7 Things You Didn’t Know You Cleaned Too Often

things you clean too much

When it comes to keeping our homes clean, there are a lot of things we could all probably stand to clean more often, like throw blankets, filters, and other items that suffer from being out of sight and out of mind. But in today’s post, we’ll be exploring the opposite end of the spectrum, because there are also things around the house you could be cleaning too often!

Can things really be too clean? The answer is more complicated than you’d think. Technically, cleanliness itself isn’t the issue—it’s the act of cleaning than can do harm. When done too often, washing, wiping, scrubbing, and spraying can shorten the lifespan of your things, and that’s not ideal if you want them to last!

So today I’ll be sharing 7 things that people commonly clean too much or too often. You’ll find out why it’s harmful, and learn how often you should clean each item to ensure it has a good, long life!

7 Things You Can Clean Too Often (And Why It’s Harmful)

things you clean too much

1. Bathroom Mirror

Bathroom mirrors are subjected to a lot of humidity, both from general steaminess and frequent cleanings. If your mirror is exposed to too much humidity, the moisture can get behind the mirror and damage the backing. So it’s wise to clean your bathroom mirror on an as-needed basis to avoid doing moisture damage!

things you clean too much

2. Carpet

If you use foaming carpet cleaners frequently on spills and stains, you may be doing more harm than good. The problem with really foamy cleaners is that it’s hard to rinse them out of your carpet, which can leave behind soapy residue that ends up attracting more dirt.

Instead, use carpet cleaning products only as needed, and make sure to blot the area thoroughly with a clean, wet cloth to remove any residue afterward. For simple carpet cleaning tips, read the post below.

Related: Here’s How To Remove The Most Dreaded Carpet Stains

things you clean too much

3. Wood Furniture

Cleaning products that are formulated for use on wood to can help keep your furniture nice and shiny. But if you use these cleaners too often, it can lead to greasy buildup that attracts dust and dirt. Instead, use special wood cleaners just once or twice a month—for everyday cleaning, wipe down your furniture with a damp microfiber cloth.

Related: How To Make A Cheap, All-Natural Dusting Spray

things you clean too much

4. Jeans

With as tricky as it is to find the perfect pair of jeans, it only makes sense to make them last as long as possible, and the best way to do that is by washing them infrequently. Some say once a month is fine, but makers of raw denim recommend waiting up to six months between washes.

To keep your jeans fresh between washes, you can stick them in your freezer overnight to kill bacteria. You can also make a simple “freshening” spray with 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol, 1/4 cup of water, and 3 drops of lavender essential oil. Shake the ingredients up in a small spray bottle, and spritz your jeans every few wears to keep them smelling fresh.

things you clean too much

5. Bras

Bras are another clothing item that wear out quickly when washed frequently, so try to wear a bra 3-4 times before washing it to help extend its life. And when you do wash it, always zip it into a mesh laundry bag first, and wash on the gentlest possible cycle. And don’t forget—hang dry only!

Related: This Brand Makes The Most Comfortable Bras Ever

things you clean too much

6. Your Hair

Shampooing hair doesn’t just remove excess oil from your hair and scalp—it removes all the oil! Your hair and scalp produce oils for a reason, and stripping them out by shampooing every day can really take a toll on your hair.

The only reason to shampoo your hair every day is if you have very fine hair, very oily hair, or if you sweat a lot. Everyone else is better off washing their hair just 2-3 times per week. (And those with very thick or very curly hair may want to shampoo even less frequently!)

things you clean too much

7. Your Car

Keeping the outside of your car clean is important, but it’s easy to overdo it. Every time you wash your car, you wash away some of the waxy outer layer that helps protect your car’s paint job, and once it’s gone, your paint job is even more vulnerable. It can even result in “spiderwebbing,” or small, web-like cracks in your paint.

Instead, scale back to washing your car once or twice a month, and get your car re-waxed at least once a year to ensure your paint job is protected.

What’s your best tip for making something last as long as possible?

