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35 Things You Don’t Clean But Should ASAP

These areas of your home have been neglected for way too long! It’s time to roll up your sleeves and give them each a deep clean.

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Cleans Light Switches Using Disinfectant Wipe Gettyimages 1211886751Grace Cary/Getty Images

Light Switches

Just think about how many times a day you switch on the lights. No matter how clean you think your hands are, each time you touch the light switch, you’re spreading germs.

Dampen a cloth with your favorite cleaner, and wipe them down regularly.

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Swiffer Sweeper for dusting wallsFamily Handyman

Walls

A Swiffer Sweeper floor mop is useful for more than just cleaning hard floors. Use it to clean interior walls, too.

Attach a dry cloth to the rectangle end and press it along your dusty walls and trim. You can pick up dust, cobwebs and dirt safely, without having to step on a ladder.

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remoteBossNid/Shutterstock

Remote

Gross as it may sound, your TV remote is covered in germs and dead skin cells if you don’t clean it on a regular basis.

Wipe it down once a week with an alcohol-based wipe or spray that contains 70 percent alcohol. Then dry the surface thoroughly. (Check out more cleaning tips straight from the CDC.)

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white bed sheets pillowsWilliam Potter/Shutterstock

Pillows

You should wash your pillows about every four months or so. Throw them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with hot water to remove dead skin cells and sweat.

And when drying, add a couple clean tennis balls to help speed up drying and keep the pillow guts from clumping.

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cleaning phone screenprogressman/Shutterstock

Phone

As much as we’re on our phones, it’s no wonder they’re covered in bacteria.  Clean it daily using disinfectant wipes with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol or a disinfecting spray (spritzed onto a cloth, not directly on the phone).

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Pile-of-messy-clothes-in-closet.-Untidy-cluttered-woman-wardrobevarandah/Shutterstock

Inside Closets

The next time you’re deep cleaning the house, don’t forget your closets. Once a year (or once a season) make it a point to declutter; then wipe down and dust the walls, trim and shelves in your closet and give it a good vacuum.

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outdoor lightsFamily Handyman

Outdoor Lights

Like anything that lives outdoors, your outdoor light fixtures get dirty. Get in the habit of cleaning and inspecting your outdoor lights once a year, especially checking for any pest nests.

The heat provided by outdoor lights makes an ideal environment for mice and other rodents.

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Hands with glove wiping doorknob antibacterial wipemartinedoucet/Getty Images

Door Knobs

We all have them, and we all touch them. But when was the last time you cleaned your door knobs? (Or one of these other high touch surfaces?)

It only takes a few minutes to kill any lingering germs (use an alcohol-based cleaner) — just be careful not to get any on wood doors or trim, because it could damage the finish.

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deep clean mattressNew Africa/Shutterstock

Mattress

Despite being covered with sheets and a mattress cover, your mattress still gets dirty. It’s a good idea to periodically vacuum it and spot clean any stains that may appear.

Airing it out outdoors in the sunshine for a few hours can also do wonders for removing any lingering musty smells.

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cleaning vinyl sidingFamily Handyman

Vinyl Siding

Though vinyl siding tends to stay fairly clean, occasionally you’ll develop stubborn stains that need more than just a quick spray from your hose or pressure washer. Learn how to give your siding a deep clean and really make your house shine.

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Air conditionergalinast/Getty Images

Air Conditioner

Air conditioners need annual cleaning and maintenance — Spring is the perfect time to make sure your air conditioner is in good working condition. There are a few easy-to-clean items both inside the house and out at the condenser unit.

Neglecting your air conditioner can cause much more hassle and money spent on repairs. Learn the proper way to clean your air conditioner here.

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woman power washes a deckFamily Handyman

Deck

Exposed to the elements year-round, your deck does take a beating. Learn how to clean your deck properly and even give it a proper update (in less than eight hours).

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Rear View Of A Young Woman Taking Food To Eat From RefrigeratorAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Refrigerator

Your refrigerator is the most important appliance in the kitchen because it has the critical job of keeping the food you eat fresh and bacteria-free. Regular cleanings help on both counts.

