30 Things You Should Clean in the Next 30 Days
It's time to do a deep dive and clean your home.
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Cleaning Tips and Tricks
You know the obvious — wash your towels and sheets. But what about not-so-obvious items like stovetops and coffee pots? Many items in your closet and pantry deserve a good cleaning too, so you might as well take the time to do it. These are the 13 secrets of people who always have a clean house.
Sometimes it’s not enough to clean what’s in front of you. Don’t overlook what’s up above you as well.
“[Ceiling fans] need to be cleaned regularly,” said Jacqueline Janus, cleaning expert and owner of cleaning company Two Chicks and a Broom. “You can’t see up there, but it’s a great place for dust to settle, even if you keep them running. An extendable microfiber duster is perfect for this.”
Prepare Outdoor Furniture
Freezing temperatures outside isn’t an excuse to neglect outdoor furniture.
“Take out your outside furniture from storage to give it a good clean for warmer weather,” said Jennie Varner, brand manager for Molly Maid. “Mix up a mild solution of dish detergent and water to clean umbrellas and cushions, and combine one gallon of water to 1/2 cup of vinegar, 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol and about two squirts of Dawn to clean glass tables.”
There are a few items around the house that you probably never think about cleaning. Window screens are that kind of thing.
“Did you know that rain actually doesn’t make your windows dirty? It’s when rain passes through a dirty screen and carries dirt and debris with it onto your window that you see splotches after an April shower,” said David Flax, vice president of operations for Window Genie. “It’s likely your screens accumulated a lot of dust, dirt, and other contaminants over the long winter, so prevent recurring dirty windows by also having your screens thoroughly cleaned during your first window cleaning of the spring season.”
Here’s another household furnishing frequently overlooked for cleaning: Your trim.
“Trimmings like baseboards/wall moldings, doors, and wall switch plates — these are all things that get a lot of use and need to be wiped regularly to prevent grime build-up,” says Janus. To clean these, he recommends using a damp microfiber cloth, or a Magic eraser if they’re really dirty.
The Kitchen Sponge
The often thankless task of cleaning cutlery, dishes, and random kitchenware goes to the kitchen sponge. In the end, instead of actually cleaning it, you might be better off just tossing it and getting a new one.
You open and close your blinds every day, but how often do clean them? Fortunately, dusting blinds is easy to do.
“Close the blinds and use a microfiber cloth, a clean pair of cotton gloves or an old, clean sock to run your hand along each slat to pick up dust starting at the top and working your way down,” says Varner. “Next, close the blinds in the opposite direction and repeat.”
Outsides of Kitchen Appliances
When cooking dinner or baking a cake for a birthday party, you may not think about cleaning the front of a microwave or the knobs of the oven. But those get dirty, too.
“These items regularly pick up dust, grime, build up from cooking oils, etc,” Janus says. “Clean the front, sides, and top (especially the fridge, it gets really grimy up there).”
“Coffee makers can get dirty inside just like anything else, and if you’re not using distilled water every time you brew, hard water buildup can take a toll,” says Janus. “Mix a 50/50 vinegar and water solution, add it to the water reservoir and start the brew cycle. I would recommend doing this twice, before running it again with just water 2-3 times to clear out the vinegar.”
You may be concerned with cleaning up your credit, but you may also need to clean your actual credit cards, too.
“People often forget to clean the things inside their wallets such as credit cards, bus passes, library cards, and debit cards, even though these quickly accumulate germs,” says Varner. “To clean, wipe down with a damp towel or antibacterial wipe. Use a rubber eraser on the magnetic strip to wipe away excess grime.”
Cleaning the Floor Under Furniture
You’ve heard of sweeping something under the rug as an idiom, but you may have also done this… literally.
“Tons of dirt, debris and grime hide under things like tables, chairs, couches, etc,” says Janus. “Anything you can quickly slide to the side to vacuum and mop when you’re cleaning your floors should be moved, and bigger items you can use the wand or hose feature on your vacuum.”
These are the 13 things you should never, ever vacuum.
Vacuum cleaners are an efficient way to clean your home, but make sure you’re cleaning your vacuum appropriately. Unplug the vacuum cleaner when you’re finished and empty the bag, if applicable.
Refresh the Fridge
When you pull out your milk carton for your morning coffee, are you doing a morning check on the contents of your fridge to see what’s good and what’s…not?
“Increase efficiency, save money and get ready for fresh ingredients by cleaning out your refrigerator,” says Varner. “Clear out old food and defrost your freezer. Use a sponge and a baking powder solution to wipe out the inside of both your freezer and refrigerator.”