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Homekeeping Tips

  • When my Mom could no longer stand on her own, she was scared to take a shower by herself, even though there were safety bars and a shower seat. She said she felt disgusting and thought that she smelled. She came from a household of 6 girls, and everyone took a bath right before bed. Each and every night. I finally tracked down extra large lavender body wipes. I stared using them when the pandemic hit, and I was forced to work from home. It didn’t make much sense to take a shower every day when I’m not leaving the house. Like so many others, I thought I HAD to shower every day. Turns out that isn’t true unless you have a medical condition or your job forces you to sweat a lot or be around grease and dirt. You could probably make your own, Jillee, and that would be a great article :)

  • Just a suggestion for washing your car. The best and easiest to use product to protect your cars finish is Lucas Slick Mist. Initially, wash your car thoroughly, then just spray the Slick mist on a section at a time , use a microfiber cloth to spread it over the entire section, then a dry microfiber cloth to finish shining it up. Also works extremely well on glass, where it works like Rain-X to bead water and allow it to simply blow right off while driving. Once applied, not only is it easier to wash the vehicle, but bugs clean off far easier, even after being baked on by the sun. You can also do quick touch-ups to remove dust and bugs by simply spraying the area with the mist and wiping with a clean microfiber. This is, hands down, the easiest and fastest way to protect the cars finish.

  • Here is a way to keep the skins of garlic and onion from making a mess of your kitchen. Read to put cloves of garlic in a bowl of water, place in refrigerator over night or a few hours and they will be easy to peel. Take an onion skin and all, place in a bowl of water or under the fauset, makes
    peeling off skin easier without it flying around counter.

  • As for preserving demim, get rid of a washing machine that has an agitator in it. The agitators beat the daylights out of denim and anything else you put into the machine, drastically shortening the life of your clothes. Many of us don’t have the luxury of “sticking our denim in the freezer” to freshen them as we actually work in them, which makes it necessary to launder them frequently. Next time you’re in the market for a new washer, do yourself (and your clothes) a favor and buy a good front loader. And if you get the largest capacity you can find (in our case an LG pair), Larger capacity = fewer loads.We’re even be able to do king size spreads and comfortors in them, so no more trips to the (ususlly nasty) commercial laundromats in town spring and fall to do them. And as an added bonus, they use far less water to get the job done. They also spin more water out of the laundy during the final spin, so clothes come out in a much dryer state, which also saves time in the dryer.

  • I only wash my denim jeans after several wearings. Because they do stretch out and look worn after wearing just once, I have a quick in-between fix. Clip the leg bottoms to a skirt hanger, so the pants are hanging upside down. Then as my shower water is heating up, I put the pants in the water and completely drench them. With my hands I can smooth down the wrinkles. I hang the wet pants in the shower to drip dry. Once dry they are like clean and new, but without the damage of the washing machine or the dryer.
    This also works great for dress pants, for a clean, just ironed look.

  • I hate carpet shampoo residue, so I just spray a cleaner lightly on my carpet, a little heavier on stains (with several cats, we have lots of stains), let it set for a moment, then use water only in the machine to clean and rinse. It seems to work fairly well. For really bad set-in stains, I use a diluted hydrogen-peroxide disinfectant in a deep-clean spot machine. I’d love to hear about other methods.

  • JILLEE!!! – Here’s a good question… what about our bodies? I mean we once or even twice daily shower people in the U.S. usually compare ourselves with the “dirty” French society which does not bathe as often. How often is the average? I don’t know. But I know my foreign exchange girl from back in high school used to never shower it seemed and she would wear tons of perfume instead. Drove me insane. But hey, now that I’m older and I don’t go out as much due to a disability, I find myself wanting to shower less and less often! I don’t go to the gym or get all sweaty, but I do need to shave my legs (I’m a hairy gal!” So what is best? Do I wait until I can clearly smell myself (sounds too long) or what? I would like a routine. How many days between baths do I need? I want to be clean, not smelly, but low maintenance! Yes, I live in an apartment where the shower is something that could possibly kill me the way it’s constructed so I do baths. Now that I cut my hair shorter, I just wash my face first, then hair, then exfoliate my body, then shave my legs and armpits. How often should I do this Jilly? Anyone else want to chime in? I’m curious what others think, especially the logical ones out there! LOL!

    • When I worked, I’d shower every weekday morning, but now that I’m retired, I never shower more than every other day, usually on my exercise days, and I skip another day or two when I don’t exercise, using baby wipes as needed. I don’t go out every day, so it seems wasteful to shower when I don’t. That’s what works for me.

      • Every other day works for me unless I do something to get sweaty or dirty. I highly recommend using a washcloth rather than baby wipes though. Single use products are a waste of money and harmful to the environment.

    • So into low-maintenance! I love to read in the bathtub…every other day works for me, sometimes every 2 days, then hair gets too limp. If you can afford to, consider laser hair removal, and follow up with electrolysis, and you can minimize shaving, or even stop having to. I started this process about 14 years ago (it does take a few years and can get expensive), but it is so worth it. Good anti-perspirant, and baby wipes can help get you thru a no-bath day. All the best!

