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Get your cleaning on point

Most of us pick up cleaning habits as we grow up and never change them as adults. Unfortunately your well-meaning cleaning approach may be doing you, your time and your home more harm than good. 

Here's some habits to nix and some good ones to replace them with.

Published:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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You use average deodorizers on pet smells

I haven't found a store-bought deodorizer that holds a candle to a simple mixture you can whip up at home for removing pet smells. 

To make smell-be-gone spray, mix 16 ounces (about 500 ml) of warm water with 10 drops of peppermint essential oil or two tablespoons of peppermint extract in a spray bottle. This will get rid of any animal pee smell. Here are more ways to get rid of pet urine odor.

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You self-clean and chill

The self-cleaning option on your oven only self-cleans to a point. There's still more to do after the oven cools down. 

Wipe any soot off of the interior with a damp cloth and leave the door open for a few hours so it can air out. 

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You're using the wrong sponge

A sponge is a sponge, right? Not so fast. Actually, your choice of sponge can make a big difference in how well you clean your dishes. Some can even damage certain items. 

Here's how to find the right sponge for each type of plates, pans and glassware.

Published:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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You spend too much time cleaning the bathroom

Cleaning your bathroom isn't a long, arduous task if you're doing it right. Here's a step-by-step guide to getting your bathroom cleaning routine under 10 minutes.

Published:Caption:Photo:Alina Bradford
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You're not wearing rubber gloves

OK, I'll admit, I'm not a big glove wearer. That is, at least, until I learned why they're so important. 

These three reasons will get you to slip on some rubber gloves every time you clean from now on.

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You use glass cleaner on your stovetop

You'd think it would be OK to use glass cleaner on a glass or ceramic stovetop, but it's not. 

The ammonia in glass cleaner can damage the stove's surface. Use white vinegar, instead.  

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You don't wipe down your microwave

Hate cleaning your microwave? There's a reason for that. Food left to dry and crust over is pretty difficult to remove. 

The solution is simple; wipe up spills as soon as they happen.

If it's too late for that, heat a bowl of water in the microwave for several minutes until steamy, let it cool for a few minutes and carefully wipe the interior. The steam helps loosen stuck-on gunk.

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You don't clean the dryer filter

Cleaning your dryer filter after every load is important. A clean filter will help your clothes dry more quickly and can prevent dryer fires.

Published:Caption:Photo:Alina Bradford/CNET
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You rinse every dish

Stop prerinsing your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. All you're doing is wasting time, energy and water. Your dishwasher can handle cleaning your dishes without your help. Just scrape off large food bits and put them in.

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You're not cleaning your dishwasher

Though it doesn't need help washing dishes, it does need help staying clean. Here's a guide on how to deep clean your dishwasher to keep it running right.

Published:Caption:Photo:Chris Monroe/CNET
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You use coconut oil on everything

Yes, coconut oil can be used to clean more than a dozen things, but sometimes it can do more harm than good. For example, many people online claim you can clean furniture stains with coconut oil. Nope. It's an oil, which means it will give you a bigger stain than you had before.

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You use hot water to mop

Some people think that using hot water to mop their floors will disinfect them. Nope. Water needs to be 140 degrees F to 158 degrees F (60 degrees C to 70 degrees C ) to start killing most bacteria. 

The water that's coming from your hot water tap isn't that hot. Plus, as soon as you put it in the bucket, the water is going to cool down anyway. Hot water can also damage some floors.

Instead, use a antibacterial floor cleaner and warm water to get the best clean.

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You use dryer sheets

Dryer sheets and fabric softener make your clothes soft and smell good, but they're not good for your washer and dryer. They can also make your towels less absorbent. 

Here's what you need to know and a few alternatives to dryer sheets.

Published:Caption:Photo:Goran Ljubisavljevic / Getty Images
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You don't sanitize your keyboard

Did you know that your keyboard can have more bacteria than a toilet? Eww! 

From now on, don't just dust off your keyboard, give it a deep, bacteria blasting clean with these tips.

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You're dusting after vacuuming the floors

If you're saving dusting for last, then you're doing it wrong. Dust before you vacuum so you'll suck up any particles that fall onto the floor right away.

Published:Caption:Photo:Alina Bradford/CNET
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