14 places that probably need cleaning in your house
Just in time for fall cleaning, here is a list of nooks and crannies that are often overlooked.
The United Kingdom’s Good Housekeeping Institute is a fount of knowledge when it comes to keeping a home clean. One particularly helpful list is that of things not being cleaned – nooks and crannies and tools that get overlooked in the frantic rush to clean one’s house overall. Take a peek and you might be surprised at how badly they need a scrubbing.
As we always advocate on TreeHugger, use non-toxic, natural cleaning products like white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, soap flakes, and a fair bit of elbow grease to get the job done. See our green cleaning guide for more information.
Toothbrush holder: Toothbrush holders and the bases for electric toothbrushes can get pretty icky from dripping toothpaste residue. Soak in hot soapy water or put in the dishwasher.
Blinds & Drapes: Dust accumulates quickly on blinds. To clean metal or plastic blinds, wipe with a damp sock and multi-purpose cleaner. For wooden blinds, use a cloth dampened just with water. For fabric blinds, wipe with a microfiber cloth. Drapes can usually be put in the washing machine and hung to dry. The same goes for fabric shower curtains. Wipe down plastic ones or hand wash in the tub.
Tops of appliances: These are often ignored but can be gross dust and grease traps. Wipe down the top of your refrigerator and microwave while cleaning the fronts and sides. And while we’re at it, be sure to clean in between appliances and counters, i.e. that strip of gunk that gets caught between the stove and counter.
Bottoms of rugs: It’s smart to vacuum both sides of a rug, at least occasionally, because dirt does accumulate on the bottom.
Handbags: Handbags are set down on the ground frequently, collecting grime and germs of all kinds, but are rarely cleaned. Learn how to clean your bag by checking the manufacturer’s website or by using a gentle natural cleanser and washing by hand. Dry quickly to ensure no mustiness; a hair dryer is helpful.
Cleaning tools: Don’t forget to clean the cleaners! Kitchen sponges should be soaked in a vinegar-water mixture. Rags, washcloths, and removable mop heads can be washed in hot water. Vacuum filters should be washed every 3 months (some can go in the dishwasher). Vacuum your broom heads.
TV remote: With all those hands using the remote, and with its occasional visits to the floor, a remote can get pretty nasty without you realizing it. Wipe down with a damp vinegar-soaked cloth.
Reusable shopping bags: Turn inside out and wash to get rid of residual food bacteria. I do the same for my cotton mesh produce bags every week.
Hats, gloves, and scarves: Another item used daily during cold weather that often gets neglected, these need to be washed, too. Launder and air dry. Wipe down leather with a multi-purpose cleanser instead of submerging in water.
Gym bag: Some can be washed in the machine; other must be done by hand. Sprinkle interior with baking soda to get rid of stubborn bad odors.
Garbage can and compost bins: Make this part of your regular cleaning routine. Wash with hot soapy water and let dry in the sun, if possible. Sprinkle bottom with baking soda to absorb odors if necessary.
Pillows: Pillows collect disgusting amounts of dust, skin cells, and bacteria over the course of their lives, which means that thorough cleanings are needed on a regular basis. See the TreeHugger guide to washing pillows.
Handles and railings: Don’t neglect toilet handles, door handles, and stair railings. Wipe with a damp cloth and multi-purpose cleaner or white vinegar. Do the same for light switches, while you’re at it.
Ceilings and fans: Dust can accumulate on the ceiling, so give it a good sweep once a year. Use a freshly cleaned broom and a bandanna over your face. Wipe down both sides of fan blades with a damp cloth. Do this before cleaning the floor.