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9 Things In Your House You Should Never Clean With Water

While water is one of the most powerful cleaners we have, it isn't always the best choice! In fact, you should avoid water entirely when cleaning these 9 household items.

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

1. Jewelry

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.

Learn more about safely cleaning your jewelry here.

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.

3. Leather

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.

Keep your wood furniture dust-free with a microfiber cloth, then use a furniture polish or conditioner to shine and protect the wood.

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.

7. Silk

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.

8. Electronics

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?

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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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