5 Ineffective, Out-of-Date Cleaning Staples You Need to Replace ASAP

updated Jun 15, 2020
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For as much as we depend on our cleaning supplies to keep our homes fresh and clean, there’s a better-than-zero chance you’re hanging onto plenty that are no longer useful. Whether it’s disinfectant spray or a duster, obsolete cleaning products aren’t doing you — or your home — any favors. 

To help you figure out what housekeeping items you probably need to replace, we called on Kadi Dulude of Wizard of Homes for help. From ineffective cleaners to out-of-date tools, here’s what common cleaning staples it might be time to bid adieu to.  

1. Hydrogen Peroxide (Especially If It’s Been Exposed to Light)

Often used as a nontoxic disinfectant around the house, Dulude says when stored incorrectly, hydrogen peroxide can lose its antibacterial properties. “Hydrogen peroxide breaks down and loses its magical powers when exposed to light for too long, that’s why it always comes in a dark bottle” she says. “Store it in a cool, dark place (in its original bottle) to ensure it stays potent and powerful.” Even when stored properly, an opened bottle of hydrogen peroxide only maintains its effectiveness for six months to a year — it should indicate its shelf life on the label. After this time, the expired solution isn’t harmful, but it won’t be as effective at disinfecting as it used to.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Disinfectant Spray or Wipes More than 2 Years Old

Like it or not, Dulude says if it’s been sitting under your sink for too long, your go-to disinfectant spray or wipes aren’t something you can count on. “Disinfectant sprays are usually only good for one to two years max,” she says. “If you notice the smell is starting to get weaker, then you know it’s likely not effective as a disinfectant anymore.” You can switch to either a brand-new disinfecting product, an option like bleach or alcohol, or if those aren’t available, use soap and water to wash germs away.

Credit: Naviya/Shutterstock

3. Old-School Feather Dusters

If you’re still using old-school hand dusters to clean your surfaces, then Dulude says you’re doing it wrong. “Feather dusters and rainbow-colored dusters are outdated because they’re ineffective,” she says. Without a cleaner or polish, or something to cling to the dust, they’ll just move your dirt around. “At Wizard of Home, we use Swiffer dusters for light dusting once a week, but for a good, effective deep clean use an all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth to trap dust and give your surfaces a nice shine.” 

Credit: iofoto/Shutterstock

4. Your Ancient Handheld Vacuum

For as helpful as they might seem for cleaning up small messes in a pinch, Dulude says some handheld vacuums aren’t practical or sanitary. “Old handheld vacuums are filled with old dust and debris and don’t do a very good job vacuuming up stuff,” she says.  “If you’re looking for a cheap and small vacuum then go for a Eureka Canister. Space-wise it does not take up a lot of room but performance-wise it’s night and day!” You should also replace your vacuum if you notice the plug or cord deteriorating or fraying — you could risk getting shocked or starting an electrical fire.

Related: 6 People On Reddit With Super-Old Vacuum Cleaners, Still Going Strong (Plus the Modern Versions You Can Buy Today)

Credit: Adrian Mars/Shutterstock

6. String Mops

Still using the same style of mop your grandparents did? Dulude says string-mops are inefficient, unsanitary, and obsolete. “Most floors should not be wet-mopped anymore anyway, they should be vacuumed, dry-dusted, then damp-mopped by spraying the cleaner directly on the floor and immediately polished clean,” she explains. “The string-mop gets really nasty after a short time and if you look at how dirty the washing water gets you’ll also want to reconsider ever using it again.” The new gold standard for floor mops is one with microfiber strands, or a spray mop with a machine-washable cleaning pad.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: 5 Ineffective, Out of Date Cleaning Staples You Need to Replace ASAP