Occasionally you won't notice how dirty something in your house is until it's that dirt is called out. You drop something under your couch and discover a gang of dust bunnies living underneath. You throw open your curtains and find yourself in a front-row seat to a dust dance-off floating right in front of your face. Since it's spring cleaning season, now is as good a time as any to tackle those forgotten areas of your home. And don't feel bad: everyone forgets them! So let's look together at these nine areas of the home that are often neglected, and explore how to give them the care they need.
While you may remember to vacuum your baseboards and trim regularly, they probably haven't had a good scrub in a while. To tackle this chore, start by vacuuming your baseboards to remove any dust and dirt. Next, fill a bucket with warm water and a bit of dish soap, and dunk an old rag into the mixture. Ring out the rag as much as possible, and wipe away the dirt. If you have unpainted baseboards and want to protect the wood, use a wood cleaner in lieu of the dish soap and water. If you're dealing with tougher stains on painted trim, try a melamine sponge. Clean nooks and crannies with an old toothbrush. Wipe your baseboards dry with a cloth when you're finished.
2. Ceiling fans and light fixtures
You've just finished cleaning your living room. It's spotless, you think. Until you look up. Oh no! Those fan blades can collect a lot of dust. Before you to turn them on in the warming weather, give them a wipe down. First switch off the light. Next, grab a ladder and your dusting vacuum attachment (the one with the bristles) to remove the bulk of the dust first. Next, simply wipe clean with a slightly damp cloth. This goes for both the light fixtures in your home and fan blades. While you're up there, go ahead and change the direction of your ceiling fan since it's warming up (for summer, they should rotate counterclockwise to pull cool air down).
3. Light switches
Your hands come in contact with a load of surfaces over the course of the day, and a lot of those surfaces carry bacteria. To eliminate the grime buildup, the best way to clean light switch plates is to use a disinfectant spray or disinfectant wipes. If you're using a spray cleaner, spray onto a cloth - never directly on the switch plate. Wipe the light switch clean with a cloth, and detail clean with a Q-tip. Once your switch is clean, buff dry with a cloth.
While you don't touch wall outlets with the same frequency you do light switch plates, sometimes these get dirty, too. Before cleaning your dirty outlets, consider turning the power off first as an extra safety measure. Of course, do not spray directly onto the outlet. Additionally, do not clean inside the outlet - just the surface, and preferably just the plate. After buffing dry, wait a while before turning the power back on to ensure the surface has completely dried.
I don't know how I forget this chore so frequently, and hopefully you can relate so I don't feel so guilty. My doors are always dirty! The ledges on the door are frequently covered in dust and pet hair, and the bottom half is covered in scuff marks. To clean your doors, use a vacuum to remove excess dust, and a dish soap/water mixture with a cloth to clean. Here are the areas of your doors you should be giving attention to:
- The kick plate
- The knob
- Ledges and railings
- The crack of the door (DUST ALERT! Check behind the hinges, where the door butts up with the wall)
Just like with the baseboards of your home, if you are worried about damaging the door, use a wood cleaner. If your door is painted, you can use a melamine sponge to clean tougher scuff marks.
5. Electronic screens
To clean the electronics in your home and life, grab a clean microfiber cloth. If you can power down the electronic, do so. If your electronics aren't too dirty, circular motions with a microfiber cloth should suffice. If not, add a few drops of distilled water to your cloth and wipe. Never spray moisture directly onto your electronics, and don't use standard household cleaners.
6. Air vents covers
The key to cleaning air vents is to clean dryly. Air vents are dusty, and using moisture could potentially smear the dust onto your walls and ceiling, creating an even bigger mess. Start by turning off the heat or A/C (you don't want all that dust blowing into your face while you work!), then vacuum up what dust you can. Finish off by using a microfiber cloth. Scrub off particularly dirty marks using a slightly damp melamine sponge.
7. Lamp shades
Light shades seem tricky to clean because you can't scrub them. They have to be cleaned, though, because they still attract dust like a magnet. The solution is remarkably simple. Clean your paper or fabric lamp shades is with a lint roller. A couple swipes and it's sayonara, dust!
8. Kitchen trash can
It might look fine from a distance of a few feet, but if you need further convincing that your trash can is nasty, put your face up to it. Yeah, it's gross. Move your can outside (or to your bathtub if you don't have a yard), and hose it down with water. Fill up the bottom with a bit of hot water, then add a cup of white vinegar. Use this water/vinegar solution to scrub the can with a bristled brush. Rinse, and towel dry (or let dry in the sun!).
9. Under the bed
To clean under your bed, you really have to move your bed. This sounds like a lot of effort, but once you uncover how much dust and dirt you've been sleeping just inches away from, you'll be grateful you made the effort. Don't forget to check behind the headboard, too! Use a vacuum and/or a mop to get all those dust bunnies.
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Do you participate in Spring Cleaning? Or do you prefer to do your deep cleaning at a different time of year? What areas of your home slip your mind when you're cleaning? Let me know in the comments!