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Be water wise

Be water wise
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Even though water is much more plentiful (and cheaper) than any cleaning product you can buy at the store, it shouldn’t always be your go-to when you need to scrub down every surface in your home. Sometimes it does more damage than good and you need to use cleaning products meant for specific finishes or surfaces. Read on to find out what you should never clean with water.

Velvet

Velvet
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You should never use water to clean velvet or other fuzzy fabrics such as suede or microfibre. “When the fibres on these fabrics get wet and then dry, they can get stuck in their new position,” says Laura Smith, owner of All Star Cleaning Services. “This could mean you will have a swipe pattern permanently on our furniture as a result.” Smith recommends hiring a professional cleaner for fuzzy fabrics. They will clean it but also use a special brush to make sure the material looks good as new.

Hardwood and laminate floors

Hardwood and laminate floors
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Even though there is a water-resistant finish on hardwood and laminate floors, it wears off over time, and cleaning them with water could cause damage. If water gets into the wood it can cause it to swell and turn black. “The proper way to clean a wood or laminate floor is to use a flat microfibre mop and spray-on cleaning solution with a spray bottle a little bit at a time,” says Smith. “Most flooring manufacturers make specific recommendations on which product they recommend on their flooring.”

These are 11 things you should never clean with baking soda.

Wooden instruments

Wooden instruments
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Musical instruments can be tricky to clean because they are made from lots of different materials. But similar to how wood floors can get damaged if cleaned with water, wooden instruments can as well. Tyler Harris, who runs a luxury residential cleaning company, says that cleaning your wooden instruments with water can cause areas of discoloration and splits and cracks in the wood. Harris says that you should only be using cleaners made for musical instruments.

Electronics

Electronics
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This should already be known, but electricity and water do not mix. “For the most part, you should only dry dust electronics,” says Smith. “If you do have to clean something that will not come off with a dry cloth, get your cleaning cloth just slightly damp with a light-duty cleaning product then clean the electronics. Never spray any liquid directly onto electronics.” If cleaning them with a damp cloth makes you nervous, there are wipes and cleaning sprays designed specifically for electronics.

Silver

Silver
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If you try to clean your tarnished silver with water, it will just create more tarnish. The best thing you can do is use silver polish, says Kathy Turley, Director of Marketing at Home Clean Heroes. If you don’t have silver polish around, Turley recommends using tomato sauce. “The mild acidity of ketchup will help get rid of the tarnish,” she says. Let your silver soak in tomato sauce for 5-10 minutes, rinse off the ketchup with water, and buff with a cloth. “Why is it safe to use the water later in the step? Because you are rinsing the ketchup off and already gotten rid of the tarnish,” explains Turley.

Here are 10 things you should be cleaning every day from now on. 

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Contact lenses

Contact lenses
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This might seem like an obvious item that you shouldn’t clean with water, but a surprising number of people think it’s OK to store their contact lenses in water overnight. “The proper contact lens cleaning solutions all have antimicrobial ingredients that discourage bacterial growth. A contact lens stored in water may have a small amount of bacteria on its surface after a day of use,” says Jonathan Wolfe, an optometrist. “The water only encourages this bacteria to multiply, and when the patient inserts the lens again the following day, that colony of bacteria is given the opportunity to move onto the cornea and cause ulceration.” Also, tap water is not sterile like contact solution and it could contain bacteria, fungi, or parasites that will make their way onto your contact lens if you let them soak in water.

Learn these 36 habits that can save your eyesight.

Light fixtures and outlets

Light fixtures and outlets
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“This might be a no brainer, but using a wet cloth to clean an outlet cover or light fixtures can lead to risk of electrocution or fire,” says Nasutsa Mabwa, president of ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons. “Instead, use a dry duster or dry cloth to clean outlet covers and light fixtures, or unplug the light fixture before attempting to clean it.”

Brick

Brick
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Surfaces that are porous, such as brick, have a protective sealant, and when cleaned with water it can be removed or damaged, says Harris. He recommends using a soft brush to wipe away grime and then cleaning with a soft cloth.

Learn what you should never be cleaning with paper towels. 

Silk

Silk
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“Using water on silk, whether it’s your curtains or a shirt, can cause water spots and permanent discoloration,” says Turley. “Better leave it to the professionals, like your neighbourhood dry cleaner.”

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