  • I agree with everything except the bras. I live in s very hot climate (think 120 degrees as normal in the summer). I tend to sweat a lot. So at least in the summer I do tend to launder them more ofren.

  • I think these are really good tips for the most part, I would argue with the instructions to dry a bra by hanging it to dry. Hanging a bra to dry causes the straps to stretch, so it is usually recommended to do up the band and lay the bra on a flat surface to dry it in its natural shape, preventing stretch from the weight of it being wet when you hang it.

    • I hang mine by the side of the cup, not the strap. It hasn’t stretched them out oddly in any way. I may wear mine twice in the winter, but have to was after one wear otherwise, as I come home sweaty from work.

  • Thank you, Jillee, for this post! Our society in general has become overzealous with cleaning our homes and bodies. I generally just clean off my mirrors with a damp microfiber cloth to remove the spatters. I also wear my bras 2-3 times, letting them air out in between, before washing unless I get really sweaty or dirty. Same with jeans, usually wash more because they get stretched out and not because the are dirty.. Hair definitely doesn’t need to be washed everyday, especially if dry and/or curly like mine. As for the germaphobes out there, which I can be to an extent, (especially with raw meat and eggs), we do need exposure to some germs for our immune systems to build up. I grew up on a farm with a mom who was not the best housecleaner, and we didn’t carry hand sanitizer or wipes to use when out in the field or working with animals. I was rarely ever sick as a child and other than chicken pox and appendicitis, I only missed one day of school with a cold. The first time I got the stomach virus in college, I didn’t know what was wrong no with me and I went to the emergency room because I thought I was deathly ill, lol.

  • Mirrors should never be cleaned with a liquid product such as Windex or even plain water. The liquid can flow into or behind the frame which can cause all kinds of problems. Only use a spray foam cleaner because it stays where you spray. Spray a “small” amount and then wipe dry. I learned this from a mirror specialty company.

  • I have to wash my hair daily because of sports, sweat etc BUT I never use shampoo. I only use conditioner. It makes my hair squeaky clean and it looks so much better, not dry and flyaway. I “shampoo” my hair with conditioner, rinse and then put more on. I rinse that out when I’m finished showering. Works well for me! Get lots of compliments !

    • I also use conditioner to wash my hair. I’ve been doing this for about 6 years. I have long curly/wavy and thick hair. Prior to starting the “co-washing” I was shampooing it every day. My hair was so frizzy. I get many compliments about it now. I use the cheapest and best smelling conditioner only – the expensive stuff is not good for co-washing. There are several videos on youtube.com about co-washing. It is actually a popular thing. It is also very inexpensive. Don’t be fooled into purchasing the product called Wen (I think). There is nothing special in it that makes it any better than Suave. Also Suave smells better.
      {I’ve also been a licensed master cosmetologist since 1984, and do know a little bit about hair care products}

      • Perspiration is an issue: This is advice for people who don’t perspire, stay inside all day, and don’t live in a hot, humid climate.

        Hair will pass if you rinse in the shower daily (no product) & wash 2-3 times a week, but jeans/bras worn all day outside in FL? Been to the beach? Wash it all. Ew.

  • It’s useful to know that car finishes can be damaged by too frequent washing, this I didn’t know. As for how often to wash one’s hair and clothes, that depends on personal preference, I think. I live in a hot, humid area and spend a lot of time outside, so hair and clothes need frequent washing.
    Surely adult people know when they need to wash?!

    • I get what you’re saying, F.S. The problem with most adults is that we tend to overdo sometimes… “if ‘a little goes a long way’ is good then ‘more is better'” tends to take over as a motto. It can be very difficult to find a balance, to do it “just right”. I think this post gives me something to think about… & just like any advice, I can choose to follow it or not! For instance, I was taught to wash my hair & body every day but when I switched to “non-soap” cleansers my skin & hair were healthier… I wasn’t stripping the natural oils! Who knew??Plain water gets off most dirt. Anyway, try it or don’t, like it or don’t… or just tuck the ideas away. Have a great day, F.S.!

  • I stopped using shampoo about 18 months ago. I wash my hair with water only – except as I’m in a hard water area I use vinegar once a month to get rid of the limescale. My hair has gone from very greasy and flat to my head to quite lively looking and I only wash it a couple of times a week.