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towels in front of dryerub-foto/Shutterstock

Dryer

Built-up lint inside dryer cabinets causes more than 15,000 fires every year. Clean out the lint trap before and after every use, and clean the dryer vent at least once a year.

The interior of the dryer should be wiped down with a damp cloth about once a week.

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Woman cleaning a red ovenstock_colors/Getty Images

Oven

Built-up spills and remnants of old food and liquids inside ovens can cause smoke and smell issues. It’s important to clean up big spills as they happen, and make it a habit to put your oven through its cleaning cycle regularly.

Easy-Off is one of our favorite oven cleaners, or check out these methods for cleaning your oven without chemicals.

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Photo-Of-Utensils-Arranged-In-Dishwasher-In-KitchenAndrey_Popov/Shutterstock

Dishwasher

You’d think your dishwasher is pretty much self-cleaning, but unfortunately it’s not. Food bits and grime find their way into all the nooks and crannies of your dishwasher, leading to bad smells and eventually, your dishes not getting clean. Learn how to thoroughly clean your dishwasher here.

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garbage disposalTolikoff Photography/Shutterstock

Garbage Disposal

Does your kitchen sink have a funky smell? It’s probably coming from your garbage disposal.  Be sure to clean under the splash guard with a sponge or an old toothbrush, then throw citrus peels down the drain and run the disposal with hot water.

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cleaning soffit ventsFamily Handyman

Soffit Vents

Blow out debris from your soffit vents to maintain good attic ventilation. It’ll save on air conditioning costs in summer and protect your roof from condensation in winter. Learn the best way to clean soffit vents here.

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Clean Weep HolesFamily Handyman

Window Weep Holes

Many sliding windows and vinyl replacement windows have weep holes on the exterior bottom of the frame to drain away rainwater. Weep holes can get plugged with bugs and debris.

To clean them, poke a wire hanger into the hole, or spray it out with compressed air. Check out more of our favorite window cleaning tips from the pros.

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cleaning bath vent fan

Bath Fan Grill

Household dust, moisture and humidity combine to cake bathroom exhaust fans with debris. Luckily, bath fan grills are easy to clean. Grab the edge of the cover and pull down. Squeeze the springs to release them from the slots and remove the cover.

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shutterstock_165369353 cleaning the garbageMonkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Trash Can

Sure, you line it with a garbage bag, but that doesn’t mean your trash can is free from germs. Who knows what lingers in the bottom of that bin thanks to trash bag leaks. Each time you take out the trash, spray the inside of the trash can with a disinfectant.

Once a month, wash it out thoroughly with bleach and hot water. Here’s a secret for keeping your garbage can fresh and odor free.

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dirty dusty keyboardTHONGCHAT MANMONTRI/Shutterstock

Computer Keyboard

In addition to the germs on your hands, your keyboard collects food crumbs, hair and dead skin cells. Yuck. Every two months, use compressed air to get all the crumbs out. Then use a cotton swab dabbed in a little rubbing alcohol to wipe between the keys.

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refrigerator coilsSanti S/Shutterstock

Refrigerator Coils

When was the last time you cleaned behind the refrigerator, including the coils?

Periodically cleaning the coils takes just 15 minutes and can help reduce electricity bills while also extending the life of your refrigerator. Get in the habit of cleaning the coils every six months.

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shutterstock_301521827 washer and dryer closetArtazum/Shutterstock

Washer

We know you wash your clothes regularly, but did you know the washer itself still needs cleaning?

Once a month, run an empty load with just hot water and bleach. Front load washers are especially prone to unpleasant smells and liable to mold if not cleaned on a regular basis.

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holderScott Rothstein/Shutterstock

Toothbrush Holder

Your toothbrush isn’t keeping its germs to itself. A study from public health organization NSF International found that 64 percent of toothbrush holders contained mold and yeast, compared to 27 percent of toilet seats.

Most holders can go in the dishwasher, which will get rid of any icky residue and the germs feeding on it, so toss yours in weekly or monthly.

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Coffee makerxiaorui/Shutterstock

Coffee Reservoir

You probably clean the coffee pot, but you’ll want to give the whole machine a deep clean every once in a while — NSF data show that coffee reservoirs can be even dirtier than toilet seats and toilet handles. Leaving the reservoir open when you’re done making coffee will help clear out the moisture germs love.

