40 mistakes you don't realize you're making that are damaging your home

These easy, cheap fixes can prevent future headaches (and expenses).

ByRachel Bar-Gadda
Originally Published: 
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Despite your best efforts, overflowing gutters, lingering pet stains, and frozen pipes are just a few of the at least 40 mistakes you don’t realize you’re making that are damaging your home. But don’t despair — most of these issues have easy fixes that come in the form of ingenious telescoping gutter wands, effective stain and odor eliminator sprays, and weatherproof insulation tape.

Read on to learn how to avoid these mistakes and embrace the solutions conveniently listed for you below.


Mistake: Letting water leaks go unnoticed

Solution: A reusable water leak alarm that sounds for up to 24 hours

Water damage is no joke and can result in thousands of dollars in expenses. Don’t let yourself be caught unaware by simply placing this water leak alarm in a prime spot for potential leakage. It both senses the leak and sounds an alarm that will go for up to 24 hours, giving you ample time to find and deal with the problem. As an added bonus, this alarm is completely reusable and so can be shifted to different areas of the house to do its job.


Mistake: Your dirty dishwasher leaves residue on dishes

Solution: These tablets that remove limescale & mineral buildup for sparkling dishes

If you deal with hard water, you know the disappointment of seeing your freshly cleaned dishes emerge from the dishwasher with a not-so-sparkling residue. A neglected dishwasher could be the culprit, in which case, these dishwasher tablets are the answer. Once a month, pop one into the detergent tray or tub and run a cycle with or without dishes. The tablets remove all accumulated limescale and minerals and even clean the pump and valve, as well as the internal hoses, so your dishes remain crystal clear after every wash.


Mistake: Banging door knobs into your wall

Solution: A door knob stopper made of soft rubber cushioning

Doors that tend to swing hard and fast can eventually leave a dent in the wall as evidence of their enthusiasm. This door knob stopper gives that exact spot on the wall a protective buffering with its soft, rubber cushioning and mounts easily using self-adhesive. Each pack comes with six stoppers in a clear finish that are available in either a small or large size.


Mistake: Not removing lint from your dryer

Solution: A dryer vent cleaning kit that works with your vacuum

Failing to remove lint from your dryer not only can make your dryer less efficient but can actually cause a potential fire. Avoid this completely by using this effective dryer vent cleaning kit that attaches to any standard vacuum to reach deep inside the dryer and remove accumulated lint. It comes with a long, flexible hose as well as a lint brush to grab onto any trapped lint, no matter how small the crevice.


Mistake: Letting UV light fade furniture

Solution: These blackout curtains that block up to 99% of light

If that vintage armchair in pastel blue upholstery is looking a little paler than usual, your furniture could be suffering from UV light damage. Prevent this from happening by hanging these blackout curtains that use a triple weave fabric to block out light completely. They come in many different sizes to accommodate your window dimensions and are offered in over 30 colors such as classic black, biscotti beige, sage green, or Moroccan blue.


Mistake: Leaving your walls damaged if you have used nails

Solution: This drywall repair putty that goes on fast

If you’ve hung all your artwork with nails, pulling said artwork off the wall might reveal a true mess underneath. But, take heart, because this drywall repair putty will put it right within seconds. Simply use a circular motion to apply it to the wall, wipe the excess away with your hand or a cloth, and add paint when it’s dry. There’s no second or third coat needed and the putty promises not to crack or shrink with time – all in all, it’s a no-brainer fix.


Mistake: You never clean out your drains

Solution: This snake drain cleaner to routinely clean out hair & debris

That moment when the sink fully stops draining can be a day of reckoning. Skip pricey trips from the plumber and use this snake drain cleaner regularly to effortlessly remove hair and debris. It comes in a pack of five thin wands, each measuring 18 inches long to reach deep down into tight spaces. Attach the rotating handle to the cleaner and wind away so that the micro-hook head can grab onto every single thing that might cause a clog.