It’s tricky to know which foods to keep in your pantry and which to keep in your refrigerator. To clear things up, here are 10 foods you might be storing all wrong. Throwing away expired items is a good idea, too.
Inside of Appliances, Cupboards and Drawers
It may be convenient to place a clean plate from the dishwasher back in the cupboard, but the cupboard needs to be cleaned, too. Janus recommends removing everything from the inside of those containers and wiping down the inside before putting everything back in.
Taking a shower is a great way to wash your hair, body, and generate great ideas. However, your shower curtain needs to be washed, too.
“To clean a dirty shower curtain, put it in the washing machine with two bath towels on the gentle cycle,” said Varner. “Add 1/2 cup baking soda to your detergent during the wash cycle and 1/2 cup vinegar during the rinse cycle. Don’t put your curtain in the dryer, but let in air dry instead.”
“Oftentimes, homeowners focus on the inside of their home during spring cleaning — but after a long, harsh winter, it’s important to evaluate the condition of the exterior of your home as well,” said Flax. “Gutters should be the priority. You want to be sure they’re clean and free of any clogs before the notorious April showers hit. Clogged gutters cause a number of issues throughout spring including water damage, mold, and rotting of your roof and siding, as well as providing a nesting area for squirrels, birds, and mosquitoes.”
Bedroom Pillows and Pillowcases
It may be gross to think about, but if you don’t consistently wash your pillows and pillowcases, you may be sleeping with 1.5 million dust mites. Experts recommend washing pillows a few times a year. And wash or change out your pillowcases whenever you wash your sheets.
You already know to brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day, but there’s another item on the kitchen sink that you may be forgetting to clean.
“People usually remember to clean their toothbrush, but what about the holder where it’s stored?” asks Varner. Thankfully, that holder is pretty easy to clean. “Rinse the holder with hot water and use a clean cloth to wipe down the outside,” Varner says. “Next, fill the toothbrush holder with an antibacterial mouthwash, allowing it to sit for two minutes. Rinse and run the holder underwater and let it air dry.”
Yes, you should be cleaning your car regularly, even in winter. Think of how often you’re in and out of your car commuting to work or going grocery shopping. Then think of the days you accidentally step in puddles or spill coffee all over the car. With your car’s exterior, take more care in colder weather. Angie’s List recommends waiting until the temperature is at least 40 degrees F before washing it.
Gone are the days of popping in your headphones and taking them off without a care in the world. According to Wirecutter, you should be cleaning your earbuds weekly with a soft cloth and soap and water. And be sure to wipe down your headphones after every workout.
On a similar note, you should be cleaning your phone more often than you do. It might be hard to wrap your mind around this, but you should really be washing your phone as often as you wash your hands. Think about it: You take your phone everywhere, and there are germs everywhere.
Baby Bath Toys
Yep, these too. The grime your kids accumulate outside comes off in the tub, making baby bath toys a lot dirtier than you think.
“At the end of each bath time, we recommend soaking all your child’s bath toys in a tub of warm water and mild liquid dish soap for several minutes, then rinse well with cool water,” Debra Johnson, Merry Maids home cleaning expert, tells NBC. “Once dry, store them in a basket or storage bin outside of the bathroom.”
Sometimes heating up food in the microwave makes a mess. But cleaning a microwave extends beyond tidying up a spill. Place wet paper towels in the microwave, and then heat for a few minutes. The steam will break down food on the inside of the microwave. Then wipe down the sides with a towel.
It’s important to remember that your cleaning appliances should be tidied, too.
“Things that clean other items, like your washer or dishwasher, need to be maintained like anything else to make sure they’re cleaning as they should be,” says Janus. “They make tabs you can run through your washer and dishwasher to clean out grime and remove odors.” This is why you should start adding white vinegar to your dishwasher.
To maintain an efficient clothes dryer, make sure the dryer vent is in tip-top shape. That means cleaning the dryer filter and dryer drum after each cycle. And make sure you know these 14 things that should never end up in your dryer
The best way to clean a mirror is with a microfiber cloth in an “S” motion. Contrary to popular belief, moving a cloth back and forth just moves the dirt in the same area.
Pet Water Bowls
Pet bowls are actually quite dirty. Since you don’t want Fido or Fluffy to get sick, it’s best to create a routine to clean your pet’s bowl. Here are 14 cleaning tools every pet owner needs.
Yes, you should clean the silver cutlery more often than you think. And if you’re planning on using it in the near future, you should clean it three days in advance.
Gone are the days of composing letters and doing homework by hand. Instead we do everything online, and that heavy use makes your computer keyboard a repository of dust, germs and what have you. You can actually get sick from your laptop, so it’s best to clean the keyboard and its screen ASAP.