As if regular home cleaning wasn’t enough, you’ve got those pesky hard-to-reach places to worry about too. The thought alone is enough to tire you out but the good news is that it needn’t be done on a daily basis (unlike regular house cleaning). Removing the build-up of dust, grime, and mould is not just aesthetically pleasing but helps maintain a healthy house environment, free of pollutants and allergies. This includes both, unseen and/or hard-to-reach places.
So, for those of you who have intentionally or unintentionally skipped over these areas/things, we’re sharing 10 hard-to-reach places you need to clean in your home on a monthly basis at the very least.
1. Tops of Furniture and Cabinets
It may not be easy to clean the tops of tall furniture or cabinets if you’re on the petite side, and if you’d rather not climb too high up on a ladder, choosing the right cleaning tools for the job helps. These are typically in the form of disposable dusters that not only have extendable handles but a flexible head which makes it easier to clean efficiently without angling your hand in odd positions.
Kitchen cabinets require a little more thoroughness as grease and dust combined make surfaces rather grimy. A good solution, (literally and figuratively), is a combination of equal parts household ammonia and liquid dishwasher, mixed in two cups of warm water. Dip a scrubber in the solution and get to work on the problem areas. Follow this up by wiping away the loosened dirt with a damp rag, and finish off with a clean cloth to dry the surface.
2. Crown Mouldings and Ceilings
Two of the most neglected areas in house cleaning are ceilings and crown mouldings. Unfortunately, looking up and seeing all the dirt and cobwebs collected there for weeks is not a pretty sight and therefore, must be cleaned every month. An easy way to clean your ceiling and crown mouldings is by using long-handled brushes or brooms to dislodge the dirt. This is particularly helpful when cleaning crown mouldings with intricate designs.
Be sure to wear a mask to avoid breathing in the falling debris which can trigger allergies. It is also advisable to take breaks in between sessions to alleviate pressure on your neck, shoulders, and back. Here’s where a ladder is handy, however, as a safety precaution, have another person hold it steady while you’re cleaning up there. Once done, the best way to thoroughly clear away the fallen dirt is with a vacuum cleaner or broom.
3. Lighting Fixtures and Fans
Ceiling fans and light fixtures higher up on a wall are more than likely to be part of the ‘not-thought-of-in-awhile’ pile. What you’ll need to clean ceiling fans and light fixtures include microfibre cloths, a mop or long-handled broom, and a rubber band. Simply wrap the cloth around a broom handle, use a rubber band to hold it in place, and you’re good to go!
Of course, a disposable duster with a handle that extends is great for removing cobwebs and dust without having particles swirling around; however, if you don’t have one, our makeshift cleaning tool will suffice. Again, wear a mask when cleaning your ceiling fans/light fixtures, and avoid climbing up a ladder if you haven’t got someone to steady it or attend to you in case you slip and fall.
4. Behind the Commode
The bathroom is one place, besides the kitchen, where cleanliness and hygiene must always be maintained painstakingly. No matter how off-putting it is to clean toilets or get up close and personal with them, it has to be done. While you may clean your toilet routinely, an area that is often neglected is the space behind the commode. In fact, this area may be crawling with bacteria and yet, hasn’t been cleaned in weeks!
Knee pads and rubber gloves are advised for this task, along with a face mask. Start by using a hard-bristled brush to dislodge and scrub away the dirt on the toilet base, floor, and wall. A disinfectant cleaner will get rid of the harmful bacteria lurking in those un-thought of spots; follow directions on the label when using such products. Lastly, rinse off the area and run a clean dry cloth over it immediately after.
5. Dishwasher Filter
The filter that traps food particles in your dishwasher is very often ignored, leaving food bits to rot and stink up the place. In order to keep the appliance running smoothly and ensuring clean dishes with every wash, cleaning the dishwasher filter regularly is advised. You can find the filter at the bottom of the dishwasher and access it by pulling out the bottom rack. Bear in mind that some filters can be removed while others only lifted up for cleaning.
For removable filters, read the instructions given in the manual on how to unscrew it. For the cleaning part, simply soak the filter in a warm, soapy solution and remove the debris with a soft-bristled brush. For those that are attached inside, lift the filter up, pick out any visible food bits, and wipe with a soapy cloth.
