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Spots You Forget to Clean

Even people who are religious about cleaning their entire house every week have some spots around the house that are rarely remembered in the cleaning routine. Basic cleaning gets done regularly, of course. It is unlikely that one would forget to sweep the floor, wash the dishes, process the laundry, or take out the trash, of course, but these are the common cleaning tasks that are usually considered when one speaks of cleaning house. 

Even though these areas may not get cleaned every week, you do not need to panic! Just make a note somewhere to check them occasionally. Chances are, most areas that are overlooked really tend not to get filthy, as a rule, although there are some that may surprise you that you did not think about, since they probably get, if not filthy, then at least full of dust or germs!

Air conditioning filters should be cleaned or replaced regularly. It’s probably good to plan for at least quarterly, if not monthly, depending on how much you run your unit. If you live in an area where the weather is nice enough to leave the heat and air off a lot, then you can change or clean this filter less often. 

Bathroom fans live in a dark, moist environment. They collect stuff just like any other fan, but the stuff they collect is more likely to end up growing mold or mildew if left alone. Making a point to clean them regularly weekly or monthly will help to keep the bathroom environment more pleasant.

Cabinet tops are often missed because they are too high to easily see, but they gather dust and get grimy. Their doors, while more visible, are rarely cleaned because vertical surfaces gather less, but because cabinet doors are touched more than other vertical surfaces, it is a good plan to wipe them down and disinfect regularly. 

Carpet is another one. Even if you vacuum regularly, have you shampooed? Carpet fibers absorb and collect things that vacuums cannot suck out of them. Using soap and water to clean the carpet can rejuvenate the whole room. It is probably best to plan this job for at least twice a year, if not more often. 

Ceiling fans collect a surprising amount of dust and dirt, considering the fact that they’re usually moving. When you turn off the fan, it can be shocking how deep the layer of grime is. Cleaning the blades will make them more efficient, and it will not take too long if done regularly. This one should be weekly, but you might be able to get away with doing it monthly if you use it less often. 

Ceilings, like the fans beneath them, can also gather grime. Especially if you have a textured ceiling, you will want to use a soft brush or duster to clean the ceiling at least quarterly. 

Chimneys can be dangerous if you enjoy fires in your fireplace but never clean out the chimney. While you could do it yourself, it would probably be easier, cleaner, and less dangerous for you if you hire a professional chimney sweep. It is recommended that you clean your chimney yearly, before using it for the first time when the weather begins to cool.

Cleaning supplies, oddly enough, can end up being the dirtiest things in the house! It is common not to think about the possibility of the cleaning brushes, brooms, and dustpans retaining the bacteria and dirt that are swept up with them, but unless they are cleaned out regularly, they will hold on to the dirt and filth.

Coffee makers often come with filters that need to be changed occasionally (more often if you make more coffee in it). Running vinegar through the machine a couple times a month, or after every so many pots (30 or 40), can keep your coffeemaker running at optimal levels. 

Computer mouse and keyboard on each computer in your home (if you have more than one) are touched regularly by fingers that may or may not be entirely clean. Even if your fingers are clean every time you touch the keyboard, it will still collect dust. These items should be cleaned at least monthly. 

Curtains hang at the windows and block sunlight and provide privacy, but they also collect dust, which can make them look dingy and dirty over time. Taking the curtains down and washing them in the clothes washer every quarter or so will keep them looking fresh and lovely.

Dishwashers keep your dishes clean, but what keeps the dishwasher clean? Run it occasionally without dishes, with commercial dishwasher cleaner or vinegar to freshen it up. Remember to check, empty, and clean the filters regularly, too, to keep it at its best.

Door frames often get touched or held as people pass by them. Eventually, the fingerprints or black streaks made by the oils that naturally occur in people’s hands will begin to show up and look very dirty. Cleaning the door frames with an anti-grease cleaner monthly will prevent this from being a problem.

Doorknobs are also touched by nearly everyone who enters and exits the room. These, too, will collect oils and germs. It would probably be a good idea to clean them at least weekly with some sort of detergent or cleaning wipes.

Drains are overlooked because we rinse things down the drain, so they get flushed out, right? But that is not necessarily the case. Because sink drains have a trap  a curve in the pipe to keep heavier things from getting too far and because grease can harden up more quickly than one might hope, the drains can end up clogged and nasty. There are commercial drain cleaners available, but you can also help the drain a lot by dropping some baking soda down into the drain, followed by some white vinegar. Let it react until it finishes, then rinse thoroughly. 

Dryer vents allow the hot air and some lint to go out of the dryer, but sometimes the lint can build up until there is little or no actual venting happening. Cleaning out the dryer vents at least twice a year can prevent more serious problems. 

Garbage cans hold our trash, but if the bag develops a hole or slips, trash can get into the can itself and fester. Outside trash cans can be just as bad. Taking some time every few months to clean these out can make taking out the trash a more pleasant task.

Garbage disposals chew up the food waste and flush it down the drain, but the disposal itself can become very unpleasant. Whenever the sink begins to smell, or a couple times a month, you can clean the disposal with equal parts baking soda and vinegar, or commercial disposal cleaners.  

Inside closets get dusty, and the floor can get contaminated with things that get brought in on the bottoms of the shoes that are stored there. Cleaning thoroughly at least quarterly can keep bacteria from getting a foothold.

Kitchen cabinets can get disorganized, dusty, and drips which can cause them to be difficult to use properly. Cleaning and reorganizing the cabinets will keep the cabinets and the items inside clean, as well as allowing you to keep a reliable knowledge of what is in there. 

