It’s hard to understate the cleaning abilities of plain water, which dissolves so many other substances that it’s often called the “universal solvent.” But as effective as it is, water isn’t always the best way to clean something!
In today’s post, we’ll be exploring which household items you shouldn’t clean with water. Because the way I see it, it’s better to find out now by reading this blog post, than to find out the hard way later on! :-)
Each item in this list includes suggestions for safer cleaning methods to use instead. With the help of these tips, you’ll be about to safely clean these items and keep them nice for years to come!
9 Things You Should Never Clean With Water
While some jewelry looks great after a cleaning it with soap and water, other pieces can wind up looking more tarnished than before. If you’re not sure what your jewelry is made of, especially if it’s an older piece, it’s safer to avoid water when cleaning it.
2. Hardwood Floors
While most hardwood floors are initially sealed with some sort of water-resistant sealant, that seal can wear off over time. And if it does, water can seep into the wood, causing it to swell, discolor, or even warp over time!
To keep your hardwood floors in tip-top shape, clean them with a microfiber mop and a cleaner formulated for hardwood. If you want to continue using a water-based mop solution, at least make sure your mop is damp, and not sopping wet, when you use it.
Leather upholstery, shoes, and accessories need special care to keep them looking nice. While water makes a great cleaner for most things, it can leave behind streaks on leather and lead to cracking over time.
Your best bet is to treat your leather items regularly with a special leather cleanser. Read more about caring for leather here.
4. Wood Furniture
Anyone who has accidentally left a water ring on their coffee table can tell you all about how water and wood furniture don’t mix! In addition to discoloring wood, water can also lead to swelling, splitting, and other damage.
5. Brass & Silver
Water can remove tarnish from brass and silver in the short term, but it may actually lead to more tarnish in the future too! To be safe, use a quality brass or silver polish to clean and protect your items.
6. Musical Instruments
Whether you have a wood instrument like a guitar or piano, or a metal instrument like a trumpet or saxophone, it likely wasn’t cheap! To protect your financial investment and to keep it sounding sweet, proper cleaning and care is crucial!
Avoid water when cleaning your musical instrument, and instead use a cleanser that is specifically formulated for instruments. If you’re not to sure what to use, check your instrument manufacturer’s website to find out what they recommend using.
Silk can be a tricky material to clean at home. If you have a silk item that you’re not sure you can successfully clean at home, you’re probably better off trusting it to a dry cleaner!
Some silks are labeled as washable, but even these need to be handled with care. Remove any surface dirt with a soft brush, then wash the item with a delicate detergent on a gentle cycle.
Our homes are filled with electronic gadgets that need a good cleaning once in a while (or more often, depending on how frequently you use them!) Avoid using water to clean them, as water can permanently damage the sensitive internal components of your gear.
Instead, remove dust with with a microfiber cloth, then wet a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol to remove any stubborn grime. (As an added bonus, the alcohol will disinfect your gadgets too!)
9. Velvet, Velour, & Suede
Soft, fuzzy fabric like velvet, velour, and suede are highly popular choices for home decor, but they do need to be cleaned carefully to keep them looking and feeling nice! Water can leave behind spots, streaks, and stains on the fabric, and even cause it to shrink or pill.
To keep these fuzzy fabrics clean, use a vacuum or soft brush to remove surface dirt. For deeper cleaning, use a foaming upholstery cleaner or try my method for cleaning suede.
Do you have any additional tips for cleaning the items listed above?