I pick up and clean my house a little bit every day. Although, some days my kids are bigger tornadoes than others so the cleaning seems constant. I do follow a cleaning schedule where I do a little bit every day and it only takes 15-20 minutes instead of a major hours-long cleaning and sacrifice time with my family on the weekend.
However, over the years, I’ve found little spots to add to my list that are dirty and usually forgotten about. These aren’t the typical places you clean like the bathroom and floors, countertops and surfaces but you see and touch them every single day.
I also like to streamline my cleaning routine and only use one cleaning product to tackle everything. I quite literally use Branch Basics for countertops, bathrooms, windows, stainless steel, pots & pans, laundry, floors, walls and sticky finger marks, clothing and carpet stains and grease.
It’s a non-toxic, plant and mineral based cleaner that works better than 100% of all the other “green” products I’ve tried.
Here are the 13 spot in your house you may not be cleaning already (at least not as much as you probably should be), but really need to start including in your cleaning routine.
Think of how many times you, your kids, their friends, your partner, your friends, neighbors and guests touch the doorknobs in your house. The frontdoor, backdoor, bathroom and bedroom doors… and the list goes on and on.
Those doorknobs are covered in germs and bacterium and when you touch the doorknob and then something else, you are effectively spreading germs constantly.
Now think about how often you wipe down the doorknobs with disinfectant? Probably not a lot or even, next to never?
The next time you clean the bathroom or the kitchen and have your disinfectant spray out, walk around and wipe down the doorknobs in your house. It adds an extra 5 minutes to your routine.
Keep hand soap in the bathrooms and be in the habit of washing your hands throughout the day, knowing you’ll be touching doorknobs. Wash your hands when you’re out of the house or carry a safe disinfectant spray (not hand sanitizer which the FDA just deemed unsafe) because think of all the things you touch every day – elevator buttons, public transportation, public doors at restaurants and retail as well as those restrooms – all have a host of germs on them.
Air vents and receivers is where your air enters and exits the HVAC vents in your home. You don’t want these full of dust and allergens and circulating in the air.
Most air vents can be easily unscrewed and wiped down with a spray and cloth or cleaned with a high powered vacuum if the receivers are not removable.
Air filters in the HVAC system need to be changed every 3 months, but also aim to wipe down – especially take the time to remove and wipe them down – air vents to clean out the build-up of dust that has collected.
Have you actually looked inside and at the bottom of your toothbrush holder?
The leftover water and toothpaste residue has probably dripped to the bottom of the holder and collected in a gunky, maybe even moldy mess and your toothbrush is millimeters from touching it every time you plunk it back in there.
Yes, we all may clean our bathrooms regularly, but the toothbrush holder is the most missed and grimiest spot you cannot keep forgetting.
Wash it with hot water, soap and a bristle brush or pop it in the dishwasher if the top is removable.
Trash cans house well, trash. It’s a stinky, rotten, and gross environment and truthfully, all your crumbs and scraps aren’t always making in the bag. Residue may leak from the bag or slip through the sides and will leave your trash can with a unpleasant funk unless you clean it.
Clean the trash can with disinfectant spray and a solid scrub or if the build-up has accumulated over time, hot water, soap and elbow grease will do the trick.
Vacuum cleaners are mostly bagless nowadays but they do come with filters that build-up with dirt and dust and need to be cleaned themselves. Not only are the dirty filters gross, but they hinder the optimal performance of your vacuum.
You can chose to buy a replacement filter, or simply clean the filters yourself.
- Remove the lid to your vacuum and pull the filter out. (I have the Shark Navigator so I only have two filters, some brands and styles may only have one. Make sure you remove all of the washable filters.)
- Rinse the filters with tap water until all of the dirt in the filter is flushed out
- Squeeze out all the water from the filter
- Let the filter(s) dry for at least 24 hours. You do not want to put them back in damp!
- Return the filters to the vacuum and start cleaning! You’ll notice that your vacuum performs better and picks up more from the floors as well.
A word of caution: if you put the filter(s) back into the vacuum before it is entirely dry, the wet filter will begin to stink and each time you use your vacuum, your entire house will be left with a mildew/wet-animal stench.
Cleaning your refrigerator is probably not on your cleaning list and so it’s one of those once, maybe twice, a year jobs you put off until you can no longer stand it.
I’m guilty of this as well because I used to only clean ours once a year and it was usually leading up to the holidays when I need to purge of extras that have built up in the fridge and are taking up valuable real estate where our turkey or leftovers need to squeeze in.
A word to the wise, I’ve switched my ways and clean our fridge before every major grocery trip (once a month) and when I do it this often, I can clean out the fridge and leave it sparkling clean in 20 minutes or less!
Here’s a great tutorial on how to clean your refrigerator in 20 minutes
You can’t just sleep on a mattress every single night for years without cleaning it – that’s plain gross.
Think of the dead skin cells, dirt and oils that rub off your body, sweat, the pets that jump up on the bed, the kids with shoes, the dust, pollens, illnesses you battle during the winter months, and stains that make their way through the sheets.
