Cleaning Experts Share Dirty Secrets: The Places Homeowners Always Neglect

May 22, 2020 by
Updated on May 22nd, 2020
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You may think you keep a fairly tidy home – clean floors, vacuumed carpets, shiny countertops, etc. But if any of the cleaning masters we’ve featured below were to walk through your home, let’s just say they might have a different story to tell. Get ready to uncover all of the dirty secrets – those little nooks and crannies you never think to dust, disinfect, or wash. Whether you’re in Atlanta or Bend, read on and enjoy these expert tips to make your home truly spotless!

Baseboards

Baseboard – If neglected, scour them clean with the scrubbing back of a non-scratch kitchen sponge and your favorite all-purpose cleaner. Once clean, maintain them by swiping them with a flexible microfiber duster on an extension pole (our favorite pick) at least twice a month. – Maid Pro

It’s easy to overlook the baseboards when cleaning your home. To clean your neglected baseboards, it is best to first move furniture away from the walls and use a microfiber cloth to dry dust them. To remove stubborn grime, dip the microfiber cloth into a solution of dishwashing soap and warm water. Dry your baseboards before moving your furniture back into place. – Valet Maids

Dryer vents

If neglected, brush them clean with a cordless drill and a dryer vent drill brush and watch the lint fly (do this from the outside of the home). Once clean, use the same brush and drill at least twice a year to make it a quick and far less messy chore. – Maid Pro

Air filters in your A/C

One of the most effective, and most overlooked cleaning tips isn’t actually “cleaning.” Air filters in your ventilation need to be replaced about once a month, or your A/C will actually spread dust all-around your home, forcing you to clean more often just to keep up with the dirty filter. – Maid Pro

The showerhead

Another one is shower head cleaning: if you’ve noticed a decrease in your water pressure, it most likely has to do with calcium buildup in the showerhead. To fix, fill a plastic bag with half water, half white vinegar, and use a rubber band to secure it around the showerhead. Leave the showerhead holes soaking in this mixture for an hour. – Easyway Maid Service

Crevices in the bathroom and kitchen

Crevices around the bathroom and kitchen sink faucets and small crevices in the back and at the bottom of the toilet seat are often neglected. We first spray our cleaning product on those areas to lose up the solidification of the dirt and water deposits. Then, with a small brush capable of reaching those areas, we scrub until the white and black spots go away. We do this in every cleaning so no accumulation happens. – Lilly’s Cleaning Service

Simple items that are often missed and taken for granted include the dish drying rack, shower curtain, sink sponge or even the sink itself! The filth that builds up in bathrooms and kitchens are much more microbial than the filth that is built up in the bedroom or living room, you always want to make sure that areas that can build up bacteria are disinfected regularly. – Sunrise Cleaning

Inside the kitchen cabinets + spice drawers

Homeowners neglect to clean inside of their kitchen cabinets. This must be done at least every 6 months so that spilled liquids and other items don’t attract roaches and ants. They also neglect to wipe down their most-used doorknobs. Not only are they greasy from kids’ hands, but they also have germs from every other person that comes into contact. That’s why they must be disinfected to promote a healthy environment.

The most often overlooked cleaning areas are the spice drawers and cabinets. Often, we use the spices when cooking, but neglect to wipe them after use. This causes the spice jars to accumulate oils and become sticky over time. A good approach is to give the jars a good wipe down with a microfiber towel and some dish soap. Also, wipe down the drawer or cabinet where you store them. – Maid Bright

The hinges and base of the toilet

Ever notice a lingering odor in your bathroom even after you’ve just thoroughly cleaned it? Check around the hinges and base of the toilet. If possible, pop open the covers of the hinges, spray with your favorite cleaner, and apply a utility toothbrush all around and on top of the hinges. Use a paper towel or microfiber cloth to wipe up. Then repeat on the bolt covers and the base of the toilet, brushing and wiping all around where it joins the floor. Voila – clean AND odor-free! – Town & Country Cleaning Services

The hood and filter above the stove

Pour in baking soda and dish soap: Pour a good squirt of de-greasing dish soap and 1/4 cup baking soda into the hot water. Swish around with a brush (not your hand because it’s too hot!) until the water is nice and soapy. Put greasy filters in water: Submerge your greasy exhaust fan filters into the water. Allow the filters to soak for 10 minutes. Scrub the filters. After soaking, take a non-abrasive scrub brush and scrub the filters. Add more dish soap to your brush if required while you scrub. Rinse and dry. – Busy Bee Cleaning Company

One of the places most homeowners forget to clean are their ovens hood range filters. Talk about hiding grease, these are not easy to clean by most cleaning methods. After adding baking soda, vinegar, and oven cleaner we let them sit in boiling water for an hour on the first side then turn them over for 30 minutes. Then, rinse with a sink sprayer. Usually, there is no scrubbing with this method. – Astrobrite

Also, when we finish cooking we make sure to clean our cooktop really nice but what about all that grease built up in the vent hood? Lastly, to mention the place we didn’t even know was a food warmer, we all use it to clutter it with unused pots, pans, and utensils. Better Choice Cleaning remembers to pull out the warming drawer to sweep and wipe all the unseen trash and dust! – Better Choice Cleaning

Tile grout

Tile grout to floors and bathroom showers needs cleaning too. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the bottle, then mix in 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide. The baking soda will help remove tough stains and hard water buildup, while the hydrogen peroxide will clean and brighten, cutting through residue on the grout to remove discolorations. – Busy Bee Cleaning Company

Curtains

Yes, you read that correctly – you should not forget to clean your curtains! While one wouldn’t miss noticing curtains in any room, surprisingly, many people forget all about them during cleaning. Curtains bring personality and show your unique tastes and you don’t want these gorgeous additions to collect dust. So make an effort to clean your curtains regularly. – Maggy Maid