Mistake: Not tackling humidity in rooms with hardwood floors

Solution: This dehumidifier with tens of thousands of reviews

If damp conditions are starting to cause your precious hardwood floors to warp, act fast by grabbing one of these popular dehumidifiers that have over 45,000 reviews on Amazon. It works effectively to eliminate up to 9 ounces of moisture per day with a water tank that has a capacity of 17 ounces. It’s small enough to be easily moved to any room of the house and operates quietly so as to not make noticeable noise through the day or night.


Mistake: Not installing a carbon monoxide detector

Solution: This alarm detector with a convenient voice warning

There’s no doubt that the possibility of a carbon monoxide leak inspires serious fear, but it’s easy to take simple steps for protection. Take this alarm detector, for example, that mounts easily anywhere in your home and alerts you to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide using a loud voice warning and siren. It’s battery-operated and even has a built-in LCD display that shows you an exact reading for even more information.


Mistake: Cleaning stainless steel appliances with the wrong products

Solution: A cleaner that removes stains & fingerprints while prolonging the life of your appliances

It’s incredible how fast food-laden fingers can make your previously sparkling fridge look dirty. Instead of turning to the all-purpose cleaner, opt instead for this stainless steel cleaning kit that is specially designed to both clean and prevent future dirty smudges. A pH-neutral spray and wipes are included that create a barrier to resist fingerprints and a helpful microfiber polishing cloth leaves a streak-free finish. Use the kit on any steel appliances from fridges to ovens to sinks.


Mistake: Not protecting floors from shifting furniture legs

Solution: These nonslip furniture grippers that come pre-scored

Scuffs and scratches can easily be prevented when you pop one of these furniture grippers underneath your sofa or chair feet. They’re made with a solid felt core and feature nonslip rubber on the top and bottom to keep furniture feet securely in place. Each pack comes with 12 grippers that are conveniently pre-scored in a variety of square-shaped sizes in addition to an L-shape so you can achieve the right fit.


Mistake: Forgetting to clean out your gutters

Solution: A telescoping gutter cleaner wand that makes it easy to remove all debris

If clogged gutters are starting to wreak havoc, don’t despair over not having invested in an expensive power washer, because all you need is this simple but effective telescoping gutter cleaner wand to get the job done. It hooks up directly to your hose and provides you with a powerful stream to quickly clear out accumulated leaves and debris. Rotate the nozzle head 180 degrees or shift the angle to one of four possible positions to get the water just where you need it and extend the pole from 40 to 70 inches to reach high places. And as an added convenience, a built-in valve allows you to turn off the water flow at will.


Mistake: Allowing water to leak from your shower onto your bathroom floors

Solution: This shower door bottom seal to lock in water

That slight leak that makes its way onto your bathroom floors might seem innocuous until you notice the stink of mildew and the growth of mold (i.e. lots of time and money spent in your future). Stop this in its tracks by adding this shower door bottom seal that will keep water where it belongs – in the shower. It attaches effortlessly with no adhesive required and uses two kinds of vinyl, one rigid and one more flexible, to effectively keep water from escaping. Easily trim it with scissors to your desired dimensions.


Mistake: Pouring grease & oil down your drain

Solution: A grease strainer that helps save your pipes

Instead of emptying that (delicious, flavorful) cooking grease down the drain only to see it clog pipes and cause plumbing headaches, use this grease strainer that stores it for use later. The container is made of wrought iron with an inner nonstick coating which helps to prevent any possible rusting. A fine mesh strainer allows for bits of food to be separated and a lid keeps the contents safely stored. It’s available in five colors: black, gold, green, red, and silver.


Mistake: Drilling into walls before locating studs

Solution: A wall scanner that locates studs using multiple modes

That hastily mounted bike rack is going to cause quite the scare when it tumbles from your wall in the middle of the night. Take your time and find those all-important studs with this wall scanner so that items remain safely and securely where they should. The scanner comes with a 9-volt battery and uses one of four scanning modes to locate basic studs, deep studs, metal, or even AC wire. It conveniently includes a handy level that offers three bubbles (0º, 45º, and 90º) to get your items hung just right.