You don’t need to clean the mattresses in your home every month, but you do need to periodically give them a little love.
- Vacuum – get rid of dirt, dead skin cells, crumbs and other things that are on the surface
- Get at the Stains – spot clean the stains with a homemade mix of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish soap. Spray the treated areas and then blot/rub with a clean towel. An upholstery cleaner with a brush also works great to get out tough stains. Blood stains can be removed by blotting hydrogen peroxide.
- Lift the Smells – Deodorize your mattresses with baking soda. Sprinkle it on the mattress and let it absorb for a couple hours before coming back and vacuuming it off.
- Give it some Fresh Air – When you’re stripping the sheets off your bed, throw open the window and give the mattress some fresh air. It helps with naturally deodorizing as well as eliminating bacteria.
- Wash Your Sheets Regularly – this helps to eliminate build up like dead skin cells, body oils, sweat and such to get all the way to your mattress and cause unpleasant odors. It’s also more sanitary!
Consider purchasing a mattress protector and cover to preserve the life of the mattresses in your home. As a bonus, instead of having to scrub your mattress, now you’ll just throw the mattress protector/cover in the washing machine and it can do the hard work for you (though a little fresh air is still a good thing!)
REMOTES & CONTROLLERS
Remotes for the television, sound system, home entertainment system, game controllers and other gadgets you have in your home collect germs and dirt quickly, just like doorknobs. They’re touched all the time and are a petri dish for germs.
You don’t want to use something like a spray that has too much water base and can get into the devices and ruin them, but instead use a cloth blotted with rubbing alcohol and wipe down your remotes regularly. Lysol wipes are also a great solution.
Trust me, I had no idea that my washing machine – something that’s job is to clean other things – actually needed to get cleaned itself.
That was until I had a bit of an egg-like odor coming from it after a couple (months was more like it) wash cycles. Low and behold, washing machines (mine is a top loaded and known for this unattractive feature) can harbor mold and unpleasant smells.
Aim to clean your washing machine once a month –maybe every 3 weeks if you’d doing laundry every single day with a big family or little kids.
Check out this tutorial for an an eco-friendly recipe to clean your front-loading washing machine.
DUST COLLECTING AREAS OVERHEAD
Think of all the things in your home that are overhead or hang up high – ceiling fans, pictures, the top of doors, curtains, curtain rods, the top of doors, the top of the refrigerator and draperies.
All of these places trap dirt, allergens and dust without being so obviously seen.
- Once a week – walk through with a wet rag and wipe down the doorways and windows
- Every 2 weeks – dust ceiling fans, pictures, artwork
- Once a month – wash, fabric steam and dry curtains and draperies. Clean the top of the refrigerator (I cut a piece of paper and put it on the top of the fridge and when I got to clean it, all I have to do is throw the piece of paper or cardboard away and put up a new one.)
FAUCETS, SHOWER HEADS & DRAIN COVERS
Especially in wet and damp areas, scum can build up and clog faucets, shower heads and drain covers quickly. Mineral deposits will leave faucets and shower heads with less than optimal performance and can even reduce the water pressure in your home.
Be sure to wipe the drains in the your sink from deposits, the drain in your showers and baths and of course, remove the hair build-up that can accumulate and also cause drainage problems.
To clean showerheads and faucets, fill a large ziplock bag with vinegar, tape it to the shower head or faucet (duct or electrical tape works well) and let it sit for 15 minutes. Wipe them down and they’ll be good as new.
You can also fill a bowl with vinegar and drop in drain discs and pulls if they are removable, otherwise try scrubbing with vinegar and a brush (bristle brushes can scratch hardware so use a soft brush) to clean off any build up.
INSIDE & OUTDOORS LIGHT FIXTURES
Do you ever lay in bed and look up at your light fixture and see a dark spot in the center? Do you knock on someone’s door and while you wait for them to greet you, you see their front porch light has an gross dark black spot in the center of it?
Do you know what those are? Bugs. Lots and lots of dead bugs and dust and allergens and dirt that have houses themselves in those beautiful lights.
Clean out and wipe down light fixtures at least once a month to remove the icky stuff that just call your light home. Don’t forget lamps and outside porch and patio lights.
You talk on your phone when you’re sick, you touch it with dirty hands all day long, what you have on your skin rubs off on it, what you eat probably rubs off on it too – and to back that up, a study by Stanford students concluded that the average personal phone is 18x dirtier than the handle of a toilet.
In fact, Stanford’s testing concluded that anything from E. coli to bacterium from strep throat and other contagious bugs you and other’s around you have recently been infected with, can be carried by portable phones.
The Stanford study found that once the germs are on the screen of your device, 30% of the germs will make their way onto your hands, and well… from there probably your face, skin, body, etc.
- How to Have a Mess-Free Home While Raising Kids
- Clean and Disinfect Your Refrigerator in 20 Minutes
- Daily Habits for an Organized Home
- Little Areas You Forget to Clean That Make Your House Look Dingy
- Create a Cleaning Schedule That Doesn’t Take A lot of Time