I’m planning on using some of my “free” time around the holidays to get my house in better order. (I use the word “free” loosely, as there is always something to do as a mom!) I have two main goals to accomplish over the next few weeks: do another purge of clutter and clean household items that I know I’m not cleaning often enough!
Talking to friends and family, I know that I am not the only one who has neglected some of these tasks. The good news: cleaning these items won’t take very much time and it will make such a difference! AND if you simply spend a few minutes here and there on maintenance cleaning, you won’t have to buckle down and devote hours to a deep clean later down the road.
10 Household Items you’re (probably) not cleaning often enough
Plus tips to get the job done right! I’ve included shop-able ad links to products I love and use; disclosure policy available here.
1. The Water Pitcher
Yes, it has a filter. BUT that doesn’t stop the rest of the pitcher from collecting buildup over time. A dirty pitcher will negate the purifying effects of the filter, so you could actually be drinking mold, scum, and other yuckies! At least once a month, take apart the pitcher and wash each individual part in hot soapy water. To make it easier to remember, coordinate your washes with a monthly filter change. **Tip: I find that if I have filters already on hand, I clean the pitcher more often! I buy filters in multiple packs (like this 3-pack of filters for my Brita pitcher)
2. The Coffee Maker
Even though there are parts that “just have water” flowing through them, you’ll still get dirt and gunk and even mineral deposits collecting. Each machine should come with instructions for cleaning and a time schedule to do so. My Nespresso machine (LOVE this thing so I want to take good care of it!) recommends a process called “Descaling” twice a year or after about 300 brews. Here is a simple, easy to understand, description of the process.
3. The Trash Can
This gets dirty so quickly! I try to do a daily wipe down of the top and sides, but regular deep cleaning will keep smells at bay. On a sunny day, take the can outside, spray out the inside with a garden hose, and set upside down to dry. I like to sprinkle a bit of baking soda in the bottom before putting in a new bag. We have a motion-activated trash can, which I thought was silly at first, but it really helps keep the trash can (or your hands) from getting dirty!
4. The Microwave
It always seems like such a pain to clean the microwave, which is probably why I don’t do it very often. However, when I actually DO decide it can’t wait any longer, I’m surprised by the fact that it really only takes about five minutes! If you have a carousel, remove the tray and wipe the insides with a damp, soapy towel or scrubbing sponge. One sheet of paper towel or another dry towel will remove the leftover soap and bits of food. I wash the glass tray in the sink like any other dish and put back in the microwave. Easy peasy!
5. The Fridge (Outside)
I love how my stainless steel fridge looks…when it’s clean. However, with two small kids, there are always fingerprints and smudges all over the handles and surface. A soft rag with warm water and mild detergent will usually do the trick, but you can also use stainless steel polish to restore that beautiful shine (spray polish onto rag instead of directly to fridge.)
6. The Fridge (Inside)
I usually do this in sections so I don’t have to empty the entire fridge. I’ll remove everything from the top shelf, scrub with soapy water, dry, and then put everything back. I’ll let the fridge cool back down for a few minutes before moving on to the next shelf. And so on until I’ve done the entire thing.
7. The Freezer
When was the last time you gave your freezer a good, deep clean? Did you know that periodically defrosting and cleaning your freezer could actually save you money on your electricity bill? Our freezer seems to run cold (even on the lowest setting) and the sides will eventually be covered in frost. This icy buildup can cause your freezer to run less efficiently, therefore needing to run more often…costing you extra money to power it! At least once or twice a year, we take everything out of the freezer and wipe the frost away with hot water and a towel.
8. The TV Screen
Turn off your TV and take a close look. Actually you might not have to take a close look to notice dust and fingerprints (small fingerprints…hmmm). A dry microfiber cloth is usually all you need to get that screen crystal clean again.
9. The Dryer
Lint builds up not only in the lint trap/screen, but also in the vent behind the dryer and in the dryer itself! Periodic removal of the lint can help your dryer run more efficiently and dry clothes faster, as well as prevent fires caused by lint buildup. Green Living Ideas has an excellent step-by-step guide on how to do so.
10. The A/C Intake Vent
OK, this one really is a pain to clean! But I have found that if I keep up with it, then I rarely need to do a full-out deep clean. Every time I vacuum, I use the hose extension to run over the vent to keep dust from forming a thick layer. About once a month I simply use a baby wipe (it’s already wet and is just the right size to fit in the slats) to wipe off anything that had stuck.
If you’re like me, these are probably things you weren’t cleaning often enough. However, by taking just a few minutes a day to keep up with these household maintenance tasks, your home can have that deep clean look without spending hours scrubbing!
My Cleaning Essentials:
- Microfiber cloths (can be used wet or dry and are awesome for polishing because they are lint-free)
- Gloves (these ones from Mr. Clean have lasted me way longer than other pairs and they’re very affordable)
- Stainless steel polish