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FilippoBacci/ E+ via Getty Images
FilippoBacci/ E+ via Getty Images
Everyone has their own cleaning routine that they regularly go through, from removing any signs of last night’s casserole dinner from the kitchen counter to scrubbing every surface so the bathroom is absolutely spotless. But there are some places in the home that either get overlooked or people just don't know need to be cleaned in the first place.
Before you start deep-cleaning your home, make sure your cleaning tools are actually clean themselves. If your broom is coated in dirt, you're ultimately only spreading it around your house when you're trying to clean. To clean your broom head, make sure to comb out any debris before soaking it in water and dish soap. Then allow the broom to air-dry in an upright position.
If you don’t clean your mop after every use, there could potentially be hidden bacteria growing in it. If you use a cotton mop, you should rinse it in hot water and white vinegar after every use. Keep rinsing until the water is completely clear. Lastly, soak your mop in lemon juice but don’t rinse it out, allowing your mop head to air dry in a well-ventilated area.
Bathroom rugs get just as dirty as your towels do. Dirt, dead skin and more accumulate there, and even if your feet look clean, you can track contaminants to other parts of your house. Wash the rug as regularly as every week. Make sure to give it a good shake before throwing it into the washing machine. While you’re cleaning your bathroom, be sure to follow these pro tips to deep cleaning your home.
You may not realize how much grime and gunk can build up on your iron’s faceplate, especially if you use it frequently. But you can make it as good as new by cleaning it with vinegar or baking soda. Here are some more natural cleaning tips to follow.
On top of getting tossed in carts and on conveyor belts, reusable grocery bags can get covered in gunk from your groceries, including dirt from vegetables, juice from leaky raw chicken and more. Canvas bags can easily be washed in the washing machine, while recycled plastic bags can be washed by hand in warm soapy water and air-dried. Make sure to give your bags a good wash after every grocery store visit.
Most people know that smartphones and tablets are magnets for germs because they touch all kinds of surfaces. There are plenty of CDC-approved cleaning products that are safe to use on your electronics. But most people don't consider items like their driver's license and credit cards when wiping down their personal possessions. These cards are frequently handled by you and other people and set on all sorts of different surfaces. Use a disinfecting wipe or an alcohol-based sanitizer to clean off any germs.
Washing your sheets and pillowcases is probably part of your cleaning routine, but what about washing your pillows themselves? Dust mites can be lurking in your pillows and are major triggers of allergies and asthma. Your pillow can also accumulate hair, pet dander and more. Check the tag on your pillow to find the washing and drying instructions.
When you use your key to open the door to your house or car, you may not realize that all of the germs that are on your hands can transfer onto your key. To clean them, simply create a warm water and dish soap solution and swirl your keys in it. You can repurpose an old toothbrush to help scrub any dirt inside the grooves and crevices. Give them one more swirl in the solution and then dry them with a towel. It’s important to note that this should be done only with metal keys and not electronic key fobs.
It’s great to start your day off with a fresh cup of coffee. While you might clean the coffee pot, what about the coffee maker itself? Bean debris and hard-water deposits build up inside the machine. Mix up a half vinegar and half water solution and pour it into the coffee maker's reservoir to flush it out. Then run a couple cycles of just water to clear out the vinegar.
While you’re abiding by the rules of the road, you’re touching your car’s steering wheel and dashboard buttons after touching all sorts of surfaces, including gas pumps and dirty exterior door handles. So it shouldn't be surprising how dirty your steering wheel can be. Wipe down plastic parts with a disinfectant wipe and use a leather cleaner with a cotton cloth for any leather surfaces.
After a good workout at home, a nice relaxing shower or bath can hit the spot. While it's more obvious when glass shower doors are grimy, shower curtains can look deceptively clean. Although they're constantly exposed to soap and warm water, that doesn't mean they're clean. In fact, they're a breeding ground for all sorts of mold and mildew. You can run plastic shower curtains through the washing machine on the rinse cycle with a little white vinegar or through the wash cycle with detergent to clean and disinfect.
Even the sturdiest trash bag is prone to leave little bits of food and garbage lingering in your trash can. This can fester and leave unpleasant smells behind even after you take out the trash. Small indoor trash cans can sometimes fit in your dishwasher for a thorough clean. For large indoor or outdoor garbage bins, take them outside, add some dish soap, scrub them out and spray them down with a hose. Make sure you’re also recycling properly the next time you take out the trash.
You probably forget to wipe down the exhaust fans in your bathroom, but they can build up with mold and mildew from the moisture after you take a shower. Wipe the exterior with a microfiber cloth to remove moisture. Meanwhile, in your kitchen, the exhausts are good for removing smoke or steam while you’re grilling up some grub. But grease can build up in the fan filters. So remember to remove and clean the mesh filters and fans in your kitchen exhaust as well.
After cooking some of your restaurant favorites at home, washing the dishes can seem like a tedious task. So you just throw everything into the dishwasher. Even after the rinse cycle, your dishwasher can remain dirty. Hard-water deposits, soap scum and other buildup can cling onto the racks, and food can clog the drains. Scrub these places thoroughly, then run a cycle on hot with white vinegar to clean and disinfect. Don’t forget to clean the filter properly as well.
Growing your own indoor garden can be easy, but your plants still need to be cleaned. Dust accumulates on houseplants just the same as other surfaces in your home. Brush down sleek leaves with a duster or microfiber cloth, or spritz them with water and wipe down. For textured or fuzzy leaves, you can use a toothbrush to get into the grooves.