Every now and then, clean the reservoir by filling it with equal parts water and vinegar. Turn on the machine so the vinegar cleans the carafe, plus eliminates mineral buildup in the machine’s pipes. Once the pot is done, “brew” a pot of plain water to eliminate any traces of vinegar.

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Shower caddy with soap, shampoo and two towelsSukpaiboonwat/Shutterstock

Shower Caddies

Hanging shower caddies are a convenient spot to stash your shower necessities. But often shower caddies are covered with soap residue and shampoo drips. You may be able to simply rinse down the caddy during your shower.

For more stubborn soap scum or mold, let the caddy soak in hot water with a little bleach. Once it’s clean, hang it up to dry thoroughly before returning your products to the caddy. Here’s our favorite shower caddies that don’t get gross.

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range hood filter

Kitchen Range Hood Filter

The standard way to clean the filter from a kitchen exhaust fan is to stick it in the dishwasher.

If that doesn’t get your filter clean, try an auto mechanic’s approach: buy water-based degreaser at an auto parts store, fill your laundry tub with hot water and degreaser, and let the kitchen filter soak for a few minutes. After that, all it takes is a rinse to clean a kitchen filter.

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brushShutterstock / Davydele

Hairbrushes

Even if you pull the hair out of your hairbrushes and combs, they should still get a little rinse off every so often to get rid of any lingering debris and residue left behind from your hair products.

Give them an overnight soak in warm water and baking soda (seriously, what can’t baking soda do?) to have them feeling brand new.

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curtainShutterstock / Koldunov Alexey

Shower Curtains

Your shower curtain attracts all kinds of yucky mildew and more from being in a moist environment, so it’s best to give it a good wipe down with baking soda or a turn in the washer every once in a while.

Learn how to make your own cleaning solution with simple ingredients.

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dirty dryer ventFamily Handyman

Dryer Vent

A plugged dryer vent will cause your dryer to run inefficiently, and that’s bad. A plugged dryer vent could also cause a house fire, and that could be deadly! Remove the vent from the back of the dryer to clean it.

Suck debris from the ducts with a wet/dry vac, or ream them out with a cleaning kit that includes a brush on a long flexible rod that attaches to a power drill. If your ducts need replacing, get smooth metal ducts, which will stay cleaner longer than the rough corrugated surface of flexible ducts.

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Fresh Toilet BrushFamily Handyman

Always-Fresh Toilet Brush

Toilet brushes are relegated to a filthy task, and the thought of what’s leftover on that brush can leave people a little queasy. So put a splash of Pine-Sol in the bottom of the brush container. Not only does this help to deodorize a bathroom, but it also disinfects the toilet brush.

Here are 12 more cleaning products that’ll keep your bathroom fresh, clean and safe.

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HH Hair Zip Clean Under FridgeFamily Handyman

Under Your Fridge

The space between your fridge and the floor is a magnet for pet hair, dust, food crumbs and other small trinkets. And if gone too long without cleaning, it can attract ants and other pests.

To make this cleaning task less difficult, use a hair trap cleaner (also called a drain cleaning zip tool), which sells at home improvement stores for under $5. This hair trap won’t leave scratches on the floor and can reach further than a vacuum cleaner attachment. 

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man vacuums a vacuum filterFamily Handyman

Bagless Vacuum Filter

Vacuum owners empty the dirt canister but often don’t clean the filters. Plugged filters lead to an overworked motor. Take the vacuum out to the garage and clean the pleated filter with a shop vacuum. Some pleated filters have a special coating that you can damage, so be gentle with the shop vacuum nozzle.

Here’s a handy list of other vacuuming mistakes that are keeping your home from being as clean as it can be.

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faucet aeratorFamily Handyman

Faucet Aerators

Aerators are found on almost every kitchen and bath faucet, and if water flow slows or becomes uneven, clogs inside the aerator are usually the cause. Fortunately it’s an easy problem to fix.

If you spot rust on your chrome faucet, check out how to clean rust from chrome bathroom fittings.

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