The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Home Cleaning Problems and Solutions

Woman and child pointing spray bottles at the camera

For best results, always read and follow label directions on cleaning products. Labels will give specific instructions for types of surfaces the cleaner should or shouldn't be used on, how much to use and how to use the product. Also, read and follow the use and care guides that come with fixtures, appliances and other surfaces.

Do not mix cleaning products. Products which are safe when used alone can sometimes become dangerous if mixed with other products.





Preventive Measures

Bathroom Fixtures
Colored stains Older porcelain fixtures may develop fine cracks, which can trap the dye in the abrasive cleanser. Brush the area with a stiff brush and flush the residue away with water. Several brushings may be required. Flush area thoroughly after using abrasive cleanser.
Rust stains Iron in water Treat stains with a rust remover. If stains are in toilet bowl, use a toilet bowl cleaner that contains an acid. For an ongoing problem, the installation of an iron filter in the water supply system may be necessary.
Soils and stains Fixtures not cleaned regularly Scour with a powdered oxygen bleach or use liquid household bleach (sodium hypochlorite). Clean frequently to avoid a buildup.
Porcelain/ Chrome
Dull, discolored appearance Hard water mineral deposits Treat with a hard water mineral remover. In extremely hard water areas, the installation of a water softener may be necessary.
Drain not cleared with use of a drain opener Badly clogged drain or a solid foreign object may be lodged in the trap or in the pipe line. Repeat the application of a drain opener in badly clogged drain. If three applications of a drain opener fail to remove the clog, the services of a plumber are necessary. At the first sign of a sluggish drain, use a drain opener.
Use a biological drain opener on a regular basis to help prevent buildup in the drain.
Hardening of a dry drain opener in the drain Using an excessive amount of a dry drain opener and an insufficient amount of water. Let water trickle into the drain for an extended period of time to dissolve the product. Read and follow package directions.

Resilient (vinyl, linoleum, no-wax vinyl)
Sticky surface Using an insufficient amount of all-purpose cleaner.

Wax buildup
Increase the amount of an all-purpose cleaner to loosen and help remove a wax buildup.
It may be necessary to use a wax remover or a solution of one cup ammonia + 1/4 cup powdered floor cleaner added to each 1/2 gallon of water.
Use a sufficient amount of an all-purpose cleaner.

Remove wax periodically.
Shine removed All-purpose cleaner not rinsed off thoroughly enough to remove all residue. Rinse floor thoroughly to remove all traces of the cleaning solution. Same as solution
Streaking Too little furniture polish used, so soil is not removed. Use another application of polish. Rub thoroughly, using a soft clean cloth; turn it frequently to a clean side. Use sufficient amount of furniture polish.
Wax buildup Over application of polish, incomplete buffing. More vigorous buffing, using a clean cloth. Avoid overuse of polish. Buff thoroughly.
Dulling of finish Over application of polish, incomplete buffing. Between polishings, use a cloth treated with a dusting aid. Buff thoroughly.
Dust attraction Over application of polish, incomplete buffing. More vigorous buffing, using a soft, clean cloth. Avoid overuse of polish. Buff thoroughly.
Window Glass
Smudges on glass Insufficient amount of glass cleaner used for the amount of soil. Use two applications of glass cleaner. Spray glass generously with cleaner and wipe with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel. Then, respray lightly with glass cleaner and polish with another clean, dry cloth or paper towel. Same as solution.
Streaks on glass Too much or too little glass cleaner used.

Polishing cloths containing a residue of fabric softener or wax.

High absorbency paper towel.
Apply glass cleaner and wipe off with a clean, dry cloth or paper towel.

Use clean, dry cloth or paper towel.

Use clean, dry cloth or lower absorbency paper towel.
Same as solution.
Difficulty in removing cream glass cleaner Cleaner removed before it was completely dry. Allow cream glass cleaner to dry completely before it is removed. Use a clean, dry cloth to remove the residue. Same as solution.
Cream glass cleaner trapped in crevice Cleaner applied beyond the window glass. Allow the cleaner to dry thoroughly. Use a soft brush to remove the powder residue. Apply cream glass cleaner to window surface only.
Spots on exterior surfaces Hard water mineral deposits. Clean with a glass or glass and multi-surface cleaner, gently rubbing spots. Same as solution.