  • I’m 62. Two years ago I realized that my hair was becoming dry with daily fly-away hair rather than feeling silky and healthy. I started washing my hair once every six days, and this has helped. It no longer needs washing every day. Jeans I wash every three wearings because they stretch out and I need them to shrink back up to fit right.

    • For hair of any age but particularly middle age, it is important to use products free of Parabens, Silicone and Sodium Laurel Sulphate (SLS) as they cause damage to hair, there are many lists on the internet that state brands that are free of these products. Hope this helps

  • I rarely wash my jeans. I definitely would if I had worn outside in the dirt. My bras I rarely wash. I line it with tissue when wearing to absorb sweat. If I’ve had a day when it’s been humid then I’ll wash it. If it’s not possible I’ll just spray it with Febreze. I try to give my hair a break from washing when I’m not working. I do wash every day when working. It’s part of our hygiene requirements with my job.

  • Jillee, I’m so glad you stay true to yourself and share your thoughts and ideas in spite of criticism. I wish more people had the spirit of shut up and would heed their mothers’ advice that “if you can’t say something nice… then put down your device.” I paraphrased a little for our current times, but really the advice is timeless.

  • The problem with jeans now is that they are NOT just raw denim. They all have some stretch material which I think negates your advice. I’d love to find women’s jeans without stretch.

  • Jill, I have followed you for years and always appreciate your wisdom, but you need to remove this post and take out what you wrote about HAIR, BRAS, AND JEANS. PLEASE do some quick research on what nasty things come OFF of the human body, especially in the areas of ARM PITS and GROIN. It is disgusting!!! DO NOT tell people NOT to wash their jeans and bras because they will believe you!!! Consider how much bacteria jeans are exposed to~ as you sit somewhere that has NOT been cleaned, are exposed to dirt and filth wherever you walk, etc etc. DO NOT put jeans that have been worn outside back in your closet, EVER! The HUMAN BODY, but most especially HAIR (!!!) is a veritable forest of bacteria, dead skin cells, oil, mites, and their POOP! Dead mites, and their feces are a major contributor to body odor! Hair acts like a magnet for germs and toxins in the air. It absorbs everything on some level, including odors. Smell your hair after you cook, or when exposed to cigarette smoke. It’s disgusting. People need to bathe and HAIR needs to be washed EVERY SINGLE DAY, especially if a person has allergies. DO MORE RESEARCH PLEASE (it takes literally just a couple of clicks to find volumes of information about the things living on a human body, including gross pictures!!!, and how disgusting poor personal hygiene is!), and in the mean time remove this post. Otherwise you are subjecting your devoted readers to very bad, and potentially dangerous information. Honestly, the post is just gross, and makes me seriously question your personal hygiene and cleanliness. Please be more responsible to your readers.

      • I am a nurse and child of a doctor. I was raised to wash my hands before eating and after the bathroom. We were encouraged to play in the dirt and have fun. Never treated for earaches with antibiotics, but with warm almond oil. I only had antibiotics for strep throat, Penicillin.
        As a trauma nurse, I have treated so many of the homeless. They aren’t coming in sick because they haven’t washed their hair or clothes or for that matter, their hands. We have became inundated with this idea we have to take a drug or a prescription to have wellness.
        I think Jillie’s recommendations are valid and will try to remember them.
        Thanks Jillie

    • As far as germs & bacteria go on your jeans & bra, Jillee gave you ways to kill the bacteria between washes. So, that problem is solved. As far as hair odors go, I wash my hair every 3-4 days & I have never had a problem w/ smelly hair (w/ the exception of being around a campfire but that smell is kinda nice actually). Use dry shampoo if you’re that paranoid. As far as mites or free radicals or whatever, every single person deals with that stuff every single day & guess what? We still live! Our hair doesn’t fall out on day three of not washing it. We don’t catch some disease from microscopic bacteria on our jeans. We don’t even get nauseous from odors we pick up from cooking dinner.

      As a matter of fact, scientists even tell you not to shower every day because you kill GOOD BACTERIA THAT PROTECT YOUR SKIN & BODY FROM INFECTION. So by being obsessed & paranoid about cleanliness is actually stripping away the good bacteria & weakening your body’s defenses because you don’t give it anything to fight & build up immunities against, therefore, probably subjecting yourself to MORE sickness, like those people obsessed with hand sanitizer & the children who start kindergarten who’ve never been to preschool & are exposed to germs for the first time. Those kids have no defenses built up & get sick a whole lot easier, as opposed to the “exposed” children who have the defenses to stave off germs.