TIP: Take out the racks and pour some white vinegar inside your empty dishwasher; leave it for a couple of hours, or overnight. Place the racks back inside and turn on a short cycle to have a clean, fresh, and odourless dishwasher!
6. Sliding Tracks
If you take a peek into the tracks of sliding doors, windows, and shower doors, you’ll find a huge amount of dust and dirt collected. Cleaning these tracks routinely will help windows/doors to slide smoothly while preventing dirt from getting lodged underneath the frames.
Start by using an appropriate attachment head to vacuum up loose dirt; you’ll be left with just the grime which can be tackled with an easy-to-make cleaning solution. In two cups of water (preferably warm) mix in one teaspoon each of liquid dish soap concentrate and household ammonia. Grab a hard-bristled brush and scrub away the rest of the dirt. Flush the tracks with plain water. For shower doors, you may need to use a cleaning agent caustic enough to cut through soap grime – vinegar is a good option for this.
7. Venetian or Slatted Blinds
Before starting, close the blinds so that they now make a smooth area to wipe. After completing one side, flip the blinds over and continue the cleaning process. If you want to attempt cleaning both sides at one time, purchase a duster glove (or use an old cotton glove) and simply pinch each slat between your fingers to wipe the dust away in one, quick swipe. Repeat till each slat is done, paying more attention to the top slats that are often overlooked when cleaning.
Depending on what material the blinds are made of, suitable products or cleaning agents must be used. Cleaning tools spritzed with furniture polish can be used for wooden slats while glass cleaner is recommended for the plastic or metal variants.
8. Refrigerator Coils
Not many people are aware that un-cleaned refrigerator coils not only prevent your refrigerator from running efficiently but also up the costs on utility bills. With just a few handy tools, you can remove dirt and debris from your refrigerator coils, and save money in the process, too! If you’re doing this for the first time, it is advisable to turn the main power supply to your fridge off.
Pull the refrigerator forward, and vacuum the coils with a suitable brush attachment. This will help to dislodge and suction up the loose dirt. For models that are designed with the coils at the bottom, use a stiff brush with an extendable handle to get into those narrow spaces. The remaining dirt can be vacuumed up with the crevice attachment. While you’re cleaning the refrigerator coils, the condenser fan should also be cleaned so that blades are able to rotate freely.
9. Garbage Disposal
The garbage disposal is assumed to be a “dirty” appliance and hence, is rarely cleaned. However, a quick sniff into the sink will have you thinking otherwise and quickly reaching for your cleaning supplies! Keeping in mind the way this appliance works, it is definitely not advisable to stick your hand into the disposal area to clean it. Instead, start by turning on the disposal and running cold water down it for around fifteen seconds to push out any food bits and other debris.
To clean up stubborn grime, scrub the interior with a hard-bristled brush and a pasty solution of water and baking soda. Rinse thoroughly with cold water thereafter. If unpleasant odours persist, throw in a few peels of citrus and run the appliance to refresh your garbage disposal!
10. Computer and Laptop Keyboards
For those working endlessly on PCs and laptops, dirt and dust accumulation on and between the keys is inevitable. This is especially true among people trying to gobble down a meal and do their work-from-home job at the same time. So, to clean the keys and hard-to-reach spaces between them, disconnect the keyboard from your computer and/or turn off your laptop. You don’t need specialised cleaning tools but here’s where an old blush brush and narrow paintbrush come handy. Dust the keys first with the blush brush and then get into the crevices with the paintbrush.
Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean the grooves around the keys; change the buds frequently or as and when needed. Be sure to pinch the swabs after soaking them to remove excess liquid before use. Cleaning your laptop and keyboard is a good way of maintaining hygiene if others use it too; a lot of germs are transferable through touch, especially colds and many other contagious viruses like COVID-19.
When it comes to cleaning your home, nothing is more important than doing a thorough job to maintain a healthy and hygienic indoor environment. This means making sure those hard-to-reach places are cleaned routinely and not once in a blue moon! If you’re not sure where to start or how to clean any of these areas/things, this article has all the information you need!