Cleaning & Organizing
19 Hidden Places in Your House You Haven’t Thought to Clean (But Really Should)
There are several places in your home that are dirtier than you might think.
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 where you pour water are can dirtier than toilet seats and toilet handles when left uncleaned.
Clean it: 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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The Trash Can
Sure, you put a garbage bag in there but that doesn’t mean your trash can is free from germs. Just think of those times the trash leaked and who knows what lingers in the bottom of that bin. And each time you take out the trash, spray the inside of the trash can with a disinfectant. Once a month, wash it out with bleach and cleaning with hot water. Here’s how to fix a smelly trash can in 10 seconds.
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 the filter.
Cleaning Under Your Fridge
The space between your fridge and the floor is a magnet for pet hair, dust, food crumbs and other small trinkets. 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). This hair trap won’t leave scratches on the floor and can reach further than a vacuum cleaner attachment.
This tool will also help you when your bathroom sinks inevitably clog with hair. Here’s how to unclog a sink.
Inside Dryer and Dryer Vent
Bath Fan Grill
Household dust, moisture and humidity combine to cake bathroom exhaust fans with debris. Often located on the ceiling, you may not notice it’s even dirty. 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. Take a look at these cleaning tips from the pros.
The Computer Keyboard
Just because you’re washing clothes regularly, it doesn’t mean your washer don’t need 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. Here’s how to clean a front load washer.
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. They’re also more likely to contain coliforms or staph, according to the study. “You put in your brush, which is damp or wet, and that residual water drips down and collects in the bottom of the cup,” says microbiologist Lisa Yakas, senior project manager for NSF. “Germs tend to like warm and moist environments.” 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, she recommends.
Hanging shower caddies are a convenient spot to stash your shower stuff. Things like soap are visible and easily accessible when stored in one. But what you may not see is the soap residue or shampoo that needs to be addressed. You may be able to simply rinse down the caddy during your shower. But, for more stubborn soap scum or mold, let the caddy soak in hot water with a little cleanser. Once it’s clean, hang it up to dry thoroughly before returning your products to the caddy.
Clearing Out the Dryer Vent
You’ll have to 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. The kits are available at home centers. If your ducts need replacing, get smooth metal ducts, which will stay cleaner longer than the rough corrugated surface of flexible ducts. Avoid plastic ducting altogether; it can be a fire hazard.
Keeping an Always-Fresh Toilet Brush
Toilet brushes are relegated to a dirty task, 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. By the way, here are 8 places you should sanitize to avoid catching the flu.
Clean Your Bagless Vacuum Filter
People avoid cleaning filters because it’s a messy job. The typical method is to tap the filter against the inside of a trash can until most of the dust falls off. But this raises a thick cloud of dust and doesn’t get the filter completely clean. Here’s a faster, neater approach: 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. Clean prefilter screens and post-filters the same way.