by Rachel W. / Oct 06, 2021


Cleaning spray bottle with lemons on a cutting board

Now that fall is officially in full swing, I’ve been switching over my closet from summer to winter attire. Spending time at the bottom of my closet has made me remember how much I love my fall layers, but it’s also made me realize that there’s places in the house that haven’t been shown some love in quite some time.

Having a clean home is one of the best feelings and if you’re anything like me, cleaning can actually be a really therapeutic activity. So why not start off the new season with a squeaky clean abode? Whether its a hard to reach place or just a spot that’s not on the usual checklist, here are some areas around the house that might need some cleaning TLC + some simple and easy cleaning hacks.

Needs a wipe down

Even if no one in the house is sick, a regular cleaning of these germ hotspots is still a good idea. Use a disinfecting wipe to wipe down every toggle, switch and knob you can find.

Wiping down your walls might not seem like an important task but removing any scuff marks and dirt from walls can really brighten up the place.

Doors are often forgotten about but they most definitely get dirty too! Wiping down doors and the moldings around doors will give new life to them.

All moldings are important; not just the door moldings! Take a wet cloth and wipe down the moldings all around your house or apartment and see them shine.

Garbage cans and recycling bins can get pretty messy, even with a liner. A regular wipe down of the outside and inside of these bins can prevent that funky garbage smell from spoiling your clean home.

Over time those once freshly painted kitchen cabinets start to look not so freshly painted. It’s normal for food and grease to splatter and build up on the front face of cabinets, and it happens gradually so it can be difficult to notice initially. Use a multi surface cleaner (ideally non-toxic) and spray + wipe down cabinet fronts so they can shine once again.

Besides storing your flatware, silverware drawers like to collect food and other particles that land in there. You don’t need to do this often but every once in a while, it’s a good idea to take out everything from that drawer and wipe out the bottom with a damp cloth. Remove the silverware from any organizer you may have in there and clean that out with soap and water in the sink as well.

Messes in the fridge are not fun to clean out but definitely necessary. Spill or no spill, it’s a good idea to take everything out of the fridge every couple of months for a routine interior clean. Wiping down the outside of the fridge will also remove any fingerprints, dust or grease and leave a nice shine. Don’t forget the top of the fridge!

Some ovens have a self-cleaning setting. Unfortunately mine does not, but thankfully there’s an easy way to clean the oven! Be sure to start with an off and cooled oven before removing all racks and everything else from the inside. Create a paste with baking soda and water and cover the inside of the oven in paste. Let it sit overnight to do its thing. The next day, wipe it down. For an extra clean feel, you can spray it with vinegar and give it one last wipe down.

You know that awkward crack between your kitchen counter and the stove top? Wrap a credit card with a paper towel, wiggle it into the crack and gently scrape any food or debris in your direction. Then spray your trusty kitchen countertop cleaner on a paper towel and wipe the gap. Thank me later :)

Electronics to disinfect

I’m not a huge TV watcher but I still like to wipe down my remote controls with disinfecting wipes every once in a while to keep germs and dirt from building up. You can also use cotton swabs to get in the crevices between buttons.

Your phone is definitely something to disinfect often. We are constantly touching our phones and bringing them everywhere. I like to wipe my phone whenever I get the chance, and when it feels too grimy, I take the case off and clean that too.

A simple wipe down will keep electronics looking new and will likely help them last longer as well. Along with the screen, don’t forget to wipe down keyboards too. Tip: Use one of those compressed air dusters to blow out any gunk from keyboard crevices.

Anything that gets continuously shoved into ear holes is bound to get dirty after some time. Of course getting them professionally cleaned will make them spotlessly clean, but using cotton swabs, toothpicks, and disinfecting wipes will also make a huge difference.

What to wash/clean

Keys may not seem that dirty but in reality they come with you everywhere and are exposed to so many different surfaces. If you want clean keys, fill a bowl with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap. Take an old toothbrush and scrub those keys clean.

As sedentary couch decorations, these are often forgotten about on laundry day. Blankets are easier because you can throw them in the washing machine but check your throw pillows to see if they have a covering that can be taken off to be cleaned.

