40 Things You Didn’t Know You Should Be Cleaning

Shannon Quinn - February 13, 2022
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Even if you clean your house regularly, there are probably a few spots that you forgot about. Of course, when life gets busy, it’s hard to remember to keep up with the less obvious items. But, especially now, keeping things clean is important to living a happy and healthy life. Here is a list of things in your home that you probably never clean, but you should ASAP.

It’s probably time for you to clean your remote control. Credit: Shutterstock

40. Remote Controls

At the end of a long day, many of us like to relax by watching TV. But do you ever think about how many things your hands have touched before you sat down on the couch? Your remote control ends up carrying all of those germs from your hands, as well as anyone else in the house who is using it. According to the Times of India, a remote control is 20 times more dirty than a toilet. Next time you’re cleaning, remember to use disinfectant wipes or spray on your remote control. Also remember to wash your hands after using the remote before you eat or touch your face.

Light switches are filled with bacteria. Credit: Shutterstock

39. Light Switches

Unless you have a smart home with voice activated lights, chances are that you touch light switches every single day. But how often do you clean them? According to Simmons College in Boston, a light switch has the same amount of germs as a trash can. And a hotel light switch has 112 colonies of bacteria per square centimeter. Yikes! Always remember to clean off your light switches with either disinfectant wipe or spray. 

After you drink your morning coffee, make sure you clean your machine. Credit: Shutterstock

38. Coffee Machine

Many of us make coffee every day. Some even leave the coffee grounds or pod in the machine overnight, and don’t bother to pick up the filter until the next morning. Unfortunately, leaving anything moist in a dark place is a recipe for mold to form. And over time, your coffee machine can also become clogged due to hard water buildup. Remember to periodically clean your machine by running water and vinegar through it without the coffee. Depending on how dirty your machine is, you may need to do this a few times before it’s completely clean.

It may be time to clean your trash cans and recycling bins. Credit: Shutterstock

37. Trash Cans

Since we line our trash cans with plastic bags, most people assume that we never have to clean them. In reality, trash cans are filled with germs, especially in the kitchen where we throw away food containers, egg shells, and more. According to Spoon University, it’s common for trash cans to contain Salmonella, E. Coli, and Listeria. Don’t forget your outside trash cans, either. The next time you have a warm and sunny day, take the time to clean your trash and recycling bins with some dish soap or bleach and water from the hose.

A dishwasher is not self-cleaning, as you might believe. Credit: Shutterstock

36. Dishwasher

Most people assume that a dishwasher never needs to be cleaned, because it’s basically self-cleaning every time you run a load of dishes. In reality, those bits of food that fall off of your plates need to go somewhere, and it’s usually left in the machine. You can run a cycle using good old fashioned vinegar to clean your dishwasher. There are also dishwasher cleaning tablets sold at the store that you can use as well. If you’d like to know more, Good Housekeeping has an entire guide on the type of cleaning you should be doing on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis to your dishwasher.

Clean the bad smells from a fridge by giving it a deep clean. Credit: Shutterstock

35. Refrigerator 

We use our refrigerators every single day, even while we’re sleeping. And yet there are plenty of people out there who never clean their refrigerators. No wonder those funky smells happen! Periodically, take the time to remove everything from the fridge. Wipe down everything with disinfectant spray. Carefully remove the drawers and shelving to clean those as well. If this makes you nervous, check out this video guide by Clean My Space.

Pillows should be replaced every one to two years. Credit: Shutterstock

34. Pillows

How often do you replace your pillows? And have you ever considered cleaning them? Maybe you clean your pillow cases once a week with the sheets. But pillows themselves can carry dust mites and bacteria over time. Your upholstery and throw pillows are also getting dirty over time. According to the Cleveland Clinic, dirty pillows can even make you sick. So be sure to clean them or replace your bed pillow every one to two years.

Many people forget to clean their garbage disposal. Credit: Shutterstock

33. Garbage Disposal

A lot of people out there swear by having a garbage disposal, because it makes life more convenient. However, over time, you might start to notice that it begins to smell bad. These bad smells can be eliminated by running a lemon through the garbage disposal. You can also pour vinegar and baking soda down the sink to kill some of the smelly bacteria. It’s important to clean the garbage disposal periodically. If you would like to know more, Home Depot has a step-by-step guide on how to clean it.

Washing machines need to be cleaned periodically. Credit: Shutterstock

32. Washer

Your washing machine is yet another appliance that you might assume is self-washing, since your soapy clothes run through it on a daily basis. However, a washing machine contains the dirty residue leftover from the objects you put inside of it. It’s possible to buy washing machine cleaner from the store, but you can also run a load of plain water and vinegar or bleach to make sure that the inside of the machine is clean. Check out HGTV’s guide on how to clean a washing machine, if you want to see more tips and tricks.