Laundry baskets and hampers hold dirty laundry, and therefore can end up dirty. You may be able to deep clean hampers less often if you use fabric refresher spray on them, but at least quarterly it is a good plan to clean out all hampers and baskets so they are clean for your laundry, especially the baskets that may also hold clean laundry after washing.

Light bulbs can get dirty, too. The heat from the bulb can bake on dust and dirt and cause the light to become dimmer over time. When the light has been off for a while, wipe the bulb with a damp cloth to remove the dust and dirt.

Light switches gather oils and dirt from the fingers that flip them. Cleaning them weekly is best to prevent germs from spreading and to keep the switch and switch cover from looking dingy.

Outdoor decks, whether covered or affected by the weather, will also collect dust, pollen, leaves, and other bits. If your deck is covered, there will be less of this, but it is likely to still attract some. Cleaning at least monthly can make the deck a place where people enjoy being together.

Ovens usually get cleaned fairly regularly, but have you ever looked underneath? It is kind of fascinating how much stuff can end up under the oven! Clean under there a couple times a year.

Picture frames gather dust and can look less attractive if dust and fingerprints are left on them. They should be wiped down at least monthly.

Plants need their leaves’ surface area for photosynthesis and for converting carbon dioxide to oxygen. When the leaves get coated in dust, this inhibits the process. Wipe down the leaves of your house plants at least monthly to keep them healthy.

Refrigerator condensers gather dust, which sticks because of the liquid that also condenses there. These can get clogged and cause problems with the refrigerator’s cooling efficiency. At least twice a year, you should pull out the refrigerator and clean the coils and condensers thoroughly.

Remotes are held in hands that may be sweaty, unwashed, oily, used to handle pets, and any number of other things that can then be transferred to the case and the buttons. Using a damp cloth to thoroughly clean the exterior of the remote will keep it in good working order and prevent the spreading of illness and bacteria.

Shower curtains and liners can also get surprisingly dirty, considering the liner gets soaped and rinsed along with the person showering. However, it hangs in the bathroom, which is arguably one of the inherently dirtiest places in a home, no matter how clean it is kept. Therefore, it is a good idea to wash curtains and replace liners at least twice a year, and probably more often. Also, if you close the curtain and liner after showering, it lessens the chance of mildew growing in the folds, since there are none when it is spread out.

Sink stoppers catch food gunk and keeps it from going down the drain. Even if you empty it into the trash every time you get anything in it, things can still end up sticking inside and getting really nasty. Wash it out with a brush and hot, soapy water regularly to keep it shiny and clean.

Sponges and scrubbies soak up contaminants when they are used to clean dishes and surfaces. Drop them in the dishwasher or clothes washer at least every other week, but preferably weekly to keep them from getting stinky.

Telephones, in test for bacteria, were shown to have more than many other household objects. This is probably because of the fact that they are held in people’s hands and are by their mouths, both of which tend to be locations where bacteria, viruses, and such like to hang out. Phones should be cleaned at least weekly.

Tile grout will start to look dingy over time, as it collects dust. Some may begin to grow mold or mildew if left to its own devices. Vinegar and baking soda are great for cleaning grout, or you can use borax or Castile soap. If mold has already taken hold, a 1:1 mix of water and 3% hydrogen peroxide sprayed on it and let sit for about 45 minutes will kill the mold and allow you to renew the original color.

Toilet brushes and holders usually sit by the toilet and every time the brush is used, it is put back into the holder, generally still carrying whatever toilet germs may have been on it. It is a good idea to clean these with bleach or something similar at least monthly. 

Toothbrush holders are usually in the bathroom. Studies have shown that toilet bacteria ends up on pretty much everything in the bathroom, so this is something you will definitely want to clean regularly! It is recommended to clean it at least weekly, but if you do not have it closed away in the cabinet, you may want to increase that to twice a week.

Under the furniture can gather shoes, papers, pet hair, and lots and lots of dust. Tipping the furniture to clean the underside, as well as the floor beneath, should be done at least monthly. 

Under the refrigerator can get pretty grimy, partly due to dust and partly due to condensation. Most refrigerators have a pan that catches drips that then evaporate, but sometimes the floor can end up damp and the dust becomes almost like concrete when it gets wet and then dries. Cleaning this area a couple times a year can help prevent that. 

Vacuum cleaners suck up lots of dirt and junk, but even though we change the bag often, the business end and the pathway the air takes through the machine can get dirty and gummed up. Cleaning the vacuum cleaner at least quarterly may result in better suction and a more efficient vacuum.

Walls and baseboards, as vertical surfaces, are often overlooked in cleaning routines. Wiping down the walls to remove dust and using a damp cloth on the baseboards will keep them looking fresh and clean.

Washing machines clean our clothes, but can retain some of the grime, causing dinginess and possibly causing problems with the machine itself. Cleaning regularly can keep this from happening. Cleaning the outer areas can be as simple as wetting a rag, going over the machine, then tossing it in with the load, while the inner areas may be better cleaned by running an empty load with vinegar. 

Windowsills and screens are not usually on our cleaning lists, either, but they do get dirty. The sills are easy to wipe down, but screens are a bit trickier.  You may be able to get them clean with your vacuum (some come with an attachment that includes a brush), but it may be easier in the long run to pop them out and rinse them with the hose. 

If you found that some of these have never occurred to you before, that is not surprising. It is likely that everyone  even the most stringent clean freak has some areas in the home that regularly get missed.

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