Cleaning & Organizing
31 Things You Haven’t Cleaned in a Long Time (If Ever!)
These areas of your home have been neglected for way too long! It’s time to roll up your sleeves and give them each a deep clean.
Inside dryer and dryer vent
Built-up lint inside dryer cabinets causes nearly 15,000 fires every year. Lint escapes through tiny gaps around the edges of the dryer drum and falls into the cabinet, especially when the exhaust vent or vent cap is clogged and airflow is restricted. The lint can get ignited by electric heating elements, gas burners, or even a spark from the motor, and the flames then travel through the lint-lined exhaust vent. To make sure this doesn’t happen in your house, check the exhaust vent and the inside of the cabinet frequently.
Aerators are found on almost every kitchen and bath faucet, and if water flow slows or becomes uneven, clogs inside the aerator are usually the cause. Fortunately, it’s an easy problem to fix.
Built-up spills and remnants of old food and liquids inside ovens can cause smoke and smell issues. It’s important to clean up big spills as they happen, and make it a habit to put your oven through its cleaning cycle regularly. But when you’re really trying to make your oven shine, you might need to go further. Learn how to clean between the glass panels of your oven door here.
Bath fan grill
Household dust, moisture, and humidity combine to cake bathroom exhaust fans with debris. Often located on the ceiling, you might not notice it at all—much less the fact that it’s dirty. Luckily, bath fan grills are easy to clean. Grab the edge of the cover and pull down. Squeeze the springs to release them from the slots and remove the cover. Learn more about installing and replacing bath exhaust fans.
The trash can
Sure, you put a garbage bag in there, but that doesn’t mean your trash can is free from germs. Just think of those times the trash leaked and who-knows-what lingered in the bottom of that bin. Each time you take out the trash, just spray the inside of the trash can with a disinfectant. Once a month, wash it out with bleach and cleaning with hot water. Here are 17 more tips for cleaning tricky household items.
Car cabin filter
The air filter in your car cabin collects all kinds of debris. A clogged air filter can cause a slew of problems, from issues defogging windows to reduced gas mileage. Most manufacturers recommend changing it every 15,000 miles or so. Learn how to do it here.
Despite being covered with sheets and a mattress cover, your mattress still gets dirty. It’s a good idea to periodically vacuum it and spot clean any stains that may appear. Airing it out outdoors in the sunshine for a few hours can also do wonders for removing any lingering musty smells.
A Swiffer Sweeper floor mop is useful for more than just cleaning hard floors. Use it to dust interior walls and trim, too! Attach a dry cloth to the rectangle end and press it along walls and trim. You can pick up dust, cobwebs, and dirt safely, without having to step on a ladder.
Spend 30 minutes on these simple maintenance steps to keep your fridge running in tip-top shape. It’s hard to believe, but six simple steps will prevent almost 100 percent of refrigerator breakdowns and eliminate those service calls. Follow these tips and you can forget about spoiled food, lost time waiting for repair people, and shelling out $70 an hour plus parts for the repair itself. In this story, we’ll show you how to keep your fridge humming and trouble-free. And we’ll also tell you what to check if a problem does occur. Don’t miss these 20 cleaning tasks you can finish in a minute or less.
Exposed to the elements year-round, your deck does take a beating. Learn how to clean your deck properly and even give it a proper update (in less than eight hours).
Air conditioners need annual cleaning and maintenance, and spring is the perfect time to make sure your AC is in good working condition. There are a few easy-to-clean items both inside the house and out at the condenser unit. Neglecting your air conditioner can cause much more hassle in time and money spent on repairs. Learn the proper way to clean your air conditioner.
You’d think that after running through a cleaning cycle, your dishwasher would already be clean. But you’d be wrong! Food bits find their way into all the nooks and crannies of your dishwasher, leading to bad smells and, eventually, your dishes not getting clean. Learn how to thoroughly clean your dishwasher here.
Does your kitchen sink smell bad? Is it coming from your garbage disposal? Here’s how to clean a garbage disposal and get rid of those disgusting odors. The key: cleaning under the splash guard.
Regular cleaning with a shop vac and standard chimney cleaning tools will prevent dangerous creosote fires. Here’s what you need to know before you get started.
Though vinyl siding tends to stay fairly clean, occasionally you’ll develop harder-to-clean stains that need more than just a quick spray from your hose or pressure washer. Learn how to give your siding a deep clean and really make your house shine.