Mistake: Ruining granite countertops with damaging chemicals

Solution: The non-toxic cleaning spray with more than 5,000 reviews

Keep your beautiful stone countertops looking as good as new with this well-reviewed granite cleaner that uses a non-toxic formula. Spray it onto surfaces made of marble, quartz, granite, or travertine, and polish it to a shine using the included microfiber cloth. The spray leaves no residue or chemical smell behind and is pH-neutral so as to protect the surface’s existing sealant.


Mistake: Neglecting to clean your exhaust or ceiling fan

Solution: A ceiling fan duster with an extendable pole

Dust accumulated on hard-to-reach fan blades can result in a choke-inducing debris storm the minute you fire up your ceiling or exhaust fan. Instead, clean regularly and effortlessly with this ceiling fan duster that allows you to reach all those high places with a pole that can extend up to 47 inches. It comes with a microfiber head that traps dust in its many fibers and can be detached and washed to be reused over and over. Goodbye to perilous perches on rickety chairs to clear out those cobwebs.


Mistake: Always using bath mats that become soggy & gross

Solution: The nonslip bath made with bamboo

Alighting from your bath or shower shouldn’t cause mild disgust slash damage to your floors. This nonslip bath mat keeps floors in great shape and remains a safely dry surface to place your feet due to its water-resistant bamboo construction and slatted design to help air flow through. Three protective coats prevent mold and nine nonslip gaskets made of rubber keep the mat firmly in place.


Mistake: Leaving wet towels on the floor

Solution: A towel rack with 9 shelves that you can mount to the wall

Keep towels stored neatly and cleanly using this towel rack that’s made with nine shelves for storage. It’s made of rust-resistant steel in a black, brown, or white finish and can be mounted to the wall using the included hardware. A detachable design allows it to be used as a group of three, six, or nine shelves so you can perfectly accommodate your space and your needs.


Mistake: Overloading an outlet with too many plugs

Solution: A compact power strip with 3 outlets & USB ports

Don’t let the simple act of charging your devices be the cause of a possible energy meltdown. This power strip offers you three outlets with a grounded connection in addition to three convenient USB ports (two standard USB and one USB-C) to charge phones, e-readers, or tablets, to name a few. It sports a compact design that offers great portability and is perfect for the home as it won’t take up too much space on your desk.


Mistake: Using appliances & gadgets that are on their last legs

Solution: Replacing that worn-out coffee pot with a pour-over coffee maker

Go ahead and replace that old pot with this pour-over coffee maker that’ll make delicious coffee on the regular. It’s made of temperature-safe glass that features a heat-resistant collar and includes a fine mesh stainless steel filter for a clean and flavorful brew.


Mistake: Leaving windows unsealed & allowing air to seep through

Solution: This waterproof caulk & seal with 13,000 reviews

Protect your home from potentially damaging conditions with this effective waterproof caulk and seal with over 13,000 reviews. It goes on easily using the provided applicator and comes in both white and clear. It’s fully waterproof within 30 minutes and promises not to become yellow or cracked over time. The formula additionally resists both mildew and mold and can conveniently be painted over for a seamless look.


Mistake: Not covering & protecting outdoor faucets when the weather turns cold

Solution: A faucet cover that’s freeze-proof

Frozen faucets are nobody’s idea of a good time considering the money and effort required for repairs. The trick is getting yourself one of these faucet covers that come in a pack of four to protect them from freezing conditions. The exterior is made of durable IPX5 waterproof Oxford cloth while the interior features soft cotton material. It uses a hook and loop fastener to secure itself around the spigot and comes in four distinct colors (black, blue, white, and camo) for helpful identification.


Mistake: Forgetting to insulate pipes

Solution: The best-selling weatherproof insulation tape

Protect your pipes through the extremes of every season with this completely weatherproof and best-selling 2-inch insulation tape. It’s made of heat-retaining, freeze-proof, and waterproof EVA foam that wraps tightly around your pipes using strong self-adhesive. Trim it to the size needed and rest easy knowing no amount of rain, snow, or sun will make the material crack or break down, saving you tons of money on possible repairs.


