While the nation continues to keep safe by staying indoors, many people have taken the opportunity to do some much needed upkeep to their homes.
However, if you’re embarking on a deep clean, you could be unknowingly making some germ-spreading cleaning mistakes, or even mixing dangerous chemicals together, according to a survey conducted by OnBuy.com.
Here’s what to avoid.
Household chemicals that should never be mixed
Bleach and ammonia
This mix creates toxic vapour, which causes burning eyes and respiratory problems and organ damage. Not only that, if there's enough ammonia in the mixture it will create the highly explosive toxic substance.
Some cleaning products contain bleach while some contain ammonia, so it's always best to check the labels before mixing two products together.
Bleach with rubbing alcohol
This concoction creates a substance so toxic that when it's breathed in, it can knock you out or potentially kill you if you inhale too much.The mix will create chloroform and hydrochloric acid, alongside chloroacetone or dichloroacetone.
These compounds are known to seriously damage the nervous system, lungs, kidneys, liver, eyes, and skin.
Bleach and vinegar or lemon juice
When mixed, these substances create a toxic chlorine gas, which causes chemical burns on the skin, and attacks the respiratory system.
If the gas reaches a high level of concentration, such as in an unventilated room, it can even cause death, and it has previously been used in chemical warfare.
The most common cleaning mistakes
Not thoroughly cleaning the vacuum every few weeks
Everyone uses a vacuum to avoid a buildup of dust or dirt in their house, which can be harmful to breathe in.
However, no matter the brand or age, all vacuums pollute the air in your home with an array of bacteria, dust and allergens, according to a 2012 study published in the journal of Environmental Science & Technology.
To prevent this, regular cleaning is required.
Just over a tenth (11 per cent) of survey respondents have cleaned their vacuum cleaner before, and only two per cent of those clean it every few weeks, as recommended.
Never vacuuming the mattress
Additionally, regular vacuuming of your mattress will help keep dust mites at bay since mattresses are filled with dead skin cells - a dust mite’s favourite food.
A dust mite infestation can cause allergy symptoms like a runny nose and swollen eyes, and aggravate asthma
In the bedroom, 96 per cent of respondents said they had never hoovered their mattress, and just 15 per cent wash bedding weekly.
Not replacing the kitchen dish cloth or sponge every three days
Kitchen sponges and dishcloths are a breeding ground for bacteria, because they tend to be used to clean everything in a kitchen, from surfaces that have touched raw meat, to cutlery and cooking utensils.
This can lead to food poisoning through cross-contamination.
According to the survey, just three per cent of homeowners change their kitchen dishcloth every few days, with almost a quarter (23 per cent) admitting to replacing it just once a month.
More than half (59 per cent) said they only replaced it when it fell apart.