In theory, we know the basics of spring cleaning. Throw out or donate the things you know you will never again use, dedicate some time to deep cleaning the open spaces, and rotate your seasonal pieces. But what about the things we’re forgetting?
Turns out, some of the items that require the most attention are the ones typically ignored. Enter: Michael Dimopoulos. The Thumbtack cleaning expert and founder of Lazy Susan’s Cleaning Service definitely knows a thing or two about getting your home in order, so we asked him to share his expertise. And in news budget-conscious cleaners everywhere are sure to appreciate, his cleaning hacks can be replicated with household items you probably already own.
From the unexpected to the unseen, here are the frequently overlooked items to add to your spring cleaning checklist, ASAP.
This is one of the most noticeable areas of neglect, but very easy to maintain. It’s surprising how many people are lazy rinsers and neglect to remove all the toothpaste, causing a buildup of grime mixture. Rinse the toothbrush frequently in hot water to kill germs and prevent any solid paste from building up on the brush. Spray hydrogen peroxide all over the toothbrush holder and let the formula sit, as this will kill all the germs, break down any possible buildup of grime, and keep your toothbrush holder looking new.
Underneath rugs and carpets
Out of sight doesn’t necessarily mean a great place to hide dust, fluff, and anything else a broom or vacuum cleaner missed. This area should be thoroughly vacuumed weekly, both underneath and over top. Spots of dirt can be removed with hydrogen peroxide, as this will not harm or discolor the fabric like a bleach or harsh household products would.
Mops and brooms
It amazes me how many households use mops, but [don’t take the] time to thoroughly rinse and disinfect the very same tools used to clean their floors. I spray my mops and brooms with hydrogen peroxide and let the formula dry on its own. The key to a disinfected mop comes from letting the mop dry without the smell of dirt and bad odors caused by lack of rinsing. If there’s an odor, then it may be time to replace, which you should do every six months. A few drops of lavender oil will also do the trick.
This would have to be the most common breeding ground for germs, crumbs, and dirt. It takes a second to clean underneath, not to mention there’s less temptation for mice and cockroaches. Make the effort and use a decent multipurpose cleaner to clean and sanitize these areas.
Refrigerator, inside and out
I use 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 removing stubborn stains, consider using white toothpaste. Use a plastic non-abrasive scrubber to scrub the stains. Remove everything from the fridge first, and follow this process every two to three months.
It’s astonishing how many people never clean the ceiling! Especially living in [a city] where most people don’t have an exhaust range hood in the kitchen, the ceiling and walls collect all the grime and grease. Regular attention is imperative to manage the work of the elbow grease that will be required to clean these areas, as the longer it’s left the harder it will be to remove the grime. A mixture of one part vinegar and three parts water is great for maintaining the cleanliness of these areas.
The buildup of coffee stains come from coffee being left in the coffee jug too long, and the best way to prevent this is washing with dish soap and hot water, then letting it soak for a while at least once a week. Spray the coffeemaker with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide, then scrub it with a brush or toothbrush in the hard-to-reach areas. Everything disappears within seconds, bringing a clean sparkly result.
Hard-to-get grime in washing machines’ rubber seals looks awful. Similar to the coffeemaker, spray with vinegar or hydrogen peroxide and scrub with a brush or toothbrush.
Lighting always seems to be neglected, and unfortunately it shows dirt more than anywhere else. Microfiber cloths (or a feather duster, which I prefer) and a diluted vinegar cleaning solution will have them sparkling in no time. Mix one part vinegar to three parts warm water, dip one of your cloths in, and wipe down each lamp to gently dissolve any grime. Don’t use on fabric lamp shades! Use a clean, dry cloth to dry each piece immediately.
A weekly dusting of your ceiling fixtures, chandeliers, and recessed lighting is important, but it’s just as important to give them a deep cleaning once or twice a year. Remembering to dust regularly will make the deep-cleaning process much easier.
In the winter months where all apartments are closed up, there’s a lack of fresh air, and heating runs 24/7, dust and dirt accumulates on plants and is difficult to remove once there’s a buildup. Use fabric softener sheets, as they pull away dust and prevent static cling, which means less dust in the future. Frequently dust with a traditional feather duster, as the microfiber dusters are too heavy and will break the leaves.
This story was originally published January 1, 2016. It has been updated with new information.
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
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