Mistake: Neglecting to regularly sweep floors

Solution: This highly rated broom & dustpan set with 30,000 reviews

If regularly sweeping your floors feels like an impossible task, this ergonomically made broom and dustpan set will make it easy as can be. The set has over 30,000 reviews on Amazon and is beloved for its tall handle that allows you to remain upright while sweeping as well as for the convenient self-cleaning teeth to remove debris from the brush. Choose between three color options and snap the broom and dustpan together to store them within a small footprint.


Mistake: Ignoring a bug problem so that it gets worse

Solution: An indoor trap for insects & flying bugs

It’s incredible how one single fruit fly living its best life can result in an out-of-control party with all its buddies seemingly overnight. To nip this and other pest problems in the bud, utilize this indoor insect trap that employs UV light to lure flying bugs, a fan to pull them in, and a glue board to trap them. It comes with eight glue boards, which each last a month, and is best used overnight when it self-activates to trap any small flying bug including mosquitos, moths, and gnats.


Mistake: Tracking in dirt & debris when wearing shoes indoors

Solution: This shoe organizer that gives you a designated storage spot in the entryway

This shoe organizer is perfect for the entryway as it provides you with six large slots for shoes, making it easy to ditch those dirty kicks the minute you come in the door. It’s constructed of non-woven fabric wrapped around sturdy cardboard, takes up little space, and can be easily moved around due to convenient handles on either side. Collapse it down flat to store it if needed.


Mistake: Damaging your walls by using nails to hang art

Solution: A pack of strong adhesive strips that keep pictures in place

Say goodbye to doing permanent damage to your walls with nails and, instead, choose these removable adhesive strips to hang your favorite artwork. The strips use a double-sided hook and loop fastener to securely stick to both the frame and the wall, which can be anything from varnished wood to tile to metal. You can even change out your artwork at will if you like, as well as completely remove the strips without leaving any residue on your walls. Each pack comes with 28 pairs of strips.


Mistake: Leaving sinks vulnerable to leaks

Solution: An under-sink mat that absorbs liquid

If you’re worried about potential leaks that could seriously damage the space under your sink, use this under-sink mat as protection. It’s made of absorbent felt fabric that has a waterproof backing to prevent moisture from damaging the cabinet. Available in a choice of four sizes, the mat can also be easily cut to your dimensions if needed. Toss it in the washing machine for easy cleanup and years of reuse.


Mistake: Not protecting floors when you work out or store equipment

Solution: These interlocking floor mat tiles made of protective foam

Setting up a home gym and rocking home workouts is certainly cause for applause, but your floors might pay an unintentional price. Protect them using these interlocking floor mat tiles whose foam material provides a non-skid surface, reduces noise, and even offers a bit more comfort on your joints. Six tiles are included to cover 24 square feet of space, but you can also choose from packs of tiles in 12- and 36-packs. The foam’s water-resistant surface is easy to wipe clean.


Mistake: Throwing food scraps into the sink when prepping meals

Solution: A collapsible garbage bin that attaches to your cabinet

This ingenious collapsible garbage bin streamlines kitchen cleanup by providing you with a convenient place to toss food scraps while you’re preparing meals. It hangs over your cabinet door and can be used with a liner secured by an included liner rim. Made of silicone, you simply pull the top out towards you and then the bottom to fully extend the capacity of the mini bin. Push in again to store it flat against your cabinet door until the next prep session.


Mistake: Waiting for gates & fences to rust

Solution: Using this spray to pre-treat home features vulnerable to rust

Protect features such as gates or fences from rusting beyond repair by using this protective spray made with an oil-based formula. It’s available in tons of colors such as cabernet, driftwood, or hunter green in addition to a clear option, all of which leave a smooth satin finish. Apply it to multiple surfaces such as metal, concrete, wood, or masonry, and allow it to dry fully in only four hours. In addition to protecting against rust, it also works to prevent any chipping, peeling, or cracking as well.


