Regular cleaning is a must for any homeowner. Wiping down counters, vacuuming the carpet, mopping the floor, and dusting every nook and cranny are all in a day’s work for you and your family. However, even though your home may look clean at first glance, chances are there you may have missed some key areas that are highly prone to collecting dust, dirt, bacteria, and other gunk that can range from allergens and irritants to even health and fire hazards.
To clean your home top to bottom and eliminate even the most well-hidden messes, check out Blindster’s list of the most overlooked areas in your home that need regular, deep cleaning.
Regularly wiping down your counters, washing your dishes, and cleaning your sink are all great ways to reduce the chances of suffering from food-borne illnesses, but the very place you store your food to keep it safe for long periods of time may be harboring huge amounts of dangerous bacteria. No matter how well-sealed and packaged your food is inside your refrigerator, small spills or food exposed to even small amounts of air can eventually begin to spoil and spread bacteria throughout the surfaces inside your refrigerator.
Make it a point to remove the food, beverages, and condiments from your refrigerator one shelf at a time and give every square inch a thorough cleaning at least once or twice per month. Not only does this keep sticky messes from drying and becoming extremely difficult to remove, but it also eliminates bacterial growth and can even increase the length of time that you food stays fresh.
Because dishwashers are regularly inundated with hot, soapy water, it’s natural to assume that they are self-cleaning and that no further intervention is necessary. However, even the most efficient and powerful dishwasher can’t eliminate the full gamut of food particles that break off of plates, bowls, and silverware and end up on the walls and inside the filters and other moving parts.
To give your dishwasher a deep cleaning, remove the racks and wipe down the exposed surface areas inside the appliance. Then, consult your dishwasher manual to remove the filter and wash it thoroughly, making sure to remove any bits of food that are stuck inside. For a truly deep cleaning, you can even take apart the cleaning arms that contain the spray nozzles to remove any obstructions. Just make sure you know how to put everything back together when you’re done.
After you’ve cleaned your dishwasher manually, run it empty on its hottest cycle with two cups of vinegar on the bottom to finish off the deep cleaning process and ensure that your dishes come out cleaner than ever in the future.
Your baseboards and molding
Although vacuuming and mopping your floors is an excellent way to reduce the amount of dirt, dust, mold, and other allergens are floating around your home, it doesn’t address one of the areas where they collect the most: your baseboards. Pet hair, human hair, and free floating dust tend to collect on and around baseboard ledges and can become a dingy color over time. The same is true for any molding in your home, especially near windows and doors.
To clean these areas of your home, use a gentle cleaner or make your own by combining equal parts water and vinegar. Apply the mixture to a paper towel or rag and gently wipe it along the exposed areas while scrubbing any areas with heavy amounts of accumulated gunk. You may be surprised by how much brighter and cleaner your floors, walls, and windows seem in comparison after you’re done.
Your pets’ beds and toys
Pet beds are magnets for fur and dander, and when those accumulate in one area, they can be allergens to people who normally have no issues being around pets. In addition, pet beds and toys are also prime breeding grounds for pests such as lice, fleas, ticks, and other critters that your pets may bring in from outside.
To keep pet beds clean, use a large lint roller to collect any large accumulations of hair. Then, if it’s machine washable, toss it in the washing machine to loosen up and remove any remaining hair, dander, and dirt. Depending on its size, either dry it in the dryer or let it air dry.
To wash your pets’ toys, wipe them down with anti-bacterial wipes or put them in the wash. Make sure to let them dry completely before handing them back over to your pets.
Your hard to reach places
Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not chock full of dirt, dust, pet hair, and other gunk that would clean up on sight in other places in your home. Places like the tops of your doors, your ceiling fan blades, the top of your cabinets, and the top of your refrigerator can all become full of allergens in no time—especially if you have roaming cats that enjoy surveying the landscape of your home from a high perch.
Use a paper towel and rag and a gentle cleaner and go over these spots at least once a month to cut down on the amount of dust and dirt freely circulating through your home.
Your most used items and switches
Light switches, door knobs, oven/microwave controls, faucet and refrigerator handles, and television remotes, tablets, and cell phones are the most commonly touched areas in our homes, and yet they often go months or even years without getting a thorough cleaning. These objects are breeding grounds for bacteria—especially if someone in your home is sick—and should be cleaned on a regular basis.
Make a note of everything you touch in a single day in your home, and then wipe down the surfaces of all those areas.
Your cleaning products
Yes, even your cleaning products need a good cleaning every once in a while. Brooms, mops, vacuums, buckets, and even cleaning spray bottles themselves can accumulate dirt and bacteria and should be wiped, soaped, and rinsed on a regular basis. Cleaning vacuums is especially important, as clogged vacuums are much less effective at removing trapped dirt and dust in carpet and can actually spread allergens in the air that are inside their bags, canisters, and filters.