Blow out debris from your soffit vents to maintain good attic ventilation. It’ll save on air conditioning costs in summer and protect your roof from condensation in winter. Find out the best way to clean soffit vents here.
Window weep holes
Many sliding windows and vinyl replacement windows have weep holes on the exterior bottom of the frame. These holes are designed to drain away rainwater that can collect in the frame’s bottom channel. Weep holes can get plugged with bugs and debris, and if that happens, water could fill up the channel and spill over into your house.
To see if your weep system is working, simply pour a glass of water into the track or spray the outside of the window with a garden hose. If you don’t see a steady stream of clean water exiting the weep hole, poke a wire hanger into the hole, or spray it out with compressed air, and wet it down again. If the little flapper (designed to keep out driving wind) is stuck shut, it can be removed with a putty knife and replaced. These are the 16 traditional cleaning tricks that don’t actually work.
We all have them, and we all touch them. But when was the last time you cleaned your door knobs? It only takes a few minutes to kill any lingering germs (use a bleach-based cleaner)—just be careful not to get any on wood doors or trim, because it could affect the finish. Find out the 8 things professional housecleaners do in their homes every day.
HVAC condensate line
Suti Stock Photo/Shutterstock
When you see water puddling around the furnace with the AC running, you have a clogged condensate drain tube. Condensation from air conditioning coils contains bacteria that can form slime and clog the condensate pan drain tube. You can prevent slime and eliminate drain tube clogs in two easy steps.
Check your water heater
Extend the life of your water heater tank and maintain your water heater’s efficiency and safety with a few minutes of basic maintenance once a year. Learn how to clean sediment from your water heater.
Like anything that lives outdoors, your outdoor light fixtures get dirty. Get in the habit of cleaning and inspecting your outdoor lights once a year, especially checking for any pest nests. The heat provided by outdoor lights makes an ideal environment for mice and other rodents.
Because floors are often covered with stored items and clothes block access to the walls, closet cleaning is often neglected. But who wants to put clean clothes in a dirty closet? Once a year (or once a season), make a point of wiping down or dusting walls, trim, and shelves in your closet, along with giving it a good vacuum. Don’t miss these 13 secrets of people whose houses are always clean.
Your garage floor is bound to get dirty, but if you haven’t swept or washed it in years, it’s time to clean it. Not only will your garage feel cleaner, but you’ll also remove all kinds of nasty stuff (rocks, salt, dirt, and more) that you might otherwise end up tracking into your house. Do you have concrete stains that are more than skin deep? Learn how to remove oil, paint and other concrete stains.
Just think about how many times a day you use a light switch. And no matter how clean you think your hands are, each time you touch the light switch, you’re spreading germs. Wipe your house’s switches down regularly with a disinfected spray or cloth.
The computer keyboard
In addition to the germs on your hands, your keyboard collects crumbs, hair, and dead skin cells. Every two months, use compressed air to get all the crumbs out. And then use a cotton swab dabbed in a little rubbing alcohol to wipe between the keys. Cleaning the keyboard regularly is a good way to stop germs in their tracks.
When was the last time you cleaned behind the refrigerator, including the coils? Periodically cleaning the coils takes just 15 minutes and can help reduce electricity bills while also extending the life of your refrigerator. Try cleaning the coils every six months.
You use your phone throughout the day, but your hands (and face) aren’t always clean, so your phone picks up all that bacteria. Check with the manufacturer for cleaning directions for your phone. And for your landline cordless phone, wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe about once a week.
You don’t need to wash your pillows every week like you do your sheets, but every three months or so, throw them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with hot water to remove dead skin cells and sweat. When drying, add a couple clean tennis balls to help speed up drying and keep the pillow guts from clumping. These are the 10 cleaning myths you need to stop believing.
Just like your phone, you touch the remote with dirty hands, spreading those germs and dead skin cells around. So wipe it down once a week with a microfiber cloth and a little rubbing alcohol, or with a disinfectant wipe.
To make sure your toothbrush is as germ-free as possible, keep it away from other toothbrushes and in a cabinet so it’s safe from airborne bacteria. And replace every three months, and once a week, soak it in an alcohol-based mouthwash. Next, don’t miss 17 more things you always forget to clean.