In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to overlook certain areas of our homes that silently accumulate dust, grime, and clutter. While regular cleaning often tackles the more visible spaces, there are hidden nooks and crannies that should be getting more of our attention. Join us on a journey through the secret spaces of your home that need cleaning.
Refrigerator: Your refrigerator has coils in the back that accumulate dust over time. If not cleaned, this can affect your refrigerator’s efficiency. Periodically move your refrigerator, unplug it, and vacuum the coils to keep it in good working order.
Dishwasher: Have you ever opened your dishwasher and gotten a strong whiff of rotten food? Your dishwasher has a filter that traps residue and loose particles of food during a cleaning cycle. If the filter gets full or clogged, it can’t effectively do its job. Keep unpleasant odors at bay and your dishes sparkling by regularly removing and washing the filter (found on the interior floor of the dishwasher). After that, run a special cleaning cycle with a commercial dishwasher cleaner or a combination of distilled white vinegar and baking soda.
Stove: Cleaning your stovetop after cooking a meal is no doubt important. But if you have a freestanding range, have you ever checked the sides you don’t usually see? If you pull the range out, you may be surprised to find some leftovers from dinners past spilled down the sides or crumbs on the floor. Take 10 minutes every now and then to wipe and sweep these parts you don’t see.
Washing Machine: Your washing machine has a drain pump filter that is meant to collect lint, hair, and debris. If not routinely cleaned, you may find yourself dealing with poor drainage or deposits on your clothes. Avoid this by locating your machine’s filter. For top-loading machines, check in the tub around the agitator. For front-loading machines, look for the flap in the bottom right corner. If you’re not sure where it is, refer to your owner’s manual. Once you locate it, unplug your machine and place some old towels underneath the filter to catch any drips. Remove it, clean it with soap, water and a soft brush, and replace. If you have a front-loading machine, you’ll definitely want to check the rubber sealant around the tub for hidden mold. If you find any, wipe it down with a mold remover gel or hydrogen peroxide. Top it all off with a washing machine cleaner for the tub and voíla!
Dryer: We clean the lint trap before or after every drying cycle, but how often do we clean the main vent duct? This is not only important to the efficiency of the machine, but to the safety of your home. A clogged dryer vent can become a fire hazard, but the good thing is… preventing it isn’t all that complicated! First, unplug your machine (and disconnect if gas) and put on your safety goggles. Have a vacuum cleaner handy. Remove the aluminum tubing. Brush through the duct, spinning the brush to dislodge the material and making sure to cover all the sides. Vacuum any loose lint, and carefully reattach the tubing. You will need a lint trap brush and hose attachment.
2. Pet Bowls
Although we can’t always see it, our pet’s water bowls can harbor bacteria that can be harmful to their health. This bacteria presents in a slimy buildup called “biofilm.” This bacteria responsible for this can contribute to the development of several types of diseases that can make your pet sick. Therefore, it’s not safe to refill our pets’ bowls over and over. Instead, we should be giving them a fresh bowl for each meal, replacing their water bowls daily, and sanitizing the dishes in between by using a pet-safe disinfectant.
3. Inside the Fireplace
If you have a wood-burning fireplace and you use it, it’s essential to keep the inside clean. Burning wood produces creosote, which is the dark residue that you see coating the interior walls of the firebox and reaching up into the lining of the chimney. This buildup should be removed once a season or whenever the residue thickness reaches 1/8 inch, as creosote can release toxic gases and is highly flammable. Creosote buildup is a major cause of chimney fires.
Hiring a professional chimney sweep to remove the creosote once a year is probably the safest option for homeowners, but if the buildup isn’t too extreme, it’s possible to clean it off yourself. You can use a chimney cleaning log after every forty fires or so. The chemicals in these logs cause soot and creosote to dry up and fall off the walls.
4. Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans are notorious dust magnets. The tops of the blades can accumulate a significant amount of dust, which can then be distributed throughout the room when the fan is in use. Wipe down the blades regularly with a simple wet paper towel.
5. Under Furniture
Dust and debris often find refuge under sofas, beds, and other furniture. Make it a habit to move and clean beneath these pieces regularly to prevent a buildup of allergens and create a healthier living space.
It’s no secret that carpets trap everything! From pet fur, to dirt, to odors, it’s just hard to keep them clean – especially since all that can’t be seen by the naked eye. If you’ve ever seen one of those oddly satisfying cleaning ads pop up on your social media, you’ve seen how solutions to this problem have come a long way. In addition to your vacuum, try a carpet rake or rubber broom. If odors or stains are a problem, you may need to call in a professional carpet cleaner or shampoo them yourself.
7. Baseboards and Molding
Baseboards and crown molding often go unnoticed, but they can collect dust and pet hair. A quick pass with a damp cloth or a vacuum attachment during your regular cleaning routine can keep these areas looking fresh.
8. Window Tracks
The tracks of your windows are easily overlooked but can become a breeding ground for dirt and grime. A small brush or vacuum attachment can help clear out debris, ensuring smooth window operation and a clearer view.
9. Inside Cabinets and Drawers
While we regularly clean the surfaces of our bathroom cabinets and drawers, it’s easy to forget about the interiors that can get cluttered and dirty. Empty them out and wipe down the shelves and drawers periodically to maintain an organized and hygienic space.
10. Air Filters
The air we breathe in our home passes through the filters we put in, yet they often get forgotten. Over time, these can accumulate dust and allergens. This relatively inexpensive item can make the world of difference in the maintenance of your A/C and your electric bill. Depending on the type and thickness of your filter, you may need to replace it more or less often. A good rule of thumb: check them every time you pay your electric bill.
11. Faucet Heads
Take a peek at the bottom of your faucet heads (showers and sinks). If you notice a bunch of gunk, this could be the cause of restricted water flow from those faucets. Hard water, calcium, and lime buildup are inevitable, but can be cleaned. An effective and chemical-free way to tackle the buildup is with a handheld steam cleaner. For extra tough jobs, keep a soft-bristle brush on hand. Another solution you may hear about is a vinegar soak to loosen the buildup, but beware of this method if you have today’s modern gold and bronze faucets, as it could hurt the finish.
As we live in our homes, it’s essential to cast a discerning eye on the less visible areas that often go unnoticed. By incorporating these hidden spaces into our regular cleaning routines, we can create a healthier and safer living environment for ourselves and our loved ones. We recommend creating a calendar in your phone for your home maintenance and cleaning tasks. Input them based on frequency, and set reminder alerts if it’ll help! To get you started, check out this guide: