Even if you keep a clean household, there are probably a few areas of your home that get overlooked. Here’s a list of items you likely don’t clean enough, and tips on how to tackle them this spring-cleaning season!
You wash your pillowcases regularly, but when did you last clean the pillows themselves? Between sweat, oil and dead skin, the why is obvious, but how to clean pillows is less clear. If still attached, follow the manufacturer’s instructions; if not, most down and synthetic pillows can be machine washed and dried (on air and low-heat settings, respectively, using dryer or tennis balls to fluff them back into shape in the dryer). Foam pillows must be hand washed and air-dried. Pillows should be washed, without their protective covers, at least every six months.
Kitchen Trash Can
Gunk on the underside of its lid, waste that didn’t quite make it inside the liner, and, most disturbing, “garbage juice” lingering in the bottom…your trash receptacle could be causing unpleasant odors, so scrub it with disinfectant, inside and out, at least once a month. Try these tricks to help keep it clean and odor-free between scrubbings: line the bottom with newspaper to absorb liquids, sprinkle baking soda or Borax in the bottom before inserting the bag, and spray disinfectant inside whenever you take the garbage out.
Handles, Switches, and Knobs
Your doors, kitchen appliances, cabinetry, lights, toilets, faucets – think about how often you, your family members and your guests touch their handles, switches and knobs; upon entering your home from the (germ-ridden) outside world, during cooking and after using the bathroom. White vinegar is a handy, cheap way to disinfect these areas, which you’ll want to do especially frequently during cold and flu season, to minimize the risk of spreading viruses that can make you and anyone else in your household sick.
Air Vents and Exhaust Fans
Speaking of getting sick, air vents and exhaust fans that are clogged with dust, dander, and other dirt compromise your home’s air quality, triggering allergies and respiratory problems. Cleaning methods for both are basically the same: cut power at the source; remove the grille/cover and, for fans, the blade, and wash with mild soap and warm water; use a stiff brush and/or vacuum attachments to remove debris from the fan’s motor and the nooks and crannies of its housing, and from the ducts behind your air vents.
Your washing machine is self-cleaning, so you never need to wash it, right? Wrong! Bacteria, residue build-up from using too much soap, odors caused by not promptly removing clothes, hard-water deposits – your washer takes a lot of abuse, and if you don’t clean it regularly, it won’t effectively clean your clothes and linens. Once a month, run an empty load on the hottest setting, adding bleach or white vinegar. Got a front-loader? Check for and remove mold around and underneath the rubber gasket.