7 Cleaning Products That Will Destroy Your Home If You Use Them Wrong

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Chances are you already have a cleaning routine in place, complete with an arsenal of your favorite cleaning products.

But some of your favorites might be doing more harm than good. Sometimes using a product for a purpose for which it was not intended has an immediate and visible impact. In other cases, it takes longer to notice the damage, and because it happens so slowly, you might not even connect the product to the problem.

We’ve reached out to cleaning experts to identify the culprits destroying your home, so you can avoid costly mistakes.

1. Glass cleaner

Many people use glass to clean more than glass, and if you’re one of them, skip that blue bottle!

“Never use glass cleaner on anything other than glass,” says Omer Reiner, a licensed realtor and president of Florida Cash Home Buyers in Fort Lauderdale. “I’ve heard so many people claim that glass cleaner is an all-purpose cleaner and deodorizer. But the ammonia in glass cleaner can chip many surfaces, including paint. And electronic screens can be damaged by glass cleaner Warm soap and water are much better for cleaning surfaces.

2. Soap and water

“Soap and water is generally pretty safe to use on all products, but actually using it on natural stone tile erases the seal on the tile giving it a shiny look,” says Johnny Pallares, owner of De La Rosa House Cleaning in Phoenix. “Instead, you should use a natural stone cleaner recommended by the manufacturer or contractor who installed the tile.”

Soap and water can also damage hardwood floors.

“Water damages the ground and can deform it”, warns Kevin Huang, home improvement expert and founder and CEO of Ambient Home, headquartered in Columbus, OH. “Soap dulls its shine because it leaves a filmic residue. This residue also creates scratches when walked on and can make the floor slippery.

3. Magic Eraser

Magic Eraser, when deployed correctly, can transform scuffed walls and make them look brand new. But when misused? Destruction.

“There are a number of surfaces you want to avoid using Magic Eraser on,” says Jessica Samson, cleaning expert at Maids.com. “Magic erasers have the abrasiveness of sandpaper up to 3,000 grit. If used on your car’s paint, it will erode your car’s paint. Another surface to avoid is natural stone surfaces. You can also scrape delicate surfaces like marble and granite, nonstick cookware, stainless steel, and anything with a wooden surface.

4. Baking soda

Baking soda is a wallet star when it comes to cleaning. But it is by no means compatible with all fabrics.

“Baking soda is a staple in my cleaning toolbox,” says Lorraine Daisy Resuello, Marketing Director of Connection CoPilot in Delaware. “It’s natural and effective for removing stains, and it’s so inexpensive. But using it incorrectly does more harm than good. Baking soda has a higher pH than a lemon – around 8.3 versus 3 for lemon. Powerfully removes stains but can destroy silk, wool and cashmere, which are frequently found in throws, bedding and clothing.

Resuello recommends testing the fabrics to avoid the tears she suffered after destroying her red silk cushions.

“To be safe, dilute the baking soda with plenty of water,” she says.

5. Liquid Unblocker

The drain cleaner will blow away grease, hair, sludge and more. But it can also annihilate unintended targets.

“Liquid drain cleaners contain strong chemicals that can dissolve food, solidified grease and other organic matter,” says Sharon Dylan, co-founder and career coach of Management Help in Austin, TX. “When my kitchen sink got clogged from food and oil spilling into it, I bought a drain cleaner. I wanted to get rid of the cork quickly, so I poured the whole bottle down the sink.

A few hours later, she heard a crashing noise. When she entered the kitchen, she saw that the pipes under the sink had cracked and broken.

“Looking at the instructions, it said to initially pour half of the contents down the sink,” she says. “I learned the hard way that drain cleaner can actually dissolve the pipes if you use too much of it.”

6. The wrong suction head

Vacuum cleaners are useful for cleaning your home thanks to the range of tools they contain. But using your crevice tool when you should be using your extension wand could mean the death of your floors.

“When you clean hardwood floors, if you don’t use a vacuum head with a brush, you leave your hardwood floors susceptible to deep scratches,” explains the operations manager. Adrian Aziz at MaidForYou. “This is a common error that we see in customers’ homes. They don’t know which attachments to use for the vacuum cleaner, and some have damaged their hardwood floors beyond repair.

7. Oven cleaner

Oven cleaners can turn dirty, grimy ovens into gleaming gourmet temples. But the chemicals that zap cooked food and grease can also wreak havoc around the house.

“Oven cleaner is extremely corrosive, and I’ve seen it destroy everything from kitchen floors to countertops,” Aziz says. “One of my professional cleaners cleaned the oven racks with a protective blanket, then rinsed off the cleaner and placed the racks on the counter, only to come back to a destroyed counter.”

In the end, the counter had to be replaced. Aziz says she’s even seen a particularly strong cleaner damage the finish inside the oven.

It’s amazing how some of your favorite cleaning tools, even good old fashioned soap and water, can make some gross and dirty spaces sparkling clean while wrecking others. Keep the above cheat sheet in mind to avoid your own housekeeping crises and always read the label directions of cleaning tools and chemicals before using them.

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