12 Spots You're Missing That Professionals Always Clean
Homekeeping experts know that the key to having a sparkling clean home means paying attention to details. See the top spots they recommend cleaning.
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The Dirty Truth
You make your bed every day, dust once a week, and keep the books on your shelves arranged just so... but, you’re still missing some spots. Crud can sneak up on you! From the baseboards to the back of the toilet, we asked the pros about the places they always clean and how to get them spotless.
Even if you clean your windows, you’re probably forgetting about the tracks, says Becky Rapinchuk, the author of "Simply Clean" who dispenses housekeeping advice at CleanMama.net. "You open the window, and it’s like, 'Ew, it’s all black dirt!'" Rapinchuk says. Use a scrub brush to loosen the dirt, and wipe it clean with a microfiber cloth dipped in hot, soapy water, she says.
In Between the Stove and Countertop
Mind the gap! It’s a magnet for crumbs, splatters, and little bits of whatever food you’ve prepared in the kitchen. Scrape out crumbs with the tip of a butter knife, then spray a countertop cleaner on a paper towel and wipe the gap. A vacuum with a narrow attachment can suck out the crumbs and goo, too.
They’re not at eye level so they get overlooked, Rapinchuk says. And they collect dust and dirt and get grungy. She cleans them with a microfiber cloth dipped in a mix of warm water and castile soap. She also recommends vacuuming where the baseboard touches the carpet because dirt and dust collect there. "Clean baseboards will make your room look so much brighter and better," she says.
Buy Castile Soap: Target, $15.79
Behind the Refrigerator
It’s freakin' dirty behind your refrigerator. "No one cleans there, ever," Rapinchuk says. "To most people, it’s scary to move a big appliance." Get someone to help you move it out from the wall just enough to vacuum the dust, dirt and lint that collects around it. Rapinchuk uses a Miele vacuum with a Flexible Crevice Nozzle attachment that’s long and thin enough to clean behind and under the fridge without moving it.
Buy Miele Vacuum: Williams Sonoma, $699.95
You touch it every day, many times a day, so the utensil drawer collects dirt and germs from hands and food debris. "People don’t notice the crumbs in the corners or the peanut butter smears on the tray," says Elizabeth Worrell Sprinkle, owner of Bienville Cleaning Service in Mobile, Alabama. Pull out the utensils and the flatware tray, wipe out the inside of the drawer with a damp cloth and run the tray through the dishwasher, Sprinkle says.
Faucet heads harbor mold, bacteria, mildew, lime build-up, and food particles. And most people never clean it, Sprinkle says. "It can make your water taste funky when it’s dirty," she adds. Scrub it with a toothbrush dipped in vinegar or a lime dissolver. "That brush comes out black with mold when I scrub (the aerator)."
Shower Door Track
Even people who clean their bathrooms miss the track in metal shower doors, Sprinkle says. "It can get filthy, [and] make a bathroom smell bad." Dirty shower door tracks can also be a haven for bacteria, mold and mildew. Sprinkle cleans them with a scrub brush and Soft Scrub Multi-Purpose Kitchen and Bathroom Cleanser.
Buy Soft Scrub Bathroom Cleanser: Target, $3.79
Toothbrush Holder and Other Small Bathroom Items
Even people who keep a spotless bathroom miss the crust of toothpaste that coats toothbrush holders. "For the love of God, people, clean your toothbrush holder. It gets disgusting," Sprinkle says. She also suggests cleaning any other items sitting around the bathroom, like that jar of cotton swabs and the facial tissue holder, because bacteria spreads around a bathroom. She recommends giving everything an antiseptic scrub.
Knobs, Handles & Light Switches
Dirty hands grab light switches, door knobs and cabinet handles dozens of times a day, so it should be obvious that these germy spots need disinfecting. But they don’t get cleaned, Rapinchuk says. Wipe down these bacteria hotbeds when you clean the kitchen and bathroom. Don’t forget to clean the plate around the light switch, too, because it gets grungy.
Backs of Toilets
Everybody cleans the inside and top of a commode. But the back of the toilet, especially where it attaches to the floor, needs some TLC, too. If you live with boys, there’s likely to be pee stains back there that can make your bathroom smell like a truck stop urinal. It’s a gross job you can make less miserable with a tool like OXO’s Extendable Tub and Tile Scrubber that makes it easier to reach all the cracks and crevices.
Buy OXO Scrubber: Amazon, $12.99
Kitchen Trash Can
Another overlooked spot: The inside of kitchen trash cans. Leftover food debris falls out of trash bags and collects at the bottom, making the can smelly and harboring bacteria. Get it clean by hosing out the gunk, spraying with a disinfectant, and scrubbing it till it’s squeaky clean. Wipe down the outside of the can, too, because food goo and germs collect there.
Most people clean their sink regularly, but most people forget the garbage disposal, Rapinchuk says. It collects food debris, soap scum, and even mold. "It can make your kitchen smell bad," she says. Rapinchuk uses a Fuller Brush designed to clean garbage disposals to scrub with a cleaner she makes with two cups of baking soda, a few drops of essential oils and a few drops of dish soap.
Buy Scrub Brush: Fuller, $14.99