After hand-washing some dishes, there is a chance that food particles could get stuck down the sink drain. Don’t neglect them, because they can eventually cause your sink to clog up and possibly ruin the pipes. For both kitchen and bathroom sinks, make sure to clean any food particles or hair out from the stopper and soak the stopper in distilled white vinegar. You can also pour white vinegar and baking soda down the drain to help unclog it.
Most people know to wipe down their patio furniture before storing it away for the winter and to do so again after getting it out in time for backyard fun and barbecues in the spring. But many people neglect their outdoor umbrellas, especially the inside. Dirt, moisture and bugs get trapped inside and can stain the fabric, allow mildew to grow and possibly even rust the metal mechanisms in the umbrella. Brush out any debris before washing the umbrella with warm water and laundry detergent. Add bleach to tackle mildew or tree sap stains.
Running over your lampshades with a duster once in a blue moon while you’re organizing your home might not be enough to grab grime that has sunk into the surface. Try wiping it down with a dry microfiber cloth or vacuuming it with an upholstery brush attachment. If your fabric lampshade is stained, soak the lampshade in warm soapy water with laundry or dishwashing detergent, then scrub it clean, rinse and dry.
You may enjoy a crispy slice of toast alongside your scrambled eggs for breakfast, but if you don’t clean your toaster after every use, crumbs will accumulate at the bottom of the toaster. When these accumulate, they can start to burn, creating an unappetizing smell or even catching fire. On top of simply dumping out the crumbs, wash the outside of your toaster using soapy water and a washcloth. Be sure to also wipe down the knobs to make this small appliance as good as new.
Many people empty out their dust cup and replace or clean the filters on their vacuum regularly, but some additional steps are necessary to keep this tool running smoothly. Wash your dust cup with warm soapy water and check if the filter is washable or if it needs to be replaced. Remove the base plate to clean any built-up dirt or hair caught in the beater bar. Finally, wipe down the outside of the vacuum with a microfiber cloth.
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When it’s time to give your bathroom a good clean, you might think you only need to clean outside and inside the toilet bowl. But that’s only half of the job. Toilet jets should be cleaned along with everything else. If the jets are clogged, your toilet will have trouble flushing or take longer to do so. Add a chemical cleaner to the overflow tube in the tank, let it sit for a while and then flush, and the jets should clean themselves out. Add this to your regular home maintenance routine.
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When the weather gets warmer, some people choose to dive into a frozen treat, while others need to be embraced by the cool blast of an air conditioner. But if you don’t clean your air conditioner, it can collect dust on the exterior and interior, or the evaporator and condenser coils can get clogged. Use a soft cloth to gently wipe away any dust on the exterior. Then open the unit and use a soft brush to remove dust from the coils with a coil cleaner. Finally, clean the drain pan with soap and water or a 50-50 mixture of bleach and water.
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After whipping up new popular recipes, you probably focus more on cleaning the exterior of your oven and stove. But the interior also needs to be cleaned. Sometimes there are leftover food scraps that can get baked onto the walls of the oven. Certain oven cleaners can actually be toxic, but you can use baking soda, salt and water to create a solution that is safe to use to clean your oven.
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You might be too busy streaming some happy shows on Netflix to realize that your television is probably collecting dirt and dust. It’s easy to forget about cleaning your television, but while you’re organizing your home, grab a cloth and a window cleaner to gently wipe the screen. Don’t forget about the frame and cleaning behind the television too.
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You should be washing your jeans and other items often, as well as the washer itself. Over time, washing machines can build up soap scum and dirt. Use a microfiber cloth and an all-purpose cleaner to clean the exterior of the machine. Then you can use a cloth, a toothbrush and white vinegar to really scrub inside the machine. Make sure to also clean debris or hair stuck in small cracks.
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For many people, their phones are glued to their sides and carried with them everywhere they go. It’s only natural that your phone collects different kinds of bacteria from your hands and other surfaces. And these germs can spread to your face whenever you’re trying to keep in touch with your loved ones by talking on the phone. Luckily, there is a simple way to rid your phone of germs. You can grab a disinfecting wipe or any 70 percent isopropyl alcohol-based wipe to clean the glass, sides and back of the phone without damaging the device.
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You may not realize that your remote control can harbor a bunch of germs that can spread from your hands to the couch and other surfaces you place it on. Bacteria and germs can live on this surface for hours or days. After you’re done with watching your favorite movie, grab a disinfecting wipe or a sanitizer to wipe around the surface and in between the buttons.
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Whether you’re enjoying a nice weeknight dinner and a movie with the family or a glass of wine while streaming your favorite show, your couch is bound to get dirty or stained and build up grime and dust. Be sure to follow the instructions on your couch’s cleaning tag to properly clean it. Some fabric couches can be cleaned by simply using baking soda, but others may require different forms of cleaning.
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The light switch panel is probably one of the most high-touch surfaces in your home. Your hands come in contact with many things throughout the day, and when you turn your light switch on or off, your hands are transferring those germs onto the surface. All you need is to take a clean soft cloth and dampen it with water or your favorite cleaning product — but don’t soak the cloth. Then wipe over the light switch cover, the light switch toggle and even the wall behind it. It’s important to keep a routine to clean your home regularly, but along with not cleaning everything you should, there are other ways you’re likely cleaning your home wrong.
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