Hairbrushes can get product buildup if you don’t clean them. Credit: Shutterstock

31. Hairbrushes

We brush our hair every day, and yet most of us forget to clean hairbrushes. Over time, they can build up with residue left over from our hair products, as well as the natural oils from our scalp. Plastic hair brushes and combs can be put in the dishwasher for an easy clean. If your brush is made of horsehair and has a wooden handle, you shouldn’t soak the entire brush in water, because it could ruin the wood. Just take a small amount of shampoo and clean the bristles. Let it dry with a towel. Do this once a month, and it should keep your hairbrushes fresh and clean.

You can use a q-tip to get in between keys on the keyboard. Credit: Shutterstock

30. Computer Keyboard

The computer keyboard is something you may use every single day, especially if you work from home. How often do you touch your keyboard, then your face, food, or anything else around your house? According to the University of Arizona, a keyboard has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. This is especially true if you’re using a shared keyboard at your office or school. Luckily, there are a lot of ways to clean a keyboard. You can use a wipe, q-tips, spray, or even slime to get in-between those little nooks and crannies of the keys.

Vinyl siding can get very dirty over time. Credit: Shutterstock

29. Vinyl Siding

If you have vinyl siding outside of your home, it may be something that you forget to clean often. In the photo above, you can see someone power washing vinyl siding. However, if your siding has a small stain, you can clean it with soapy water and a sponge. The next time you have a warm spring or summer day, take a bucket full of soapy water and a sponge to spot-clean your vinyl siding.

Don’t forget to clean your outdoor lights. Credit: Shutterstock

28. Outdoor Lights

Outdoor lights are one of those things we almost never clean, mostly because we assume that they will be cleaned off by the rain. However, over time, these lights can get filled with bugs, spider webs, and so much more. If you want your house to have true curb appeal, consider climbing a ladder to clean your outdoor lights once a year.

The oven is one of the most neglected appliances. Credit: Shutterstock

27. Oven

If you like to cook, your oven is an appliance you use all the time. This means that every little drip and splatter is accumulating inside of the oven. There are a lot of oven cleaning sprays out there, as well as cleaning hacks on how to get it sparkling clean. Another tip is to line the bottom of your oven with tin foil so that drips never end up on the coils in the first place. For a more in-depth guide on how to clean your oven, click here.

Remove dryer lint every time to use the dryer. Credit: Shutterstock

26. Dryer 

Just like your washing machine, the dryer is another machine that should be periodically cleaned. This is especially true when it comes to the dryer lint that accumulates inside of the machine. If you forget to clean this out, it can be a huge fire hazard. As for the interior of the machine dryer drum, you can use your standard disinfectant spray or vinegar to clean it for sanitation purposes. Don’t forget the back of the machine, piping, and so much more. If you want to do a deep clean of your dryer, check out this guide by HGTV.

After emptying your bagless vacuum, your filter may need an extra clean. Credit: Shutterstock

25. The Bagless Vacuum Filter

When people buy a bagless vacuum, they expect to finally be done with the hassle of bags. But that doesn’t mean that the vacuum is zero maintenance. You need to periodically clean the vacuum filter if you want it to perform as well as it did when you first bought the machine. The Dyson cordless vacuum filter has little pictures of faucets on it, because they’re literally telling you to rinse it out with water. Be careful, though, because not all vacuum filters are meant to get wet. If you’re having trouble, search online for your vacuum’s exact make and model to see how to clean the filters.

Clean your soffit vents with compressed air. Credit: Shutterstock

24. Soffit Vents

A lot of you out there are thinking, “What the heck is a soffit vent?” These are the vents near your gutters that allow air circulation around your roof. If your soffit vent is clogged, it means that air won’t flow properly through your attic. This can increase air conditioning costs. The only way to clean a soffit vent is with compressed air. For a full explanation and guide to cleaning soffit vents, check out the Family Handyman.

Have you ever cleaned your walls? Credit: Shutterstock

23. Walls

One spot of your home that you may never consider cleaning are your walls. However, the walls accumulate dust just like furniture does. A lot of times, you may see spiderwebs building up on the corner of your walls and ceilings. You can get a Swiffer dry clothes to reach high places, or use a damp cloth to wipe down the wall. This is especially important if you plan to paint a room. Always clean your walls before painting!

Air conditioners should be cleaned once a year. Credit: Shutterstock

22. Air Conditioner 

Once a year, before you install your air conditioning unit into the window, you need to do a deep clean. Pulling out the filter to clean it is often not enough. Remember that dust, dirt, and even mold can accumulate inside of the machine. If you’re feeling up to it, take the machine apart and grab your house to get a real deep clean. Click here to see a video tutorial on how to clean an air conditioner.

Cleaning your mattress is easy with a vacuum cleaner. Credit: Shutterstock

21. Mattresses

Many of us clean our sheets every week or two. But how many of us actually take the time to clean the mattress? This can be done by vacuuming off the dust that accumulates on top of the mattress. If it starts to smell, sprinkle some baking soda on top of the mattress, and allow it to sit for at least an hour. This will absorb any odor, and you can vacuum off the baking soda afterwards. Also consider flipping your mattress, which will help prevent it from getting indented from your body weight. 

Clean your deck using a power washer. Credit: Shutterstock

20. Deck

When it comes to cleaning a deck, a lot of us don’t know where to start. And some of you might have composite decking, while others have treated wood. No matter what your deck is made out of, you have a choice of using dish soap, vinegar, or a cleaning solution like Oxyclean. For an in-depth guide on how to clean various types of decks, click here.

How long has it been since you cleaned out your toothbrush holder? Credit: Shutterstock

19. Toothbrush Holder

\How long has it been since you cleaned out your toothbrush holder? For some people, the answer is “never”. If you could see the inside of that thing, you might be shocked to find brown moldy residue. It’s important to remove your toothbrushes from the holder and clean it by hand. Or, you can always put it in the dishwasher and hope that it thoroughly cleans what’s going on inside.

This could be what the back of your fridge looks like right now. Credit: Shutterstock

18. Refrigerator Coils

Have you ever moved your fridge to clean the coils? Believe it or not, you’re supposed to vacuum the coils twice a year to help the fridge run more efficiently. Whether you realize it or not, your fridge is most likely on wheels, which will make it easy for you to roll it forward. Use a brush attachment on the vacuum hose to make sure you reach in-between all of the coils. To see an in-depth guide on how to do this, click here.

You may be shocked to see what’s underneath your fridge. Credit: Shutterstock

17. Under the Fridge

In our last point, we mentioned cleaning the refrigerator coils. If you already went through the trouble of moving the fridge, definitely make sure you sweep or vacuum in the area where the fridge usually sits. You may be surprised to find food residue, dust bunnies, toys, and so much more hiding under there.

Maybe you need to call maintenance to get the fan grill cleaned. Credit: Shutterstock

16. Bathroom Fan Grill

If you have a fan in your bathroom, you might never think about cleaning it. It’s one of those appliances that is out of sight, out of mind. If you have never cleaned a bathroom exhaust fan before, make sure to watch a tutorial on YouTube or read this in-depth guide. And if you live in an apartment, they may not want you taking the fan grill apart to clean it. Call your office to ask if it’s something maintenance is willing to do for you, or if it’s okay for you to try it yourself.

It’s easier than you would imagine to clean the range hood filter. Credit: Shutterstock

15. Kitchen Range Hood Filter

If you have a kitchen hood, cleaning it out is something you may have never even considered. But did you know that there is a removable filter that has been catching all of your grease? A quick and easy cleaning hack is to fill a bucket with warm water and Oxyclean. Let the filter soak for 30 minutes on each side, and rinse it off with water in the sink. It’s that easy!

It’s crucial to clean your door knobs periodically. Credit: Shutterstock

14. Door Knobs

We touch door knobs every single day as we go in and out of rooms in our house. But how often are we actually cleaning them? According to Penn State University, fourteen different colonies of bacteria are living on your door knob. How gross is that? All it takes to clean it is grabbing a disinfectant spray and wiping it down. And if you have an aerosol spray, you can just spray and let it air dry more often, which will help dramatically cut down the amount of germs and viruses that are sitting on your door knob.

Be honest. How often do you really clean your cell phone? Credit: Shutterstock

13. Your Phone

Cellphones are something we use every single day. We’re constantly touching them, putting them on table tops, and throwing them into our purse or pocket to take with us into the outside world. According to the Seattle Times, your phone has 25,127 bacteria per square inch. Even though it’s constantly exposed to germs, we rarely think to clean it. All you need is a disinfectant wipe. Ideally, you should clean your cell phone every day. But if you can remember to clean it periodically, it’s better than nothing.

The aerator of your faucet could look like this if you haven’t clean it in a while. Credit: Shutterstock

12. Faucet Aerators

At the end of every faucet, there is a little piece called the aerator, which helps to give you a steady stream of water when you turn on the facet. Over time, the faucet aerator gets clogged with hard water buildup. Check out this article by The Spruce where they give detailed step-by-step instructions on how to clean the faucet aerator with a few household tools and a cup full of vinegar.

It may be time to clean your closet. Credit: Shutterstock

11. Inside Closets

Plenty of people clean their bedrooms, but then decide to cram everything in their closet and walk away. And if they do clean their closet, it might only be once every year or two. Don’t be one of those people that lets it go for multiple years. A good spring cleaning project is to go through your closet and remove every single clothing item. Divide your belongings into “keep” “donate” or “sell” if you plan to get some money back on eBay. Here at Home Addict, we already have an entire article on tips for purging your bedroom closet.

Make sure your window weep holes are not clogged. Credit: Anlin Windows & Doors

10. Window Weep Holes

Never heard of window weep holes? Neither did we, until we heard about their importance from the Family Handyman. In case you didn’t know, window weep holes are made to allow excess moisture to run out of a window when it rains. If you open your window, you can see a slit in the lower right hand corner, and there is also one on the outside. Check out this video to learn all about how to clean your window weep holes.

Did you forget about your shower caddy? Credit: Shutterstock

9. Shower Caddies

Since they’re sitting in the shower getting hit with water every day, you might assume that your shower caddy doesn’t need to be cleaned. In reality, you should remove all of the bottles from it and give it a good clean once every few months. You may be surprised to find just how much gunk and residue gets left behind from our products and hard water deposits.

It is important to periodically clean your shower curtains. Credit: Shutterstock

8. Shower Curtains

Over time, shower curtains can contain mildew or mold, because they are constantly being exposed to moisture in your bathroom. This is why it’s crucial to have a plastic shower liner if you’re using a fabric shower curtain. Every few weeks, remove the shower curtain and run it through the washing machine. For plastic curtains, spray it down with a bleach and water mixture, or vinegar and wipe it down to remove any bacteria. Also consider replacing your plastic curtains once a year.

Don’t forget to clean your toilet brush. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Toilet Brush

Admit it. Cleaning the toilet is everyone’s least favorite job. But it’s also important to clean your toilet brush, too. Fill a bucket with hot water, and add a small amount of bleach. Soak the brush and container in the bucket for an hour, to ensure that all of the germs have gone away. Rinse everything off in the tub, and put it back in place when you’re done.

The computer mouse is filled with bacteria, and needs to be wiped often.Credit: Shutterstock

6. Computer Mouse

Just like your keyboard and cell phone, the computer mouse is another object that you’re touching every single day. It’s filled with all sorts of germs and bacteria that can make you sick. Luckily, all you need to do to clean it is to grab a disinfecting wipe or spray with a cloth. 

Wipe down your kitchen sink. Credit: Shutterstock

5. The Kitchen Sink

Even if you use plastic liners in your sink, it’s still important to clean the actual sink every once in a while. Remember to remove everything from the sink, and wipe it down with dish soap and water. You might also want to use something more heavy-duty like Bar Keeper’s Friend and a scrub when you’re treating a metal sink. 

Don’t let your microwave reach a point where it looks like this. Credit: Shutterstock

4. The Microwave

When you leave your microwave alone for too long, it can begin to look like the one shown above. It’s totally disgusting. The best way to clean your microwave is to attack messes as soon as they happen. Don’t let build-up happen. But if it does, all you need to do is fill a bowl of water and add lemon juice or vinegar. Place it in the microwave for three minutes. The steam mixed with the acidity of the lemon juice or vinegar will break apart any of the tough residue left on the interior of the microwave. Once the three minutes are up, it’s super easy to wipe everything down with a paper towel.

Over time, spray heads will get clogged from hard water deposits. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Shower Heads and Spray Hose Heads

Over time, hard water will build up and clock spray hose heads. This happens to both your shower and kitchen spray heads. Sure, you can clean it by spraying it with your standard cleaner. But one amazing cleaning hack is to fill a ziplock bag up with vinegar. Tie the bag around the shower head, and let it soak. This will break apart and tough build up. After an hour, it should be easy to scrub away anything that was blocking the flow of water.

Don’t forget to clean the outside dryer filter. Credit: Shutterstock

2. The Outside Dryer Filter

Even if you do a good job of removing lint from your dryer vent inside of the house, the piping that leads to the outside of the house can get clogged with dryer lint too. Check out this step-by-step guide from Home Depot on how to remove and clean the exterior vent using a vacuum cleaner and brushes.

The inside of your car is just as important as the rest of your home. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Car Steering Wheel and Dashboard

So far on this list, we have mentioned different areas of your home that you never clean. However, your car is very much an extension of your home, and you may use it every single day. Even though it’s such a big part of your life, it probably only gets cleaned every few months. According to research done by CBS News, your steering wheel is more dirty than a public toilet. Next time there is a nice day, grab that bottle of disinfectant spray and paper towels, and clean your steering wheel and dashboard.

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