Spring Clean the Sneaky Spots: Often-Overlooked Places that Hide Grime

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Spring is just around the corner! Where I live, it’s been unseasonably warm, with lots of sunshine. All that spring-like weather makes me start thinking about outdoor adventures, planting seeds in my container gardens, and spring cleaning. I don’t know what it is; I’m not usually a big fan of cleaning. But every spring I get an undeniable urge to freshen and tidy up my home.

This year I’ve started my spring cleaning by looking around my home and thinking about things I haven’t cleaned since I moved in, or are easy to forget about in normal cleaning routines. Here is my list of seven sneaky spots that are worth de-griming.

1. Up High

The tops of the fridge, above the kitchen cabinets, top shelves of bookcases, etc. These all need deliberate attention. I’m fairly short, so really anything taller than about six feet is out of my reach for normal easy cleaning, but there are many people that can fall into the same boat. This spring, take a soapy rag or dust cloth to all those top shelves. In the kitchen, it’s especially important to wash down those upper spots, as grease and grime from open pots on the stove can get carried upward in steam and cooking fumes, then come to rest on those upper cabinets, leaving a sticky film behind. Ew! Use good grease-cutting soap or a goo-gone type product to remove the stickiness. An abrasive brush or scrubby sponge can help too.

2. Down Low

When’s the last time you looked deep under your bed? Or ventured to move the couch? Afraid the dust bunnies might have morphed into giant beasts capable of eating small pets? It’s a great idea to make spring cleaning the time you move every single piece of furniture and clean under and behind it. Get a friend to help move the heavy stuff, and then take full advantage of the opportunity. Use all those skinny snake-like attachments on your vacuum to really get into the corners. Wash the baseboard or hard flooring with soap and water, and brush a rag over the wall to capture any dangling cobwebs.

3. Insides

Did you know that you should clean your dishwasher? Or your washing machine? I mean, I always thought they cleaned themselves every time I used them, but I recently learned the importance of scrubbing down and disinfecting these cleaning appliances regularly. Other appliances, too, like the fridge, oven, and microwave, may not get cleaning love as often as they should, so use spring cleaning as a time to spruce up the insides of all your appliances. Most can be cleaned without any toxic chemicals using just baking soda and vinegar. For instance, after soaking and scrubbing any visible grime, disinfect dish- and clothes-washers by running a hot water load with one cup of white vinegar. It kills germs and makes everything smell much better! In the fridge, be sure to take out all the drawers and empty the shelves to do a thorough wipe-down. Use a cooler to temporarily store frozen foods and use warm water to help defrost and clean out the freezer. Clean appliances not only look and smell better, but they often use less energy too!

4. Registers and Vents

Your poor furnace has been cranking out hot air all winter. If you have a central heating (or air conditioning) system, you have vents and registers on the walls, floors, or ceilings. These grated holes often collect gobs of dust and dirt that are in the air. Stop that dirt from getting pushed back into the air by cleaning out your registers. Most of the grated covers are easy to remove with either a screwdriver or by just gently popping them off. A little soap and water will wash away most grime. Then, use the hose attachment of your vacuum cleaner to clean out the first foot or so of the duct under the cover. This is another spring cleaning activity that can help cut down your energy bill, and make your indoor air much cleaner to breathe.

5. Curtains and Blinds

Curtains and blinds catch all the dust flying around your house, and get an extra dose whenever windows are open and they get dust and dirt flying in from outside too. Curtains come in lots of different fabrics, so be sure to check out tags or manufacturer’s advice on how to clean them. Some can go right in the washing machine, others will have special care instructions. Same with blinds. Simple plastic or other sturdy blinds can usually be removed from the window and washed with a scrubby brush in the bathtub. Be sure to rinse them very well to avoid any streaking from bits of grime left behind.

6. Fans and Light Fixtures

Have you ever seen little black spots on the inside of your decorative light fixtures? Those dead bugs don’t need to stay there forever, and cleaning out your light fixtures will let more light through, instantly brightening up your home. Carefully remove light fixture covers and gently wash with soap and water or a glass cleaner. Fan blades can be removed and washed, or just gently wiped down where they are if you can stand on a ladder or a sturdy chair.

7. Rugs

Hopefully if you’re living in your space for more than a couple of years, you’ll be able to get your carpets professionally cleaned. But rugs are easy to self-clean. They’re soft and pleasant like carpet, but can be picked up and shaken out for much easier maintenance! In my spring cleaning, I clean my rugs the good old fashioned way—I bring them outside, drape them over something sturdy, and hit them hard with a broom, a baseball bat, or anything that can help knock all the dust and dirt out of them. I try to do this on a nice sunny day. Sunshine is a natural disinfectant, so letting that rug spend even a half hour in the sun can help clean out anything nasty that might be lingering deep inside.

Of course, there are plenty of other things that could benefit from spring cleaning, but this list is a great start in thinking about some places you may not have scrubbed before. Where have you found surprising grime? Let us know, and happy cleaning!

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