      Now if you just walked a mile in 90-degree weather in your jeans & bra, by all means, wash them even if it’s day one, but for normal people on a normal day, these tips will help you keep your favorite jeans & bra longer. Your hair will actually be healthier because you’re not constantly stripping the oils, & you will also be HEALTHIER because you’re not stripping off your defenses, i.e. healthy bacteria.

      But if you’re afraid of things that your body is perfectly capable of defending against or you’re paranoid of some odor that only you imagine you smell, you’re not only going to be sick more often, you’re going to lose your favorite jeans before their time, be spending a lot more money on bras, & be walking around with dry brittle hair!

    • Did you know that too much showering can do more harm than good? Some of those “things” on your body are actually beneficial.
      From the article below:
      And if you think showering often helps protect you from bad bacteria, the exact opposite may be true. Showering can break down the skin’s natural barrier, called the acid mantle. The acid mantle is slightly acidic. Showering too often, especially with alkaline soap or washes, can change the pH of your skin and leave your skin more susceptible to bacterial and viral invasion.

      There’s some speculation that our fastidious cleanliness could be contributing to the rise of allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, and maybe even health problems like diabetes. It’s called the “hygiene hypothesis.” The idea is all the cleaning, washing, and sanitizing we do today may be stunting young immune systems. Instead, allowing children to be exposed to an array of bacteria while they’re young may help build a stronger immune system in the long run.
      https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-often-should-you-shower-4154629

      • Switch over from bar soap to sodium laurel sulfate free body soap and shampoo. Bar soaps are made with ingredients that often strip the skin of natural oils.
        Our family never uses bar soap. I highly recommend Jason’s products found on Amazon or your local healthy store.
        My granddaughter was the one that advised me to wash my hair less but if I had to after sweaty yoga, use conditioner only and a good rinse.

      • We don’t use bar soap. I have terrible problems with dry skin in the winter. We live in the country and have a well. Recently we installed a water softener and the change was amazing. My hair is softer and my skin is clearer. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why my facial soap wouldn’t lather properly and left traces of makeup. Also, my skin is not nearly as dry.

    • I’m glad you research, but As a medical doctor, be careful of your sources for research. Also remember bacteria can be very beneficial.

      Certainly in consideration of how frequently you clean, one must consider their activities and the amount of perspiration the clothing has encountered, as leaving sweat on your clothing can stain them. If your clothing smells, by all means wash them.

      In regards to jeans, it also would depend on the type of underwear worn— if one wears undies which come to the groin, they will absorb most of the perspiration., but if one wears thongs, I would wash those jeans every time, unless using a bidet, as they probably have fecal material on them, even after wiping well.

      • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m so glad that someone is addressing the hygiene issue with wearing thongs or going commando.

    • Germaphobia is part of the reason so many people are sick all of the time. It takes exposure to be immune to germs, and many of the things you mentioned we encounter every day, clean clothes or not. Too much bathing and showering strips your skin and hair of necessary oils and moisture that serve as a barrier against extremely dry skin, which has cracks and tiny fissures that invite bacteria in to breed. Seriously. You are stripping away the good bacteria that your skin needs to survive.

      • I used to work with a germophobe who was nearly neurotic. Funny thing is, she had long nails. I wonder if she realized how much bacteria she was carrying around under her nails.

    • I have eczema and thick curly hair. What may be normal washing for you is TERRIBLE for my skin and hair. And to be blunt, if you’re the type of idiot who believes that everything put out on the internet is gospel and you must follow it (even if it doesn’t really apply to you), then perhaps you’ve earned the consequences. I don’t think most of Jillee’s readers are as ignorant and gullible as you are implying, and I’m sure most of them will know what applies to them and what does not.

  • I look forward to you tips daily. These are super and I always want to see the Additional links you provided it to go even more in depth. I must say I only wash my bra every few months LOL :-)

    • Wow. I have hot flashes all the time, so I wash mine every three wearings. Typically, manufacturers claim bras are only meant to last for about three months anyway.

      • I’m sure they say that so people can buy them more often & we know how expensive they are! :/

      • That’s exactly right about manufacturers’ recommendations. If we washed our bras after every wearing, they wouldn’t last any longer than 3 months! I rotate wearing my 4 bras, hanging them to air out between wearings, and wash every 3-4 weeks. They last years that way.

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