Under the bed

You’re probably asking, why would you need to clean under your bed? After all, no one looks under there except you. While under the bed is the last place you can expect your guests to look, don’t forget that the space under it could be home to a gazillion dust mites, which of course, are not things you want to have in your room. – Maggy Maid

Bookshelves

Your bookshelves may not be bulging with fancy books but still, they are a prime focus in your living room that you shouldn’t miss. It is best to keep them orderly and clean any time of the day. Dust the top and sides of the bookcase with a clean microfiber cloth. And of course, don’t forget to dust the books’ tops and spines! Lastly, eradicate any items that shouldn’t be on your bookcase and properly place mislaid reading materials in their right spot. – Maggy Maid

Your carpet pad

Now, normally this is not cleaned or dealt with because, quite frankly, it doesn’t really matter. But…if a homeowner has pets that have peed on the carpet, even if the carpets have been professionally cleaned and deodorized, that odor will not go away if contamination in the pad is not dealt with effectively. Provided the problem is not too extensive, saturation treatments with extraction can be a very effective way to mitigate this problem effectively, instead of pulling up carpet and replacing the pad, or replacing the carpet altogether. – Summit Cleaning

Cleaning your cleaning supplies

Another area often overlooked during cleanings are the actual cleaning supplies themselves. Cleaning sponges, towels, or mops accumulate a lot of dirt and grime. It is a good idea to replace these items often to eliminate spreading bacteria and other grime to clean areas in your home. – Maid Bright

Lamps and light fixtures

For a cleaner, brighter home, try cleaning your light fixtures. Lamps and ceiling lights alike collect just as much dust as the rest of your home, reducing the amount of light you receive. Use a lint roller to dust lampshades or try soaking glass fixture covers in warm soapy water to scrub clean. Remember, allow glass coverings to cool after use before using any liquid to cleanse or you can risk the glass breaking. – Clean Arrival Home Services

Wood floors need extra TLC

Wood floors especially are the easiest cleaning task to put off. Neglecting regular maintenance cleaning is essentially like walking around with sandpaper on your feet! My recommendations are to vacuum not sweep because no one enjoys bending over to sweep up a line. My formula for vacuuming is once a week per person (or pet) who lives there. Don’t forget to vacuum under rugs! They especially trap the detritus that turns into sandpaper. A damp microfiber mop every couple weeks and once a week for high traffic areas will make your floor finish last longer. – Clean Affinity

Anywhere above eye level

Common areas that are often overlooked are usually above eye level, with no reason to look there. These include oven vents, bathroom vents, ceiling fans, and the top of mirrors, doors, and windows. (Window tracks get missed often too !) It’s good to go over these areas at least once a month to avoid buildup and stains. – Sunrise Cleaning

Homeowners always forget to clean the top of the shower rack and the top of kitchen cabinets! – My Cleaning Angel

Ceiling fans often have to become caked with dirt before homeowners notice them. Out of sight, out of mind also usually results in dusty wires behind entertainment centers, greasy oven hood vents, and positively gross tops of kitchen cabinets.  – Maid Pro

Your couch

  1. Check your couch’s cleaning tag before you do anything. The tag will likely have information about whether you can clean with water or dry cleaning solvents.
  2. Steam can loosen up the stain. If your couch can be treated with water, you can use your iron to steam the smaller stains.
  3. If cleaning your couch with water is ok, you should mix in a little dish soap and use a sponge to blot the stain. When you’re done, rinse the sponge and clean the remaining soap mixture with just water. Dry with a fresh cloth – That’s Clean Maids

The refrigerator and windowsills

Anywhere that dust can accumulate for weeks without anyone noticing – so above your fridge and the windowsills! These places are traps for a lot of bacteria, allergies, and even dead bugs. They need to be cleaned first with water to wipe away the layer of dust, and then with disinfectant to keep it sanitary. – Maid This

Doorknobs and light switches

When we talk about cleaning, everyone cleans the most obvious places: the floors, counters, and even the toilets! But the filthiest places are the ones we touch every day! Sanitize your doorknobs and light switches with antibacterial wipes or a vinegar solution, especially when the flu is going around! Better Choice Cleaning

Behind the toilet!

Homeowners often overlook cleaning the area behind the toilet. This is often the floor, exposed pipes and hoses, baseboards, walls, and anywhere else around the toilet where dust, hair, and nasty liquids often reside. If it’s been awhile, start by vacuuming the area. Then use a wet microfiber cloth to clean all around the area, including the exposed pipes and hoses, baseboards, wall, etc. Next, clean the toilet, starting with the top and sides of the tank, then inside the toilet bowl, the seat and lid, and the sides of the toilet.  Next, hand mop the area around and behind the toilet, then use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe down all exposed areas. This is how the pros do it! – Seattle Green Cleaner

People tend to neglect the back of their toilet floor. This area must be wiped down to remove missed trash from soiled tissue and other unmentionables. – Maid Serve

We remember to clean our toilet bowl and seat but who even remembers to actually clean behind the toilets? Our crews sanitize and scrub all that rust out of the way to make sure your toilets look their best!  Better Choice Cleaning

The carpet

People often overlook cleaning their carpet until it is too late. Most people notice their carpet starting to look dirty, and then they call a professional company when in reality, the carpet should be cleaned every 12-16 months (more often depending on the number of family members in a home). By the time dirt is showing, it has worked its way into the fibers of the carpet, breaking down the fibers. This causes a wear pattern that is irreversible. – Anchor Restoration

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Ryan is on the marketing team at Redfin and loves writing data-driven articles about all things real estate. Ryan's dream home would be a Cape Cod-style house near the ocean and the mountains.

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