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19 Home Items You Should Be Cleaning Every Month

Do these simple yet often overlooked cleaning tasks monthly to avoid major messes and costly repairs down the road.

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clean a washing machineWatrinya R/Shutterstock

Washing Machine

It’s recommended to have your washer go through a cleaning cycle once a week, depending on how often you are using the machine. If you aren’t using it as often, it’s recommended to give it wash (both inside and out) once a month. Since most clothes/patterns require a cold wash, hot water isn’t moving through the machine often. The first thing you can do is wash the machine with hot water—bleach included. This will help to kill off whatever bacteria or bugs are currently residing within your machine.

If your washing machine has a funny odor, it probably means there’s some mold to deal with. We have a nifty trick on how to fix a smelly washing machine.

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cleaning garbage disposal

Garbage Disposal

The best way to clean out your garbage disposal is with baking soda and white vinegar. Take half a cup of baking soda and a cup of white wine vinegar, and put both down the sink. After a few minutes, pour some boiling hot water down, too. Next, fill the drain with some ice cubes, and add a cup of salt, which will help to remove debris. Finally, add lemon halves to the disposal and keep both the water running and the garbage disposal on.  Here are 15 things you should never put down your garbage disposal.

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cleanblinds_505996420 clean and dust the window blindsSimon Kadula/Shutterstock

Baseboards and Blinds

If you let your mini blinds build up too much dust and dirt, they can be impossible to clean. The more you spray and wipe, the more you just spread the dust and grease buildup. Here’s how to effectively clean them.

It’s difficult to thoroughly wipe both sides of all blades using a cloth—all while trying not to damage any of the delicate pieces in the process. Well, this handy hint will help you do just that in less time than ever before.

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Air conditioning unit John Royal/Shutterstock

Check HVAC Filters

Bodrozic says you should replace your air filters at least four times a year, but it’s best to check them once a month. This keeps air in the house healthy and your system running efficiently because they are not clogged with debris or dust. We’ll walk you through cleaning your AC condenser unit yourself.

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clean dishwasherFamily Handyman

Dishwasher Filter

Remove the filter and wash it to make sure all food particles are gone. Then sprinkle a cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and let it sit for 12 hours. Then add a cup of vinegar and run a hot cycle.

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sweepGiovanni Cardillo/Shutterstock

Sweep the Garage, Patio and Walkways

Sweep out your garage, patio and walkways to keep them clear of debris. If you do this job once a month it will be significantly more manageable over time.

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ISTOCK/BRIANAJACKSON

Refrigerator Grille

The top or bottom of your refrigerator has a grille that you can detach to get access to the compressor and cooling coils. This builds up dust over time and blocks airflow, which can burn out your refrigerator’s cooling system. Learn everything you need to know about repairing your refrigerator here.

Plus: Learn how to clean a stainless steel sink.

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cleaning the sofaantoniodiaz/Shutterstock

Vacuum Upholstered Furniture

Sprinkle a generous amount of regular baking soda onto the fabric and let it sit for at least 20 minutes. The baking soda will help to release odors and break up some light stains in the fabric.

After about 20 minutes, remove the baking soda—and the funky smell—with a handheld vacuum or a hose attachment for your large vacuum.

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tub drainISTOCK/SB-BORG

Inspect Sink and Tub Drains

If you notice that your sinks or tubs aren’t draining as quickly, there may be a buildup causing a blockage. The first thing to do is try to remove anything that is obstructing the pipe manually using a pipe cleaner to pull debris through the plughole. Second, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by some hot water, which should clear things out. Here’s more info on how to clear a clogged sink drain.

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toothbrush grout cleanerTanyaRozhnovskaya/Shutterstock

Grout

Save your worn-out toothbrushes because they’re great for cleaning grout. Just apply a little bit of detergent to the head of the brush. It works especially well on corners. Cleaning grout is a pain but here’s a tip that might make it so you never have to do it again.

Does your grout need more work than just cleaning? Here’s how to repair it.

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shutterstock_7512736 cleaning dusting light fixtureBrian McEntire/Shutterstock

Ceiling Light Fixtures (One Room Per Month)

Cleaning light fixtures on a monthly basis keeps your fixtures from becoming covered in dust. To clean ceiling fixtures wipe the fixture with a cloth and remove the globe or pan for a quick shine as well as dumping any bug remains. You'll be surprised how much brighter the light is with a little cleaning.

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range hoodISTOCK/PAULPRESCOTT72

Range Hood Filter

The purpose of the range hood filter is to collect grease, so over time, it will become less effective as the grease builds up. To clean them, simply remove them and place them in a sink full of hot water, dishwashing liquid, and baking soda. Leave to soak for 10 to 15 minutes. If needed, scrub the remaining grease off with a brush, and then rinse clean. Dry the filters with a paper towel before replacing them.

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Lubricate Garage Doors

Your doors are probably a series of panels that are connected with hinges and have either metal or plastic rollers on each side. Use an appropriate lubricant, depending on metal or plastic rollers, to keep your garage door operating smoothly and prolong its useful life.

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vent grilles furnace smellsinxti/Shutterstock

Air Vent Covers

You may not notice the air vents in your home regularly, but they can quickly build up dust around the vent covers. Dust them monthly to keep dust from blowing out into your rooms. Wipe down the nearby wall as well to remove any dust that has accumulated there.

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scrubbing area rugalvintus/Shutterstock

Throw Rugs

Rugs are great at trapping dirt and dust so it’s important that you wash them on a regular monthly basis. No need to hire a professional, you can clean your area rugs yourself! Learn how to properly clean area rugs yourself with this step-by-step guide.

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Windows

A monthly cleaning for windows includes cleaning both the inside of the glass and cleaning the windowsills. Use a glass cleaner to remove streaks on the windows. If you wait for an overcast day, you can reduce the chance of leaving streaks on the glass.

Check out the basic window washing equipment you need and the simple steps to follow for fast, clear results when cleaning windows.

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Microwave

Appliances like the microwave take a lot of abuse. At least once a month, treat them to a deep cleaning that renews them to their original glory. Scrub down the inside and outside of your microwave oven. You can clean your microwave using these three simple pantry items.

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cleaning-ceiling-fanFamily Handyman

Ceiling Fans

If it has been a while since you've cleaned your ceiling fan, take a look up. You're likely to see a ton of dust and dirt clinging to your fans. Dust the ceiling fan at least once a month to keep it looking nice, functioning well, and prevent all that dust from being dispersed in the air.

Plus, here are the chores your kid should be helping you with, depending on their age.

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HH cleaning around lint trap on dryerFamily Handyman

Dryer

Even if you empty your dryer’s lint trap before each load, chances are there is still lint buildup around the area that could potentially cause a fire. So it’s important to deep clean the area once a month, and this handy hint will get the job done.

Wrap a clean rag around one end of a paint stir stick. Remove the lint trap and clean out the area with the rag-covered stick. To help the lint stick to the rag, dampen it with water first.

You can get your dryer pristine with these additional tips.