While we’re all being a bit more vigilant about keeping our homes clean (I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time thinking about the cleanliness of doorknobs), there are some spots that often get overlooked. Melissa Maker, the blogger behind Clean My Space, says that there are a few things you forget to clean in your home—and they really need a good cleaning every once in a while.
While some items might only require a deep cleaning a few times a year, the difference a thorough washing makes is remarkable. Grab your rubber gloves and vacuums—it’s time to get scrubbing.
The most common things you forget to clean around the house
1. Exterior windows, screens, and interior window sills
Now that it’s starting to get warm out, Maker says it’s the perfect time to give your exterior windows a nice cleaning.
“The other day I went around the house and I did all my exterior windows. We back on to a trail, we have a beautiful backyard, but it can it can be really hard to enjoy if the windows are dirty,” she says. “Once I cleaned them it just made all the difference—the inside of the house sparkled.”
Maker says you’ll need a double-sided window squeegee and an extension pole, like these: Ettore Complete Window Washer ($10) and Ettore 16 ft. Reach Extension Pole ($34). Fill a bucket with warm water, a tablespoon of dish soap, and a cup of white vinegar. Dip the spongy side in the bucket, wash the window, and then flip the window washer to squeegee off the water. “Each window takes about 30 seconds,” she says. The extension pole allows you to tackle second-story windows without needing a ladder, she says.
Next, you can pop your window screens out and scrub them in the bath tub with dish soap and an Iron Handle Scrub Brush ($5). “Screens catch things like dirt, dead bugs, little pieces of plants—they can just get really dirty over time.” You can do the same with screen doors by scrubbing with the iron handle brush dipped in warm soapy water, and removing the soap and debris with a wet Microfiber Cleaning Cloth ($25).
You’ll also want to show your window sills some love. “When your windows are open and closed, and open and closed, dirt blows in and it lands on the sill,” she says. Start by loosening up any dirt with a cleaning toothbrush, vacuum the sill using a brush attachment, and wipe it down with a damp cloth.
Maker cleans her exterior windows and screens once or twice a year, and cleans her sills whenever they’re visibly dirty.
2. Shoe closets and doormats
Maker says your shoe closets and door mats trap tons of dirt and debris that you track into the house on your shoes. “You can bring allergens in, you can bring in dirt, just unwanted stuff comes in,” she says. A 2008 study from the University of Arizona, funded by The Rockport Shoe Company, found that the average shoe sole is covered with 421,000 bacteria and that 90 percent of the time, bacteria transfers directly to clean tile floors.
“I don’t always vacuum every room every time I vacuum, but I always vacuum those mats. Because keeping those clean keeps the rest of my house much cleaner,” she says. The floor of a shoe closet can get really gritty with dirt and debris, Maker says, so aim to vacuum it three to four times a year.
3. Dishwasher Filter
“If you notice your dishes aren’t coming out clean, it’s a good indicator that you need to clean your filter,” Maker says. She notes that older models don’t have these, but in newer models, it’s a mesh container located in the bottom of your dishwasher. To see if you have one and how to remove it, check the manufacturer’s instructions for your model.
“Typically, you unscrew the filter, pull it out, and soak it in the sink with hot soapy water. You can use a cleaning toothbrush to scrub the mesh, and then just put it back,” she says. “You’ll notice your dishwasher runs so much better. You won’t get that grittiness on your glasses and things stuck to your plates.”
There’s a difference between cleaning and disinfecting your home—here’s what to do and how often. And this is the germiset spot at your desk you’ll want to disinfect ASAP.