Woman washing hands in kitchen sink

9 things you're cleaning too often.

Last Updated: June 3, 2021

You're cleaning these nine things too often. Tell the haters that Grove told you so — and backed it with evidence! We talked with Lead Grove Guide Angela Bell to find out more.

Some of us have always been super clean people, and some of us have never experienced being called a "clean freak" in our lives. And yet, since Covid-19, almost all of us can relate to watching reruns and cringing when the actors get within six feet of other people or touch anything communal.

After a year of constant cleaning, many of us may now fall into the "cleaning-obsessed" category. But while a clean home and good hygiene are important, it's all about balance, and constantly cleaning some household items and certain body parts can cause damage, wash health benefits down the drain, or speed up wear and tear.

Here are nine things you’re probably cleaning too often. So reign it in, tiger — and when you do clean these things, use natural, nontoxic products that won’t poison your home or the environment.

What is Grove Collaborative?

From natural household to personal care, everything at Grove is healthier for you and the planet — and works! We recommend monthly shipments and product refills that you can edit or move at any time. No monthly fees or commitments required.

Can you wash your body too much?

First up, your beautiful bod. Save for cleaning your three extra funky parts — your armpits, groin, and feet, which are prone to fungal funtimes — you don't need a thorough scrub in the bath or shower every day.

In fact, here’s what you don’t want to clean every day.

Your body

Squeaky clean isn't all it's cracked up to be when it comes to your largest organ, which is meant to have good bacteria present. Washing your body too often removes all that good bacteria, and your skin may suffer from a lack of those good guys helping to prevent infections, promote wound healing, and fight against UV damage and skin cancer. So, skip the daily shower, and let the good bacteria do their job of keeping your skin healthy and glowy!

Illustration of clean hair flowing down a person's back.

Your hair

Shampooing your hair every day strips natural, hydrating oils from your scalp that keeps your locks healthy and strong. Unless you have super-fine hair or you exercise intensely every day, you can get away with washing your hair two or three times a week — or less, if you have super thick or curly hair. Use natural, eco-friendly shampoo and conditioner for optimum health and shine, and when you need a quick touch-up, try a natural dry shampoo instead of a shower.

Your hands

Hear us out before you call us crazy. In a pandemic world, we know it's a hard sell that you can wash your hands too often. But in the comfort and safety of your abode, you can put the hand sani away. Experts recommend you only wash your hands. after using the loo, before preparing food, and after touching a public surface, some random animal, or someone who’s sick. Too much hand washing robs them of healthy, immune-building bacteria that keeps you healthy.


Dirty hands are healthy hands!

It’s true — to a degree, anyway. Research shows that excessive hand washing and sanitizer use increase the risk for antibiotic resistance, which means that when you get an infection at some point later on, antibiotics may not work for you.

If you have kids, frequently disinfecting surfaces around the home and encouraging frequent hand washing may reduce your child’s ability to build up natural resistance to bacteria and viruses and could leave them — and you — more susceptible to the run-of-the-mill viruses and infections going around.

Grove Guide Angela Bell says “During those times when I find frequent hand washing unavoidable, I choose my soap wisely. Foaming hand soaps or oil based bar soaps can be easier on the skin and having a moisturizer sinkside can go a long way in preventing dry, chapped hands.”

Which household items are you cleaning too often?

Illustration with laundry items on blue background

Your clothes

Washing your clothes too frequently causes unnecessary wear. By all means, wash your socks, underwear, and workout gear after one wearing (or don’t!) — but unless they’re visibly dirty or stinky, wear your everyday clothes a few times before you wash them. Your clothes will last longer, and you’ll save time, water, electricity, and detergent — and reduce your impact on the environment. Read our Ultimate Laundry Guide to learn how to go green in the laundry room.

Angela Bell’s Grove Tip: “I like to keep a good, enzyme-based stain remover on hand to spot clean clothing. This allows me to embrace my mess-prone life yet still look fresh without washing the entire garment. Just spray onto the stain, allow to sit for a few, and blot clean with a wet cloth.”

Bed linens

Another bit of good news! Your bedding doesn’t need to be cleaned nearly as frequently as you've been led to believe. It’s a good idea to wash your sheets and pillow cases every two weeks or so, but you can wash your blankets, duvets, pillows, and other bedding at the end of every season. If your animals sleep on the bed, cover your duvet in a lightweight, easy-to-remove cover, and launder it every couple of weeks when you do the sheets.

Yellow dishwasher illustration

The dishes

Woot woot! Science has solved the "to rinse or not to rinse?" debate once and for all. The verdict? Rinsing dishes before you put them in the dishwasher wastes water and reduces the effectiveness of the detergent. Pre-rinsing prevents detergent enzymes from sticking to and dissolving food so the water can wash it away — and it can waste more than 6,000 gallons of water per year. Scrape leftover food off your dishes, but leave the rest for the detergent!

Cast iron pans

PUT. THE. SOAP. DOWN. Step away slowly. Your cast iron pan does not want to be washed with soap and water after every use! And cleaned in the dishwasher? Have mercy! Soap strips the valuable seasoning right off the pan. And the seasoning — the accumulated oxidized oils that make it non-stick — is the whole point of cast-iron. Cleaning cast iron is usually a matter of a hot-water rinse and a quick oiling. Overdoing it will end in tears.

Blue bathtub illustration

Bath toys

Trust us — your kid probably needs more frequent cleaning than the bath toys do! After bathtime is over and your sweet babe has savored every last drop of water, rinse the bath toys under the running tap, and hang them to dry in a mesh bag. Once a month, mix 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar in a gallon of warm water, soak the toys for 15 minutes, squeeze out excess water, wipe them down with a clean sponge or microfiber cloth, and air dry.

Everything wood

Ever had too much of a good thing? For your wood furniture and floors, too much wood polish will damage the finish. Wax-based wood polishes leave buildup that just traps more dirt and dust, dulls the shine, and makes it impossible to recoat the wood later on. Dust-mop your wood floors daily, and dry-dust your wood furniture a couple of times a month, but only wash your wood when it needs it, and use a natural wax- and silicone-free wood cleaner.

Angela Bell’s Grove Tip: “I like to keep a microfiber cloth on hand in any room that is wood heavy, like the living room, dining room, and bedroom. When I have a spare moment, I can wipe down surfaces — dry microfiber cloths are great at trapping dust, fur, and dander.”


How to spend all the time you just saved

Now that you won’t be doing all that laundry, furniture-polishing, and showering you have all that newly discovered free time to tackle what you're not cleaning enough! You’re welcome!

clean team logo

Ready to tackle the dirtiest spots in your home? Grove Collaborative has you covered with Clean Team. Each week, we’ll do a deep dive into how to clean a different place or item in your home. No spot is too small — and we’ll tell you how to conquer them all, naturally.