-up lint filter cause your dryer to operate less efficiently, it’s also a fire hazard that could potentially lead to all that built-up lint catching on fire. And while you’re at it, check the air and water filters in your fridge, the filter in your dishwasher, etc. Here are 18 other important household tasks that will take less than 10 minutes.
Take Off Shoes Inside the House
Leaving your shoes on when you come into the house will not only track outdoor dirt and grime throughout your home, this will also spread bacteria all over the house as well. According to a study undertaken by the University of Arizona, 10 people were given brand-new shoes to wear for two weeks, which were then tested and found to contain more than 400,000 different types of bacteria, including E. coli, various strains of pneumonia and other nasty bugs. They can also be making your allergies worse. Learn about other things in your home that are making your allergies much worse here.
Don’t Slam Doors
Repeatedly slamming a door over time can push the door jamb out of alignment and eventually lead to a gap between the jamb and the trim, allowing moisture and cold air to sneakily enter your home and push your heating costs up.
Cleaning out gutters is one of those jobs that nobody likes but needs to be done. By ignoring those clogged gutters and send water seeping into the cracks and crevices of your homes foundation and, over time, contribute to structural damage that will be costly and complicated to repair. So isn’t it easier to just clean those gutters out instead?
Don’t Clean Grout With Vinegar
There’s no doubt that white vinegar is a household cleaning miracle, a great, non-toxic solution for keeping everything from hardwood floors to windows clean and gleaming. This does not hold true for the grout in kitchen and bathroom tiles, however; in fact, while vinegar will work great for cleaning tiles, the cement-based grout is alkaline-based, and will be dissolved by the acids in vinegar. The result will be yellowing, crumbling grout and, in the long term, a bathroom or kitchen reno you didn’t see coming.
Don’t Over-Strain Closet Rods
Storage is at a premium in many homes, and that’s especially true when it comes to closet space. Yet cramming as many clothes as you can into a closet can put excess weight on closet rods and the brackets that attach them to the wall, and will eventually cause those brackets to pull out of the wall and ruin drywall. Clean out your closet in 10 minutes by tossing out these 14 things.
Pre-moistened supposedly “flush-able” wipes can be handy and hygienic, but it’s that “flush-able” part that’s a bit problematic. That’s because, when flushed, the non-woven fabric in these wipes can wind up becoming congealed with grease and other gunk that will lead to nasty clogs in pipes that will ultimately require an expensive visit from a plumber.
Don’t Store Too Much Stuff Beneath a Deck or Porch
While it may seem tempting to use that space beneath a deck or porch for extra storage, storing too much stuff, packed too tightly, can hamper air circulation. Without proper air circulation, over time the deck’s boards can start to warp, which will ultimately ruin the entire deck.
Don’t Use Oven for “Emergency” Storage
Say you’ve got guests coming over, and in your rush to tidy up, you toss that pile of mail and/or paperwork inside the oven to keep it hidden from view until you have time to better deal with it. Bad idea – imagine you forget you’ve stashed all that paper and then turn the oven on to heat something up, only to watch all that paper turn into a blazing inferno inside the oven. Rule of thumb: your oven is for cooking, nor storage.
Don’t Leave Wet Laundry Sitting
It’s easy to throw a load of laundry in before leaving for work – and then forget about it. When you do remember to toss it in the dryer, all that damp laundry is now moldy, stinky and gross, which will require you to wash it again (possibly more than once) in order to get rid of the nasty smell. This may seem like a no-brainer, but try not to do laundry unless you’re going to be able to move it to the dryer soon after the spin cycle completes, which will prevent clothing from reeking and won’t waste water, detergent, time and energy.
Using a Kitchen Sponge for Too Long
It may seem thrifty to try to squeeze as much cleaning as you can out of that kitchen sponge, even though it’s clearly on borrowed time. But consider this: the longer a sponge remains “on duty,” the more germs and bacteria have been growing on it, meaning that when you think you’re cleaning a countertop all you’re actually doing is smearing said bacteria all over it. Once a sponge starts to look a little funky, toss it in the trash and start using a new one.
Stop Using Bleach Tablets in Toilet Tanks
Those handy bleach tablets for cleaning the inside of a toilet tank may seem like the ideal way to keep things looking clean and fresh, but the truth is that the bleach can make the plastic and rubber parts in the toilet tank’s flushing mechanism prematurely brittle, leading to a greater likelihood they’ll break and require replacement.
Don’t Shut Louvre-Style Heating Vents to Cool a Room
If your home is heated by a forced-air system with louvre-style vents that can be adjusted, if a room feels too hot you may be tempted to simply close the vents. Bad idea: keeping vents closed can result in a pressure imbalance that can push the furnace into overdrive, and could even cause the cooling coil to freeze.
Don’t Hang Clothing On a Doorknob
After picking up dry cleaning, it may seem tempting to hang it on a doorknob before putting the clothing away in its proper place, but this can spell bad news for the door. The weight of the clothing can strain the knob, and possibly even the hinges, and could pull the door out of alignment so it won’t open and close properly.
Don’t Paint Over Rusty Railings
If you’ve got a set of exterior railings that look like this, it would seem that an easy fix would simply be to slap a coat of rust-resistant paint on it. While that will indeed make the railings look pretty, it won’t be for long. Unless all that rust is completely scraped off, the iron oxide in the rust will prevent new paint from grabbing hold, and will soon start flaking off. Better to do it right the first time than have to repaint all those railings all over again.