6 Signs You're Using The Wrong Cleaning Products

And how to find the right ones.

<p> the_burtons/Getty Images</p>

the_burtons/Getty Images

Head to the cleaning area of your local store, and you’ll notice a plethora of products available. Whether you need to clean countertops or toilets, there are multiple options for just about any surface. But sometimes we pick up the wrong bottle (it happens!), or the product we intended to use just doesn’t work the way we thought it would (how disappointing!). But what if you’re not sure? Here are six signs you’re using the wrong cleaning products.

Related: These Are the Cleaning Products Professional Cleaners Actually Prefer

It’s Just Not Getting The Job Done

This might seem obvious, but sometimes we have a lot of blind faith in the products we use, even when they're not delivering results. Are you scrubbing as hard as you can but that grime just won’t come up? This is the number one sign you’re using the wrong cleaning product. This can be an issue if you’re using a gentle, “natural” cleaning product on a major mess according to Logan Taylor, president of The Dazzle Cleaning Company. “I love using some natural cleaners, but as the owner of a cleaning company, I have, at times, found myself in truly horrifying showers,” he explains.

While many of us prefer using “natural” or “non-toxic” cleaning products, sometimes really dirty messes require a dose of the hard stuff. Keep in mind, if you’re trying a new product, Taylor suggests testing a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure it's safe to use on that material.

You're Using Multi-Purpose Cleaners on Literally Everything

Who doesn’t like multi-purpose cleaning spray? After all, it’s usually the right product for cleaning most things. However, multi-purpose spray or concentrate can’t clean absolutely everything. If you’re cleaning certain types of wood furniture, natural stone, or metals such as copper, you need to use something formulated specifically for that surface or potentially risk damaging it. So be sure to consult the label first.

The Product Leaves Residue

Are you cleaning something, and it still looks dirty? Lindsay Droz and Kristi Lord, cofounders of L’Avant Collective, which is a brand of eco-luxury cleaning and laundry products, says, “If you're cleaning windows and notice streaks and residue, it's time to switch to a cleaner that allows the solution to dry effectively without leaving residue behind.”

Alternatively, it could be the right product, but you’re using too much or the wrong type of rag. While many of us use paper towels, a microfiber cloth is a far more effective way to clean most surfaces. Just remember, microfiber cloths don’t last forever and need to be replaced every few years,

Related: 7 Cleaning Mistakes That Always Lead to Streaky Mirrors, According to Pros

You Need To Use Way Too Much Product

Sure, we’ve all had big messes that required using a lot of product, but if you find you’re consistently finishing the bottle faster than you anticipated, it might be the wrong product. It may also just be an ineffective product. So, if you find you need to replace the bottle frequently or significantly more than what’s noted on the label—you may need to swap it out for something else.

You’re Using Wipes Instead Of Spray

Cleaning wipes have become a major trend in recent years, because they’re easy and convenient to use, but they aren’t the best choice for larger messes. “Wipes are convenient for on-the-go cleaning situations compared to sprays, which are usually kept at home. While at home, sprays offer versatility for tackling various messes,” explain Droz and Lord.

They add, “Typically, when dealing with messes larger than a few drops, sprays become especially useful. They provide control over the amount of product used and allow you to select the appropriate cleaning material for the task at hand." Fortunately, many popular cleaning products come in both wipes and sprays.

It’s Impacting Your Health

Many of us are sensitive to cleaning products. Droz and Lord say if your cleaning products are causing health concerns, you’re using the wrong ones. This includes feeling short of breath, causing a rash, or hurting your eyes. Fortunately, with so many gentle (but effective!) products on the market, you’re bound to find something you can comfortably and safely clean with. 

Related: 7 Cleaning Mistakes That Are Wasting Your Time

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