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    Mar 11, 2018

    13 Things In Your Home That You Should Be Cleaning But Probably Aren’t

    When was the last time you cleaned your fridge? Be honest.

    Even if you keep a relatively clean home, there are probably a few nooks and crannies you regularly overlook.


    Bacteria, mold, dust, and dirt can find their way into a lot of unexpected places. These nasties also end up on, and in, things you just might not be 100% sure how to clean.

    I've used Home Comforts: The Art & Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson to research the best way to clean unexpectedly dirty places in your home, in addition to a few other sources listed. (We're big fans of this book here at BuzzFeed, because it's like home ec for adults.)

    You can get a copy from Amazon for $15.93, Barnes & Noble for $18.32, or find it at your local bookstore on Indiebound.

    Also, we know not everyone has time to clean everything, all of the time, so feel free to take these tips as a point of reference rather than hard and fast rules. Happy spring cleaning, everyone!

    1. Scrub and sanitize your sink at least once a week because it's one of the most germ-ridden spots in your kitchen.


    Oh, and don't use that grimy sponge because it's even grosser than your sink. Instead, use a clean, dry rag every time. Treat your sink right!

    First, wash the surface with hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Then, flood it with diluted bleach (about half a cup in a gallon of water). Make sure you clean the sides of the sink too, and drain after five minutes. Don't rinse out the bleach, just let it air dry or pat it down with paper towels. This process will also totally sanitize your drain, so it doesn't stink to high heaven.

    2. Vacuum your screens from the inside, or run a soft brush across them, to clean the dirt off without taking them out of your window.

    Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

    Not only does dirt in your window screens block light, it's also bad for ventilation. When cleaning your screens, lay down newspaper to catch any dust that falls.

    If you can take your screens out and they're visibly dirty, you can rinse them with your hose or shower head — just make sure they're nice and dry before you put them back.

    3. And use a toothbrush and a butter knife to clean out the window tracks.

    An unlikely pair, right? Sprinkle a bit of baking soda and vinegar and leave it to fizz for five minutes before scrubbing the dirt with a toothbrush. Wipe up the dirt with a paper towel, and use a butter knife covered in a rag to get into the nooks and crannies. Learn more about cleaning window tracks here.

    4. Run a short cycle on your laundry machine with detergent and then rub the inside with a bleach solution to clean and sanitize the tub.

    Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

    Okay, okay, I know it seems unnecessary to clean something that cleans things, but you need to sanitize your washing machine every once in a while to prevent soap scum, mold, and mildew. You better believe that's gonna make your clothes smell a little funky.

    You're going to want to wipe out the dirt or lint before you run the cycle. Once the cycle is finished, wipe the inside of the drum with a solution of a quarter cup of bleach, a gallon of warm water, and a tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent. Let that sit for a minute before draining and rinsing the tub twice. Once you're all done, let the machine dry with the door open before you throw in a load.

    5. Scrub grout with baking soda or bleach if it's looking worse for wear.

    Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

    Though time-consuming, the process is pretty simple. If you decide to use bleach, dilute it with an equal portion of water and test it first to make sure it doesn't change the color of your tiles. If you're going the natural route, add a bit of water to baking soda, to create a paste.

    Grout is porous, which means it can get dirty, and even moldy, very easily. The good news is that you can apply a sealant to your grout so that it never gets this grimy again...or at least won't for another three to five years.

    Get a quart of penetrating sealer from Amazon for $30.23.

    6. Spray some oven cleaner onto your oven's interior at least every season so your food doesn't smell or taste smokey.

    Baked-on food looks gross, smells gross, and can mess with the flavor of your food. If you've got a fume-free and non-caustic oven cleaner, just spray, close the door for two hours, then wipe clean with a warm, damp cloth. Finally, run the oven at 300 degrees for 15 minutes to get rid of any remaining smoke or fumes.

    If you've got any other kind of oven cleaner be really freakin' careful because the fumes can be dangerous for your lungs, skin, and oven. You'll need to open the windows and wear gloves, a dust mask, and a top with long sleeves. And make sure that your oven isn't self-cleaning, because this stuff could destroy the surfaces.

    Get Easy-Off Professional Fume Free Max Oven Cleaner from Amazon for $5.97. (That's what was used in the photos above!)

    7. Spray your doorknobs with an all-purpose cleaner once a week to get rid of smudges and fingerprints.

    Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

    Also germs, c'mon. Let the cleaner sit on the knob for a minute before wiping it dry.

    8. Dip a pad mop in warm soapy water and gently run against the walls every year or so to get rid of dirt and dust.

    A mild dish soap or an all-purpose detergent should work, but make sure to test an inconspicuous area first, to make sure whatever you use doesn't mess with the paint. No biggie if you don't have a pad mop, just grab a washcloth and a ladder. Remember to rinse and dry!

    Learn more about using the pad mop to clean walls here.

    9. Wipe down your light switches and outlets once a week, and clean out the crevices of the switch with a cotton swab.

    Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

    The cotton swab will help dislodge dirt from the cracks in the switch. When you wipe your wall plates, spray the cleaner onto the cloth instead of the wall plate and use a bit of rubbing alcohol to take off any stubborn smudges.

    10. Wash your bathroom sink at least once a week because — brace yourself — it's got more fecal contamination than your actual toilet. 🤢

    Naked King / Getty Images

    Home Comforts recommends that you use a "low-abrasive scouring cleaner" on your porcelain or ceramic surfaces. You can learn more about fecal contamination from this study in the Journal of Applied Microbiology.

    Get Soft Scrub from Amazon for $16.45 or Bon Ami for $6.15.

    11. Unpack your entire fridge so you can toss the expired stuff and scrub it from top to bottom.

    Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

    In Home Comforts, Mendelson suggests cleaning your fridge once a week. To start, remove as many shelves and draws as possible and clean them with warm soapy water — dishwashing detergent will do! Before popping the drawers and shelves back in, wipe the interior of the fridge with more warm soapy water. If your fridge is a little stinky, add some baking soda (around four tablespoons per quart) into the mix.

    12. Clean the outside of your kitchen cabinets every few weeks and the inside every few months, because ew.

    Emily Shwake / BuzzFeed

    It gets gross in there! And you don't realize until you take everything out. All you need to do is wipe them with a damp cloth. You can also use a bit of dish soap on the rag if there's visible dirt that's not coming off.

    13. Soak your air vents and filters in soapy water., Natalie Brown / BuzzFeed

    This isn't as much a surprise as a gentle reminder — vents get GROSS. You can use a toothbrush to scrub the filter if it's grimy, and always let it dry completely before replacing it. Unplug the AC unit to vacuum the inside and wipe the outside with a wet cloth. You can learn more about cleaning your air vents here.

    Any areas we missed that have you stumped? Ask about it in the comments and we'll get to it next time!

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