10 Household Items You’re Definitely Forgetting to Clean

In theory, we know the basics of spring cleaning. Throw out or donate the things you will never use again, dedicate some time to deep cleaning windows and floors, and rotate your seasonal linens. However, some of the items that require the most attention this time of year are also the ones we typically ignore.

Enter: Michael Dimopoulos, Thumbtack cleaning expert and founder of Lazy Susan’s Cleaning Service. We chatted with the pro to get the inside scoop on the oft-neglected nooks and crannies that should definitely make it onto our to-do list. The good news? Most of these things can be tackled with common household staples. 

Toothbrush Holder

No one wants to see that buildup of grime, so on a daily basis, be sure you’re rinsing your toothbrush in hot water to kill germs and remove any paste from the handle. Once a month, spray hydrogen peroxide all over the holder and let the formula sit for a few minutes before washing it off. 

Underneath Rugs and Carpets

“Out of sight” doesn’t mean “a great place to hide dust and dirt.” Vacuum this area weekly and remove stains on the textiles themselves with hydrogen peroxide—it won’t harm or discolor the fabric like bleach or a harsh household product would.

Mops and Brooms

Hydrogen peroxide strikes again: Dimopoulos suggests dousing these items with the stuff regularly. The key to disinfecting tools is letting them fully dry. If there’s still an odor, though, it may be time to replace them (and you should do this every six months anyway). In a pinch, a few drops of lavender oil on the head of the mop will also do the trick.

Underneath Appliances

Use a multipurpose cleaner to sanitize the area. It takes mere minutes to do and ensures there’s less temptation for mice and roaches.  

Refrigerator (Inside and Out)

Remove everything from the door and shelves first, then use a plastic, non-abrasive scrubber to get rid of crumbs and stains. (Dimopoulos uses a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm water, or a mixture of two tablespoons baking soda and a quart of warm water.) For stubborn spots, consider using nongel toothpaste. Repeat this routine every two to three months. 

Ceiling

Especially if you’re living in a city, where most people don’t have an exhaust range hood in the kitchen, the ceiling and walls can collect a lot of grime and grease. Wiping the surface with a mixture of one part vinegar and three parts water will take care of it quickly.

Coffee Maker

Stain buildup comes from coffee being left in the jug too long. The best way to prevent this: Wash the container with dish soap and hot water at least once a week, letting it soak for a while. For a more thorough clean, spritz the whole machine with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, then scrub it down (use a handled brush for hard-to-reach areas). 

Washing Machine

Spray the rubber seals down with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, then give them some love with a scrub brush or toothbrush.

Light Fixtures

Microfiber cloths (or a feather duster) and a solution of one part vinegar, three parts warm water will have your lamps and pendants sparkling in no time. Dip one of your cloths into the liquid, and gently wipe down each light (avoid the fabric shades). Then immediately dry them off with a clean cloth. 

Houseplants

Especially in the winter, when heating runs 24-7 and the windows are shut, dust stacks up. Grab a fabric softener sheet—it will pull away dust on your greenery as well as eliminate static cling, which means fewer particles to clean off in the future. Frequently go over plants with a traditional feather duster, too (microfiber cloths are too heavy and will break the leaves).

Then breathe easy in your new (debris-free!) space.

See more cleaning stories:
The Ultimate Home Cleaning Cheat Sheet
The Home Essentials You Should Be Replacing in the New Year
How to Deep Clean Your Entire Home in Under 3 Hours