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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.

Laundry machine at workPung/Shutterstock

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.

Close up dripping water drop of faucet in the bathroom , save water conceptAliceAbob/Shutterstock

Faucet aerators

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.

Detail of open kitchen oven. Copy spacealexandre zveiger/Shutterstock

Oven

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.

sticky and dirty full of dust exhaust ventilation fan on ceiling with copy spacenutcd32/Shutterstock

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.

Garbage can on the way waiting for garbage truck.Vipada Kanajod/Shutterstock

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.

FilterChris002/Shutterstock

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.

Memory foam mattressIvelin/Shutterstock

Mattress

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.

Female cleans a dirty wall at home with professional rag.VH-studio/Shutterstock

Walls

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.

refridgeratorAndrey Popov/Shutterstock

Refrigerator

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.

Wood deck floor cleaning with High Pressure Water JetFeng Yu/Shutterstock

Deck

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 conditioner compressor outside unit.Nuroon Jampaklai/Shutterstock

Air conditioner

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.

Build-in dishwasher with opened door in a white kitchen Raisa Suprun/Shutterstock

Dishwasher

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.

Food waste left in a sink. CloseupTolikoff Photography/Shutterstock

Garbage disposal

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.

Smoke raising from a chimney in wintermanasesistvan/Shutterstock

Chimney

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.

vinyl siding near a window frame on a new houseMichael Moloney/Shutterstock

Vinyl siding

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.

Close up of white exterior home detail of white vinyl siding and white vent with white soffit and dark green fascia, and a hint of blue sky on a sunny day.Pam Carnell/Shutterstock

Soffit vents

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.

Bay window in a brick house with reflection of trees and view of windows and flowers inside and flowers and elephant ears outsideSvineyard/Shutterstock

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.

a handle on a door that is turned to release the latchwittaya loysoungsin/Shutterstock

Door knobs

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.

cool air conditioner system on white wall roomSuti Stock Photo/Shutterstock

HVAC condensate line

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.

Copper heating pipes system close upbeccarra/Shutterstock

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.

lamp light on the wallCasilmarch/Shutterstock

Outdoor lights

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.

Large wardrobe closet with different clothesAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Inside closets

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.

Clean two car garage in a normal suburban home. trekandshoot/Shutterstock

Garage floor

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.

Lightswitch on concrete wallPhurinee Chinakathum/Shutterstock

Light switches

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.

KeyboardSergey Mironov/Shutterstock

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.

Texture of Refrigerator Condenser CoilsJesse33/Shutterstock

Refrigerator coils

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.

Natalie Board/Shutterstock

Washer

Just because you’re washing clothes regularly, it doesn’t mean your washer doesn’t need cleaning. Once a month, run an empty load with just hot water and bleach. On the flip side, these are 10 ways you might be over-cleaning your house.

Side body of african businessman using mobile phone mimagephotography/Shutterstock

The phone

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.

Soft pillows on comfortable bed, top viewNew Africa/Shutterstock

Pillows

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.

31 Things You Haven’t Cleaned in a Long Time (If Ever!)M-SUR/Shutterstock

The remote

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.

eco natural bamboo toothbrushes in glass on rustic background with greenery. sustainable lifestyle concept. zero waste home. bathroom essentials, plastic free itemsBogdan Sonjachnyj/Shutterstock

Your toothbrush

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.

Originally Published on The Family Handyman