Mistake: Letting your cat scratch up furniture

Solution: A transparent furniture protector

Prevent the love of your life (your cat, obviously) from tearing up precious upholstery by using these transparent furniture protectors. They’re made of clear vinyl that won’t draw visual attention and that is resistant to claws. The flexible material helps the protectors easily wrap around corners and strong adhesive in addition to twist pins help keep them in place. Each pack comes with eight protectors that can be cut to size.


Mistake: Neglecting to get to the root of pet stains & odors

Solution: An enzyme-neutralizing spray with 100,000 reviews

If your pet’s had an accident, that cursory cleanup might come back to bite you with a subtle stink that wafts in from time to time. Deal with it once and for all using this effective stain and odor eliminator spray that has over 100,000 reviews and utilizes the cleaning power of enzymes. The formula is safe enough to be used on all kinds of surfaces in addition to carpets such as upholstery, hardwood, laminate, and litter boxes.


Mistake: Allowing tangled cables to become frayed

Solution: These cable holder clips that keep unruly cords in place

Keep all your cables neatly organized and at hand with these cable holder clips that sit securely on wood, glass, marble, and more, using self-adhesive. Three clips come in each pack with the ability to hold three, five, or seven cords measuring less than 6 millimeters in diameter each. Perfect for computer cables, charging cables, or audio cables, these clips will maintain the health of your cords so they last you for the long haul.


Mistake: Tracking dirt & mud inside your home

Solution: A nonslip door mat that’s machine washable

Tracking the day's activity through your house via your shoes can be easily avoided by simply putting down one of these door mats with a nonslip backing. It comes in six neutral shades such as black, brown, or green, and can be tossed in the washing machine for effortless cleaning. Choose between two different size choices with the classic plaid design offering a bit of style at the doorstep.


Mistake: Leaving open food containers in the pantry to attract pests

Solution: These food storage containers with airtight lids

That never-ending trail of ants in the pantry can only mean one thing: they’ve hit payday in the form of an open package of food. Free yourself from dealing with this ever again by using these food storage containers that each come with their own airtight lid. The containers are made of BPA-free, food-grade plastic and are conveniently dishwasher safe. Each set comes with 12 small containers and even includes 24 customizable chalkboard labels for supreme organization.


Mistake: Having a fridge door that doesn’t always close shut

Solution: An alarm for your fridge that lets you know when it’s been left open

There’s nothing like leaving for the day only to come home at night and realize that the fridge door was open the whole time and all your groceries have gone bad. This fridge door alarm comes with two sensors that install easily using double-sided tape and it sounds a helpful alert if the door has been left ajar. There are four modes from which to choose (quiet, medium, normal, and loud) that each beep at regular intervals. With all this alerting, there’s no chance you won’t be able to hear the alarm and save those precious perishables.


Mistake: Letting water pool around your faucet every time you wash dishes

Solution: An absorbent microfiber sink mat

Pooled water around the sink faucet can result in constant wiping or hard-to-clean mold. Skip all that when you use this microfiber sink mat that wraps snugly around your faucet using a snap closure. The moisture-wicking mesh material both absorbs water quickly and dries fast, protecting the sealant and grout from becoming mildewy. And if you need more coverage behind the faucet, simply flip the sink mat to face the other direction.


Mistake: Allowing your washing machine to get moldy

Solution: This clever gadget that keeps washer doors propped open

Clothing should smell fresh as a daisy when it comes out of the washer, right? If instead, you’re getting the scent of damp leaves on a rainy day, you might need this washer door prop that keeps air flowing for a mildew-free tub. It uses a strong magnet to mount above or to the side of a front-loading washer door and a flexible, rubber-coated hose that you can bend to any shape to hold the door slightly ajar. The prop won’t scratch the surface of the washer and makes it easy to keep your washer smelling fresh.