You are reminded every day to wash your dishes after meals because they accumulate in the sink. Remember to wash your tub when you see signs of dirt build-up. You regularly clean your toilet for obvious reasons. But household items that slowly get dirty over long periods of time are overlooked. Still, items like the dog’s bowl or the dishwasher can harbor bacteria if left unchecked, and they also need a little TLC every now and then to really keep your home clean. Here are 12 household items that are often overlooked on the cleaning list, along with when and how to clean them.
It’s hard to believe that something that cleans your dishes also needs to be cleaned, but your machine can be clogged with food debris causing bacteria to grow. The Washington Post suggests cleaning your dishwasher once a month to maintain its efficiency.
Fill a dishwasher-safe mug with distilled white vinegar and place it vertically in the upper rack of the dishwasher. With the machine otherwise empty, run the dishwasher on the hot cycle to brighten up the interior and kill bacteria.
Since the only thing you put in your coffeemaker is coffee, cleaning it out isn’t always the first thing you think about. But the minerals in hard water can build up inside, affecting the mechanics and altering the taste of your brew. Restaurant site Eat, that’s not it! suggests doing a deep cleaning of your coffee maker once a month for heavy coffee drinkers.
Fill the water supply with a matchstick of distilled white vinegar and water and put it to infuse. Stop the brewing process halfway and let the solution sit for 30 minutes, then complete the brewing process to complete the deep cleaning.
What really happens to the dirt and grime that gets filtered through your washing machine after every load? It can be vacuumed up during the spin cycle, but dirt particles also build up in the tubes and machine parts over time. Home and garden site The Spruce suggests cleaning your washing machine once a month to make sure your clothes themselves continue to be cleaned properly and to prevent mold growth. Run an empty washer on hot with a quart of bleach. Run a second rinse cycle to remove the remaining bleach and dirt.
Garbage disposal seems like a household appliance that needs regular deep cleaning sessions, but you’re probably pushing it away just because you don’t want to think about it. Home improvement guru Bob Vila recommends cleaning your trash every two weeks. The Consumer Report offers three simple steps for a quick bi-weekly cleaning:
Step 1: With the crusher and the faucet closed, put six ice cubes in the chamber, then 1 tbsp of baking soda, three thin slices of lemon and 1 teaspoon of bleach. Top it off with six more ice cubes.
Step 2: Turn on the grinder without running water until you hear the grinding stop.
Step 3: With the engine still running, rinse with cold water for 30 seconds.
If your microwave is used regularly, The Spruce suggests cleaning it weekly to keep germs and bacteria away. If you have accumulated food and bad smells in your microwave, put a bowl of microwave-safe water and a few lemon slices in the microwave to a boil. Let sit for a minute then wipe off the softened pieces. (For more microwave cleaning tips, watch this video.) If you have a microwave turntable, wash it along with the rest of your dishes in the sink or dishwasher.
Clean your dirty microwave with a lemon
We’ve been in the throes of home improvement, as it tends to happen when you’re stuck inside for months. Last week we looked into whether you can clean an oven with a lemon (spoiler: you can’t), but today we’re cleaning the scientific oven, aka the microwave! Will a lemon do the trick this time around?
We’ve all been guilty of letting the jam container get stuck on the inside shelf of the refrigerator door, but you never want it to get to a point where each container sits in a sticky pool of mud. Home cleaning site Molly Maid suggests deep cleaning your refrigerator every three to four months. Remove all items from the refrigerator and remove the physical drawers. Wipe down the interior with a rag and hot soapy water. Wash crisper bins in the sink the same way you would wash dishes by hand. Be sure to dry the drawers after cleaning. Once you’ve cleaned out all the debris from the inside, wipe it down and put the drawers and food back inside.
Our top tips for cleaning refrigerators
You’ve probably been cooking a lot more in recent months, resulting in a corresponding increase in crumbs, smudges, and mysterious bits of veg at the bottom of your crisper. So here are some of our top tips for cleaning your fridge and, more importantly, keeping it …
Molly Maid also suggests grabbing your vacuum and brush to remove any dust that has accumulated on the back exterior grill of the refrigerator. Vacuuming will ensure that the motor and cooling equipment are unblocked and functioning properly.
The oven is often overlooked when it comes to regular cleaning because it is so difficult to do so. But regular maintenance makes it much easier to keep your oven sparkling. Some people clean their oven seasonally, during spring cleaning, and just before or after the holidays. Melissa Maker, founder of the Clean My Space blog, asked food and cooking site Food52 to use your oven’s self-clean feature if it has one. “The inside of the stove has a special coating, and if you use a sponge you will ruin the coating, void your warranty and your stove will not work. However, we have pointed out the dangers of using your oven’s self-clean feature, so be sure to prepare your oven for a self-clean before turning it on.
The best ways to clean every part of your oven
Now is the time to deal with the accumulated dirt and burnt grease in your oven. You’re home more often, so you have the extra time it takes to clean it properly. And since you cook every meal at home, you can benefit more from the energy savings of …
If you want to avoid the self-cleaning option, Mayer advises sprinkling salt on any spills or drops to soak up any liquid. Once completely absorbed, it can easily be swept or wiped off. This little hack will save you a grueling deep clean up down the road.
You’ll never really notice how dirty your blinds are until the sun just hits them, revealing the embedded dust. Architectural Digest’s Clever suggests dusting and wiping down your shades once a month to avoid having to remove them and do a deep cleaning. And you don’t have to clean between blinds – lower the blinds completely and close them. Take a microfiber cloth and wipe the blinds all at once. Change the direction of the blinds and repeat. Then repeat the same process with a damp cloth. Use soap and lukewarm water to remove stubborn stains.
Bath rugs are a welcoming home for mold, mildew, and all the bacteria inside your bathroom. The bath mat is used so much that the Towel Supercenter laundry site suggests cleaning your bath mat once a week. Wash bath mats in the washing machine like any other fabric laundry, following the label directions. Place the rug in the hot dryer and remove it before the end of the cycle to ensure the rug retains its physical integrity. Do not machine dry rubber-bottomed bath mats. Instead, hang them up to dry to avoid damaging the carpet.
Air conditioner filters
Air conditioner filters are essential for maintaining the air quality in your home and keeping your unit operational. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company Air Conditioned requires air conditioning users to check and change their air filters once a month. They also suggest having your HVAC or air conditioning serviced twice a year by a professional. Between professional cleanings, you can use a vacuum cleaner on the AC coils and small filters to remove any dust or debris accumulated on the AC unit.
Pet food bowls are prone to the transfer of harmful bacteria from the dog’s mouth to the bowl, and any food left out can breed bacteria like Bacillus and Salmonella. Due to the dangerous bacteria that thrive in your pet’s food bowl, the Vet Street veterinarian site asks pet owners to clean their bowls daily with hot water and soap. Clean the water bowls every other day in the same way.
Toys for children
Children’s toys are widely used and come in close contact with their face and often their mouth. While this sounds like a recipe for germ disaster, the Safe Space disinfection innovations site doesn’t see it as a cause for alarm – children boost their immune systems when exposed to the elements, they recommend. therefore to clean children’s toys only once a month. Clean toys more frequently if your child has been sick or if they are particularly dirty. Wash toys that are overused every week.
If the toys are machine washable, throw them in the dishwasher (or the washing machine, for lint). Wash dirt and grime from toys with soap and water before disinfecting them. To disinfect hard toys, put them in a mesh bag. Fill a basin with half a cup of bleach and a gallon of water. Soak the mesh bag full of toys in the basin for five minutes, then remove it and hang it up to dry.