Hidden Dirt: Overlooked Areas That Need Cleaning

It’s easy to overlook certain areas in the home where dirt can collect. If you stay aware of these spots and clean them regularly, your house will be healthier and smell nicer too!

Cleaning our homes thoroughly means paying attention to both visible surfaces and hidden areas that often accumulate dirt and grime over time. We’re going to look at some areas people tend to neglect, and go over how to clean them.

Hand using small vacuum to clean mattress

Ceiling Fans and Light Fixtures

Ceiling fans and light fixtures are notorious for collecting dust and cobwebs. It is essential to clean them regularly to maintain a hygienic living environment.

To clean your ceiling fan, start by turning it off and placing a drop cloth beneath it to catch any falling debris. Use a long-handled duster or a microfiber cloth to gently remove the dust from the blades. For more methods, check our article on how to clean a ceiling fan.

For light fixtures, make sure to switch off the power before cleaning. Remove any bulbs and wipe the fixtures with a damp cloth or a mild cleaning solution.

Air Vents and Ducts

Air vents and ducts play a crucial role in circulating air throughout your home. Over time, they can accumulate dust, pet hair, and other allergens.

To clean your air vents, start by removing the vent covers and soaking them in warm soapy water. Replace it, and use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove any dust or debris from the vent openings.

Don’t try to suck dirt out of the duct itself. The EPA recommends against that, even when professional contractors do it. It can stir up more dust a pollutants than it gets rid of.

Baseboards and Crown Moldings

Baseboards and crown moldings are often overlooked during regular cleaning routines. However, they can quickly accumulate dust, dirt, and pet hair.

To clean your baseboards, start by dusting them with a microfiber cloth or a feather duster. For stubborn stains, you can use a mild cleaning solution and a soft brush to scrub the surface gently.

Crown moldings can be cleaned in a similar manner, using a ladder or step stool to reach higher areas.

Window Tracks and Sills

Window tracks and sills are prone to collecting dirt, dead insects, and debris. To clean these areas effectively, start by vacuuming out any loose dirt or debris using a small brush attachment.

Next, mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle and spray the solution onto the tracks and sills. Use a small brush or an old toothbrush to scrub away any stubborn grime. Finally, wipe down the area with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.

Behind Appliances

Many of us forget about cleaning behind our appliances, such as the refrigerator, stove, and washing machine. Over time, these areas can accumulate dust, food particles, and even mold.

To clean behind your appliances, start by unplugging them and pulling them away from the wall. Use a vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool attachment to remove any loose dirt or debris.

For stubborn stains or spills, you can use a mild cleaning solution and a sponge or cloth to wipe down the surfaces.

Mattresses and Pillows

Mattresses and pillows are often overlooked when it comes to regular cleaning routines. However, they can harbor dust mites, dead skin cells, and allergens if not cleaned regularly.

To clean your mattress, start by vacuuming the surface thoroughly using an upholstery attachment. Next, sprinkle baking soda over the mattress and let it sit for at least an hour to absorb any odors.

Finally, use a handheld vacuum or a brush attachment to remove the baking soda. Pillows can be cleaned by washing them according to the manufacturer’s instructions or by using pillow protectors that can be easily removed and washed.

Shower Curtains and Grout Lines

Shower curtains and grout lines are often neglected during bathroom cleaning routines. Over time, they can become breeding grounds for mold and mildew.

To clean your shower curtain, remove it from the hooks and wash it in the washing machine with a mild detergent. For grout lines, create a paste using baking soda and water, and apply it to the grout using a toothbrush or a grout brush.

Let the paste sit for a few minutes before scrubbing the grout lines gently. Rinse with water to remove any residue.

Underneath Furniture

Cleaning underneath furniture is often an overlooked task as it requires moving heavy pieces around. However, this area tends to accumulate dust, pet hair, and other debris over time.

To clean under your furniture effectively, start by moving the piece away from the wall or other furniture. Use a vacuum cleaner with an extension wand or a long-handled duster to remove any loose dirt or dust.

If possible, it is also advisable to vacuum or sweep the floor before moving the furniture back into place.

Electronics and Remote Controls

Our electronics, including remote controls, can harbor germs and bacteria if not cleaned regularly. To clean your electronics safely, start by unplugging them from their power source.

Use a microfiber cloth slightly dampened with water or electronic-safe cleaning solution to wipe down the surfaces gently. Pay attention to areas prone to fingerprints or smudges.

For remote controls, remove the batteries and use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean between the buttons.

Washing Machine and Dryer

The washing machine and dryer are essential appliances that require regular cleaning to maintain their efficiency. Over time, these machines can accumulate detergent residue, lint, and mold if not properly maintained.

To clean your washing machine, run an empty cycle with hot water and one cup of white vinegar to remove any buildup or odors. Check out in-depth instructions on how to clean a washing machine.

For your dryer, start by removing the lint trap and cleaning it thoroughly with warm soapy water. Vacuum out any remaining lint from the vent hose or duct.

Vacuum Mattresses

Believe it or not, vacuuming your mattresses is a good thing to do. It gets rid of allergens and other nasties. Do this every 3-6 months or more frequently if you have allergies.

  1. Remove Bedding: Strip the bed of all sheets, pillows, and other bedding.
  2. Use the Upholstery Attachment: Attach the upholstery tool to your vacuum cleaner to help protect the fabric of your mattress.
  3. Vacuum the Top and Sides: Start at the top of the mattress and work your way down. Use short, overlapping strokes. Don’t forget to vacuum the sides as well.
  4. Flip and Vacuum the Bottom: If your mattress can be flipped, do so and vacuum the other side following the same process.
  5. Clean the Bed Base: While you have everything off, vacuum the bed base or box spring.
  6. Deodorize (Optional): Sprinkle baking soda over the surface, leave it for a few hours to absorb any odors, and then vacuum it up.
  7. Protect Your Mattress: Consider using a mattress protector to make future cleaning easier.

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Last Updated:

January 17, 2024