It’s often a mad dash when sellers are working to get their home on the market or even to just clean up ahead of a showing. But some common cleanup tools can actually do more damage than many people realize. HouseLogic identified a few common products that can create big problems, so you can be the expert your clients need and help them protect their investments.
- Bleach is a common cure-all, but this caustic chemical can eat through the sealant on stone surfaces, discolor laminate and grout, fade enamel and acrylic tubs, dissolve linoleum, and corrode seals in a garbage disposal. While it does kill mold on nonporous surfaces, it can create a future feeding ground for mold on absorbent and porous materials, such as grout. Instead, advise clients to use water and vinegar or a commercial antifungal product for major cleanup jobs.
- It may seem obvious to note that glass cleaner is for glass, but many home owners use it for a multitude of surfaces. This can lead to what’s known as “black edge” on mirrors, where the liquid seeps beneath the reflective backing and lifts it. Instead, a lint-free microfiber cloth dampened with warm water does wonders to clean and protect mirrors in expensive installed items such as vanities and closet doors, as long as homeowners avoid the edges and dry immediately with a second cloth.
- Mulch offers a simple alternative to weeding, but it’s easy to overdo it. A layer thicker than three inches can suffocate plants and prevent water from reaching roots, so encourage homeowners to spread thoughtfully.
- Slow drains are an annoyance, but a busted pipe could derail your sale. Caution sellers against using drain cleaners that contain hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid, which can erode plumbing. Even the old baking soda-and-vinegar medley can create cracks, as the chemical reaction causes a build-up of pressure. Old-fashioned “mechanical” methods—plungers, drain snakes, or a handy $2 gadget called the Zip-It—are safer and more effective, according to Consumer Reports.