Although your sponge gets washed and rinsed every time you use it to clean your dishes, it’s important to switch out old sponges for new ones regularly. If you have a washable/reusable one that’s still in good shape, then just throw it in the wash for a refresh.

In theory, your dishwasher should be cleaning itself every time you run it, but sadly, it isn’t. Along with having the right dishwashing detergent, cleaning your dishwasher of all the bits of food, grease and water minerals that’s built up over time can also help avoid those pesky spots and film that are sometimes left on dishes. Start by unlocking and removing the dishwasher filter. It can be found below the bottom spray arm so you have to pull out the bottom rack to get to it. Rinse the filter under hot running water and scrub the mesh using a soft toothbrush to remove any grease or particles that may be stuck. Place a bowl filled with white vinegar on the top rack and run a normal cycle without detergent or dishes. For an extra deep clean, you can sprinkle a cup of baking soda in the bottom of your empty dishwasher and run another short hot cycle.

It can be difficult to see the buildup in a coffee machine, but it’s there! Just like the inside of the fridge or the silverware drawer, it’s good to clean the coffee machine itself once in awhile.

It’s normal for faucets to accumulate and grow mold but that doesn’t mean it should be there! Try filling a plastic bag with white vinegar (about 1/3rd of the way) and rubber band them to shower heads and faucets and let sit. This can also help with those hard water stains.

As a pet owner I’m definitely guilty of this one. I feed my cat every morning and sometimes I just add scoops of food to a bowl that was just eaten out of. Pet bowls don’t need to be washed as often as human bowls, but regular cleaning is still recommended, both for hygiene reasons but also so your beloved fur baby can enjoy eating out of a fresh bowl.

Sometimes even your cleaning supplies need cleaning. For example, dragging a dirty broom around the house seems a little counterproductive to me. Try filling a bucket with warm soapy water and some white vinegar and letting your broom sit and soak for a bit. Wipe down the handle and dust pan as well. Once the broom is done soaking, rinse it out and remove any hair or other debris that might be stuck in the bristles.

Places to dust

Real and fake plants can accumulate more dust than you may think. Take a wet cloth and gently wipe the leaves of your plants to show off some shiny greenery.

Fan blades are often forgotten about because not everyone can see/reach them… especially for petite people such as myself. It’s important to dust fan blades every so often to ensure your fan isn’t just blowing dust around the house.

As a cat owner, I have to clean my windowsills quite often. My cat likes to lay on the windowsills to people watch, so cat hair and dust are constantly accumulating there. Luckily windowsills are pretty easy to dust and wipe down.

Places to vacuum

Cleaning out the lint catcher after drying a load of laundry is probably one of my favorite parts about doing the laundry. Sometimes there’s some extra lint left over in the slot that the lint catcher goes into, so I like to use the skinny vacuum head to get in there and suck out any leftover lint. It’s oddly satisfying.

I often avoid this part of the house when vacuuming but realistically it’s probably pretty dirty because this is where I store my shoes. It’s possible that any dirt you track in with your shoes is sitting at the bottom of your closet so give it a deep vacuuming next time.

We always remember to clean the sheets but when was the last time your mattress was shown some love? This doesn’t need to be done often but try vacuuming your mattress every other time you take your sheets off to wash them. This will get rid of any dust or debris that’s fallen between the sheets.

If your vacuum has an upholstery head, try vacuuming the couch and its crevices for an extra soft looking couch. Make sure to do this before vacuuming the floors to make sure no crumbs from between the couch cushions get pushed onto the floor and forgotten.

If you’re lacking in the height department like I am, then air vents and covers might be one of those hard to reach places that are not so fun to clean. Luckily my vacuum head is long enough that I can reach the ceiling with it because vents are one of the dustiest places in the house.

Whew! I know that was a long list. It might seem overwhelming to see all of these in one blog article, but keep in mind that a lot of the areas mentioned above don’t need to be cleaned every week (and some not even once a month). And if some of them aren’t areas you want to prioritize, there’s no judgment here (I probably won’t be vacuuming my closet floor as often as I should). Hopefully some of the pointers were useful and will help you create a peaceful, calm home environment that is cozy and just a little bit cleaner than before.