Cleaning
Brooms, used for cleaning, also need to be cleaned now and again. Photo: Pexels

If you’re like me, when you clean, it’s usually because someone is coming over, and they’re probably allergic to cats. Sure, I maintain the inside of the toilet, wipe the kitchen counters and do the dishes (after they “soak” for a few days), but even when giving it our all, there are tricky cleaning spots that are often overlooked.

 

Here are 10 places that need some TLC and how to clean them.

 

Remotes

 

The dirtiest thing in a hotel room is the top item most people forget to clean. Clenched in our hands or stuck between couch cushions with forgotten cookie crumbs, remotes are often overlooked while we pick up, fluff pillows and run the vacuum.  

 

How to clean: Remove the batteries and wipe down with an anti-bacterial wipe every week. Be sure not to spray a disinfectant directly on the remote.

Dishwasher

For those #blessed to have a dishwasher, this is a commonly overlooked appliance that can get pretty gross. It’s important to remove hard-water deposits, soap scum and any food debris clogging up the works.

How to clean: Clean out your dishwasher filter and clear the drain, then run a cycle on hot with a cup of white vinegar on the top rack. You can follow up with baking soda by sprinkling one cup across the bottom of the dishwasher and running a short, hot cycle.

Home maintenance expert Bob Vila suggests doing this once a month.

Washing machine

Yes, another commonly missed spot that needs to be cleaned is yet another appliance that fills up with hot, soapy water to clean other items.

How to clean: To make sure your clothes come out smelling their freshest in a top-loading washer, pour a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda all in one shot, or run two wash cycles: the first with 4 cups of white vinegar, and the second with one cup of baking soda.

If you have a front-loading washer, clean the rubber gasket first with white vinegar and a damp cloth. Then run a complete cycle with 2 cups of white vinegar and a second, hot cycle using a cup of baking soda.

Wipe out the drum and, if possible, leave the lid open between washes to avoid mold and mildew.

The “Green Cleaning Coach” Leslie Reichert suggests cleaning your washer every six months.

Behind the fridge.

Every so often, despite not being a contortionist with Cirque du Soleil, you have get behind the refrigerator and other kitchen appliances and give them a scrub.

How to clean: Pull your refrigerator out and clean the coils with a coil-cleaning brush and a vacuum. Keeping the coils clear will extend the life of your fridge, which can choke when clogged with dust or pet hair. Wipe down the walls and sides of the refrigerator with a damp rag and soap. Clean the floor.

Apply the same concept to clean behind your stove/oven. If you have a gas stove, be careful not to knock out the hose connecting the gas pipe to the appliance.

Baseboards

Baseboards are on the front lines. Shoes kick up dirt, dust falls from above and pet hair seems to have a major attraction to this often ignored, close-to-the-floor area.

How to clean: Vacuum, run a damp cloth or household cleaning wipes along the surface.

Door frames

Now, look up! The molding around your door and the door frame needs a good wipe, too.

How to clean: Use a duster or soft cloth to wipe the top, sides and entire surface of door frames.

Ceiling fans

While not in use, the blades of ceiling fans can collect a thick layer of dust.

How to clean: Rather than turning on the fan only to get caught in a mini allergy tornado, put a pillowcase over the fan blade and wipe the dust into the pillowcase. Do for each blade.

Shower curtain

Your tub could be sparkling, but it needs the VIP treatment now and again.

How to clean: Toss your shower curtains and liners (hard to de-scuzz anyway, right?) in your washing machine with towels, detergent and a cup of baking soda.

Door knobs and light switches

Light switches, door knobs and handles are touched hundreds of times a day, depending on the size of your household. Wiping bathroom door handles and kitchen cabinet knobs as well as other oft-used door knobs in your home can help reduce germs and your family’s risk of illnesses like the cold or flu.

How to clean: Wipe with antibacterial spray and cloth or use household cleaning wipes.

Cleaning supplies

It might sound odd to clean your cleaning supplies, but think about it: Those brushes and bristles are getting the short end of the dirt and grime stick. If your cleaning supplies are dirty, using them only spreads germs around your house.

How to clean: Shake out dusters. Run cleaning clothes through the wash every week. Scrub toilet brushes, brooms and sponges, and allow them to dry.