16 Commonly Overlooked Things You Should Clean
A deep clean gets to the spots that aren’t part of the general routine. Grab your gloves and tackle these areas and objects that too often go forgotten.
Cleaning the Kitchen
Trash Cans - Leaks and spills occasionally happen, creating unpleasant odors, and neglecting to clean your trash receptacle once in a while can also attract vermin. Rinse the interior and fill it with water to soak and help loosen any caked-on material. Sanitize using a kitchen cleaner or mixture of one tablespoon bleach per gallon of water.
Light Bulbs/Fixtures - You may be surprised at what you find when you remove the shade. Dust, bugs, and kitchen grime easily accumulate in light fixtures in this area. If the fixture is glass, carefully remove it, dump out the moths, crane flies, and beetles, then wash and dry the glass carefully. The light bulbs may also require some attention. Turn them off, then gently wipe the bulbs with a soft cloth to remove any accumulated dust. Replace any glass shades securely, and don’t forget to take a look at any recessed lighting where dust and cobwebs like to appear.
Under Appliances - Food and dust bunnies can easily get trapped underneath the stove and refrigerator. Move the appliances to allow access underneath and behind, then sweep or vacuum the debris. And since you've already moved the refrigerator away from the wall, you can also unplug it and clean the compressor.
Under the Sink and Tops of Cabinets - The cabinet under the sink is often used for storage, and can be especially dirty if you keep a trash can there. Remove any cleaning supplies to evaluate the area. Sweep or vacuum debris before wiping surfaces down with kitchen cleaner, scrubbing any dried-up spills that may have cropped up. Cabinet tops where dust and grease settle can be especially challenging to clean, especially if you cook frequently, or if you’ve forgotten these spots in your deep clean for a few years. A scrub brush and heavy-duty grease cleaner will help cut through the grime.
Baseboards - In a place where food prep happens, spills are bound to happen. Cleaning the spill on the floor is a given, but splatter can build up over time on the baseboards hidden underneath the cabinets. You might as well wipe out the cobwebs and collect the dust bunnies that were also hiding under there. And while you’re at it, continue cleaning the baseboards in all the other rooms, too, especially near entryways that get a lot of foot traffic.
Cleaning the Bathroom
Lights - Hopefully, the reminder to clean the light bulbs and fixtures in the kitchen will prompt you to take care of the ones in the bathroom and other rooms. Flat surfaces or exposed bulbs may not appear dirty, but if you’ve been living in your space for a while and haven’t thought about cleaning them, now’s the time.
Toothbrush and Holder - If you haven't scrubbed your toothbrush in a while, give it a brushing of its own, and pour out the gross stuff that has developed inside the holder. Try not to lose your lunch while washing it up!
Cabinet Handles - These get daily use, so you would think they would get a daily cleaning, but who has time for that? Get out your bathroom cleaner, spray the handles down, and wipe them thoroughly. You can also use the bleach water solution suggested for kitchen cleaning to sanitize them if you prefer.
Cleaning Bedrooms and Living Room
Doorframes/Window Frames - This is a great place for dirt to rest undisturbed until it’s time for the deep clean. Dust the tops of the frames, and wipe down the fronts and sides with an all-purpose cleaner to remove smudges and scuff marks that have accumulated since you last cleaned.
Curtains - Wash or dry-clean according to instructions. If removing the curtains is difficult, or you simply can’t handle living in a fishbowl while the interior of your house is available for the rest of the world to look in, try these techniques to tackle the chore. And don’t forget the curtain rods while you’re at it.
Ceiling Fan - If you live in a warm place, you may run your ceiling fan constantly, so you won’t notice the dust that's accumulated on the blades. Turn the fan off and you’ll be surprised by the thick line of dust clinging to the edges and attached to the blades. Wipe carefully and thoroughly, getting the bulbs and fixtures, too, if you have them.
Remote Controls - You may have multiple remotes for the various pieces of technology in your home like the tv, sound system, and cable box—unless you’ve programmed a universal remote, in which case, congratulations! Whether you have one or five, they need to be sanitized once in a while.
Light Switches and Door Knobs - With so many hands touching these surfaces so often, who knows what germs are on them. Disinfecting or sanitizing, especially during cold and flu season, is a wise decision. After that, make them part of your regular deep clean, if they aren’t already on your regularly scheduled cleaning to-do list.
Corners - Cobwebs form easily in areas that don’t get much traffic or attention. Take some time to collect them with a duster, or just the handle of a broomstick, so your house doesn’t look like you’re decorating for Halloween in July.
Cleaning the Laundry Room, Front Porch, Garage
Washing Machine - Newer models have a setting that reminds you to clean after a certain number of washes, but whatever kind you have, wiping down interior parts of the machine should be part of home maintenance. Consult your manual for the specifics, and at the very least, wipe out the dispensers for laundry soap, bleach, and softener, ideally without using harsh chemicals.
Vents and Hoses - Vacuum the back of the dryer where lint can accumulate, and the inside of the lint trap after you’ve already emptied it. And unplug the machine to stay safe when cleaning the vent.
Door Mats - These keep us from tracking dirt into the house, so consequently, they get dirty. Spray them using the jet setting on your hose to remove leaves, dirt, and other debris that has lodged in the coarse fibers.