15 Overlooked Areas You Must Clean at Home

Cleaning your home is often a routine that you can take pride in. A tidy, fresh-smelling house can be incredibly rewarding. Whether you’re a serial cleaner or more of a once-in-a-blue-moon duster, there are areas in everyone’s homes that are overlooked when it comes to the routine scrub down. From the most obvious surface to the often-unseen nooks and crannies, here are 15 places you are probably forgetting to clean but definitely shouldn’t.

1. Kitchen Appliances

The kitchen is often the heart of the home, and with that, it’s typically the messiest. While you might prioritize wiping down your counters and washing your dishes, what about the appliances that do all the heavy lifting? Grime and food particles can build up inside your microwave, oven, and refrigerator, impacting both efficiency and, of course, hygiene.

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Microwave

Oven

Refrigerator

These appliances often fall victim to the ‘I’ll clean it later’ mindset. However, these handy clean-up instructions can make the kitchen a cleaner place for cooking.

  • Microwave: Fill a microwave-safe bowl with one cup of water and a chopped-up lemon, lime, or orange, or several tablespoons of vinegar—heat the solution until the window steams up. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then wipe out the interior with a soft cloth.
  • Oven: Mix a handful of baking soda with enough water to make a spreadable paste, apply the paste all over the interior surfaces, and allow it to sit for at least 12 hours. Then, scrape out the dried paste and wipe down the interior with vinegar.
  • Refrigerator: Empty your refrigerator, then remove the racks and use an anti-bacterial cleaner to wipe down the inside. When you replace items, consider using shelf liners for easier future clean-ups.

2. Remote Controls

In our modern, technology-infused homes, the remote control is one of the most touched—yet least cleaned—items. From your TV to your air conditioner, these devices accumulate bacteria that you’d likely rather not think about.

Why They Need Cleaning

How to Clean Them Safely

Remote controls can be cleaned using alcohol-based wipes or a cloth dampened in isopropyl alcohol. Be sure to remove the batteries and the faceplate (if possible) to get into crevices and kill the nasties lurking there.

3. Doorknobs and Handles

Doorknobs and handles are some of the most frequently touched surfaces in the home, making them prime spots for the spread of germs.

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Best Methods for Sterilization

Consider regular, quick passes with a disinfectant such as diluted bleach, alcohol, or a cleaner that’s specifically anti-bacterial. Allow the solutions to stay on the surface for a minute or so before wiping dry.

4. Light Switches

Similar to doorknobs, light switches can harbor a surprising number of germs, given how often we touch them and how infrequently we clean them.

Quick Clean Routine

The easiest way to remember to clean light switches is to do it every time you dust or vacuum. Use a multi-surface spray or anti-bacterial wipe to keep them clean.

5. Trash Bins

Remember, the job of the trash bin is to hold your garbage—so it’s no surprise they can be a serious source of odor and bacteria.

Smell-Be-Gone Solution

For regular maintenance, sprinkle the bottom of your trash bins with baking soda. For deep cleaning, soap, water, and a little elbow grease can do wonders.

Related: 10 Dirtiest Places in Your Kitchen

6. Toothbrush Holders

Toothbrush holders are regularly stored in one of the most humid rooms in the house—the bathroom. This makes them a prime spot for mold and bacteria growth.

Dealing with Dampness

Store toothbrushes upright to allow them to air-dry completely and clean the holder weekly with warm, soapy water to prevent mold and bacteria.

7. Washing Machine

While the washing machine is technically for cleaning, it too needs some maintenance to prevent foul smells and the spread of germs.

Cleaning the Cleaner

Run an empty, hot water cycle with a cup of distilled white vinegar to tackle soap scum and mineral deposits. After the cycle completes, wipe down the inside of the drum with a cloth and the vinegar to remove any leftovers.

8. Showerheads

Showerheads can accumulate mineral deposits that not only affect water pressure but can also hide bacteria that gets sprayed all over you during a shower.

Simple Descale and Detox

Unscrew the showerhead and soak it in vinegar or a descaling solution to get the best flow. Don’t forget to clean the filter inside, if you have one.

9. Pillows and Mattresses

You spend around a third of your life in bed, but how often do you clean the things you’re lying on?

Wash and Wait

Pillows can be washed and dried, but make sure to do it in pairs to keep the washer balanced. Mattresses benefit from vacuuming and spot cleaning with a solution of mild detergent and water.

10. Pet Accessories

Fido’s and Fluffy’s belongings need regular cleaning too. Food and water bowls, toys, and even their bed are hotspots for dirt and germs.

Cleaning Up After Furry Friends

Most pet toys can go in the dishwasher, while bowls can be cleaned with warm, soapy water. Bedding should be washed weekly in hot water to kill germs and pests.

11. Children’s Toys

Little ones put everything in their mouths, including their toys. Keeping them clean is more important than just preventing the spread of childhood illnesses—it’s also about building good cleanliness habits.

Easy-to-Clean Toys

Toys that can be submerged can go in the sink with hot, soapy water. Those that can’t should be wiped down with a cloth containing disinfectant or a natural solution like a vinegar-water mix.

12. Computer Keyboards

Keyboards are notorious for trapping crumbs and dust. Regular cleaning can increase the lifespan of your keyboard and reduce the likelihood of transferring germs to your fingertips.

Deep Clean Your Typing Experience

Turn the keyboard upside down and tap it to dislodge any loose debris. Then, use compressed air to blow out what’s left. A slightly dampened (not wet) cloth can be used on the keys and the surfaces between them to eliminate germs and sticky spots.

13. Air Vents

The air vents in your home play a crucial role in air quality, but when they’re caked with dust, they do more harm than good.

Air Flow 101

The best way to clean air vents is to remove the grates and clean them in warm, soapy water. Use a vacuum with a brush attachment on the actual vent to prevent dust mites from becoming airborne.

14. Ceiling Fans

Out of sight, out of mind… until it’s hot and you need to turn on the fan. Dust from ceiling fans can trigger allergies and contribute to a dirty house.

High Dusting Done Right

Use an extendable duster with a microfiber head or a pillowcase to clean blades without spreading the accumulated dust everywhere.

15. Refrigerator Coils

You might say “I don’t see it, so it’s not a problem,” but the reality is, cleaning your refrigerator coils can save you money on your energy bill and prolong the life of your appliance.

Coiling Around Cleanliness

Unplug your fridge, move it away from the wall, and use a refrigerator coil brush or vacuum attachment to clear away any dust or debris that’s accumulated.

Tips for Effective Cleaning

Thoroughly clean these areas at least once a month to keep your home as hygienic as possible. Set reminders or add them to your cleaning schedule to ensure they don’t slip your mind.

  • Create a cleaning schedule that includes these often-neglected areas.
  • Opt for eco-friendly cleaning with natural solutions such as vinegar and baking soda.
  • Keep cleaning supplies close at hand to encourage spot cleaning throughout the week.

Conclusion

Maintaining a clean home is essential for your family’s health and well-being, and while no home is spotless 100% of the time, paying attention to these 15 often-forgotten areas will help you take your cleanliness game to the next level. From maintaining household appliances to regular cleaning of electronic devices and even practicing pet hygiene, these small but significant habits can make a huge difference in the overall cleanliness of your living environment. Don’t delay—start scheduling these tasks into your cleaning routine today for a healthier tomorrow.

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