The COVID-19 pandemic has, among other things, made many people acutely aware of the importance of proper cleaning and sanitization within the home. However, “out of sight, out of mind,” is often the mantra that informs our cleaning habits, which means many hidden or seemingly clean areas can get neglected.
With that in mind, here are 16 spots within the home that should not escape notice the next time you’re sprucing things up:
1) Closet interiors
When was the last time you glimpsed the floor and back wall inside any of your closets? If the answer is never, they could use a clean. Who wants to put their clean clothes in a dirty closet?
2) Dryer vent
You should be emptying your dryer’s lint trap or screen after each use, but did you know you should also be cleaning out your dryer vent periodically? Lint buildup in the vent can make your dryer less efficient and become a serious fire hazard if left unchecked.
3) Heating registers/vents
Dust, hair and dirt can collect in your heating vents or registers. A quick vacuum inside these areas can prevent all manner of debris from obstructing airflow and circulating through your home.
4) Refrigerator coils and gaskets
Hopefully, you already clean the inside of your fridge from time to time, but you should also occasionally clean the rubber gaskets around the door and the coils on the back of the appliance. The latter can be vacuumed to remove accumulated dust, dirt and hair.
5) Rarely used pots and pans
If some of your cookware hasn’t been put to work in several months, those pots and pans might not be quite as clean as they were when you last stored them. Grease and dust can accumulate over time, so give them a quick soak before putting them back in the regular rotation.
Whether it’s because they rarely look dirty or because we’re worried about damaging them in the process, many people avoid cleaning their electronic devices, such as cellphones, keyboards and remotes. Unfortunately, these high-touch items can accumulate dust, grime and a lot of bacteria.
7) Doorknobs and handles
Like your small electronics, doorknobs and handles won’t look dirty at first glance, but they are often covered in unsavoury germs.
8) Shower curtain
Here’s another looks-clean-but-probably-isn’t item lurking in your home. Your shower curtain can collect mould and mildew if you’re not careful, so clean and disinfect it from time to time.
9) Light switches
One of the most high-touch areas in your entire home, light switches will reliably be covered in whatever bacteria and grime happened to be on your hands the last time you or anyone else in your household flipped them on or off. Wipe down and disinfect the switches regularly.
Your cleaning efforts will be extremely counterproductive if your cleaning tools aren’t clean themselves. Clear debris from broom heads, soak and then air dry. Mop heads should also be cleaned after each use to prevent bacteria growth.
11) Reusable grocery bags
Thanks to COVID-19, it’s especially important to clean your reusable grocery bags regularly. Canvas bags can go in the washing machine, while recycled plastic bags should be hand washed and air dried.
12) Garbage cans
It’s not a pleasant experience, and it might feel pointless given that you fill them with literal trash daily, but your garbage cans should be cleaned regularly to eliminate bacteria, grime and foul odours.
13) Exhaust fans
This applies to both your bathroom fan and the one above your stove. These can accumulate mould/mildew and grease, respectively, which can be mitigated with regular cleaning.
If your dishwasher isn’t reliably getting your dishes clean, it might be time to clean the dishwasher itself. Scrub off hard-water deposits and soap scum, and don’t forget to clean the dishwasher’s filter, which can get clogged by food and other debris.
15) Washing machine
Washing machines, particularly front-load models, can be the source of mould and unpleasant odours if not cleaned periodically. Running a hot water cycle with bleach and the machine empty will usually do the trick.
Like any other surface in your home, walls can collect dust and dirt. A long-handled duster can work wonders here, but a cloth will work fine too if you have a stepladder handy.