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1. The Washing Machine
Regardless if you have a front-load or traditional top-load washing machine, it’s essential to make sure that it’s cleaned regularly. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that everyone keeps up with consistently.
The kind of soap you use or the hardness of your water may factor into how frequently your washer machine should be serviced. Drainage issues or other concerns can develop as well if the unit isn’t cleaned often enough.
If you’ve ever noticed a subtle, off-putting smell—or even headed straight into Funky Town every time you open your washing machine door—chances are good that you’re overdue for a cleaning and may even have a mold issue. If left unchecked for too long, the smell of mold can build up in the machine and also get onto clothing, which can be pretty tricky to get rid of.
Tip: Try setting a reminder on your phone or calendar to remind you every month or two.
2. The A/C Filter
Air conditioning filters help to protect your heating and air conditioning systems and help filter the air inside your home. In some cases, they can affect the cost of your heating and cooling expenses.
HVAC professionals and industry manufacturers often recommend that households change their filters every 1 to 3 months. This may depend on the filter grade or quality you use. The frequency to change your filter will also depend on whether or not you’re even using the system during any given season.
Did you know: Aside from saving your system and potentially your lungs, changing your A/C filter can mean less dusting. Because new filters trap dust particles more efficiently, that means less of it is floating around your home.
3. Air & Heating Vents
Cleaning the a/c vents is something that many forget, if not purposefully avoid altogether. After all, it’s boring, tedious, and people tend to leave it be for so long that they no longer even notice it.
However, it’s good to keep in mind that any air traveling from your air conditioning system and a/c filter will inevitably be blown through the vents, too. That means that you’re not only potentially inhaling extra dust but creating more dusting for yourself also.
Dusting your vents at least once a month is a great way to ensure that dust isn’t being spread throughout your home unnecessarily. It will also be that much more manageable in the long run since it only takes a few seconds, rather than having to grab a ladder to detail clean each one individually, were you to wait too long,
4. The Dishwasher
Dishwashers can be a hotbed of bacteria, dirt, grime, debris, and buildup. And just like with the washing machine, it can become more challenging to clean once things start to accumulate.
This is why dishwashing machines should be cleaned regularly. Some manufacturers suggest every month or two.
To see how often you should clean your dishwasher, how to do a regular or monthly maintenance cleaning, as well as how to perform a detailed deep cleaning, check out these posts for more information.
- How to Deep Clean Your Dishwasher: A Step-by-Step Tutorial
- How Often Should You Clean Your Dishwasher? (includes a quick how-to guide for monthly cleanings)
5. Under Microwaves & Overhead Exhaust Vents
Despite all of the work our microwave exhaust vents do to filter bad odors, gasses and air outside, they’re one of the more overlooked items in the home.
Because overhead exhaust vents are also near the stove—in all of its greasy and food-splattering glory—they’re often in the direct line of fire of whatever happens to be cooking.
Cleaning underneath your microwave or overhead exhaust vents is quick and easy to do if done consistently. However, the longer you wait, the more difficult it can be to get clean.
I generally try to do it after every meal that I cook on the stove that might’ve splattered and by using a damp microfiber cloth. Otherwise, I aim to do it at least once a week; however, some find that once a month works as well. Vents can go inside the dishwasher or in a sink full of hot, soapy water. I also set a reminder on my calendar, so I know I’m staying on top of it.
6. The Top of the Refrigerator
Believe it or not, your fridge can be a bigger dust magnet than most of the items in your house. Aside from gravity and moisture, electricity also draws dirt and dust to an object.
Oftentimes, all you’ll need to clean the top of the refrigerator is damp microfiber cloth or an extendable duster. One of my favorite dusters to use for this and dusting, in general, is the Swiffer 360.
A wet cloth and a little dish soap should work well on any built-up grime if you haven’t been up there in a while. If you dust often enough, it should only take a few seconds and with little to no mess involved.
7. Behind & Under the Fridge
Cleaning behind and underneath a refrigerator is a task that a lot of people forget or simply blow off. However, a surprising amount of debris, bugs, and dust can land around the unit and can also create bad odors. This is more so the case if you happen to have kids or pets.
While some people would love to forget all that food and grime is there (and often do), it can draw anything from ants to roaches and, often enough, even spiders. Mice may also be an issue in some locations.
Moving a refrigerator usually only requires loosening up the front wheels underneath. However, with some fridges, you may need to make sure that the unit is in a level position once it’s put back in its place.
Luckily, the more frequently you do it, the faster and faster it gets to clean under there. This is also a good time to wipe down the sides and rear of the fridge, too. This generally takes me less than 5 minutes, simply using a vacuum, mop, and a barely damp microfiber cloth to wipe the back and sides down as well as surrounding wall and cabinetry.
8. Behind & Under the Oven
Just as with the refrigerator, your freestanding combination oven can be a hotbed for bugs, debris, dust, and other scary bits—if not more so. In fact, that’s something I had to learn about the hard way, and it was actually my first turning point in my cleaning journey.
I had been cleaning up a rental we were moving out of after almost 8 years, and I was still insanely lazy and learning the basics of cleaning. Moving the stove wasn’t even something on my radar, nor was it something I’d heard anyone else mention doing, but I was determined to get our rental deposit back and to keep a good landlord referral.
In the end, I figured it wouldn’t be too bad. After all, what could a few pets, two adults who didn’t even cook that much, and a semi-absentee teenager do, right? Right.
As it turns out, quite a lot, and I’ll never forget the colossal mess I found. We’re talking tons of fur, pet food, people food, pet toys, unidentifiable bits, scary bits, crawly bits, and even a mystery puddle of coagulated madness. Needless to say, I was horrified by what I found and vowed never to let that happen again. Believe it or not, I’ve actually stuck to it for several years, much to the amazement of…well, everyone.
Moving an oven can be simple and is something I covered in my post on the Top 5 Uses for Rubber and Felt Bumper Pads. It’s one of my favorite tricks and has made moving and getting behind the stove so easy that I don’t mind doing it several times a year.
Best of all, I don’t have to ask for help or wait for anyone to move it for me, which gives me fewer excuses or reasons to wait.
9. Pet Toys
Pet toys keep our favorite fur beasties entertained year-round, but they also get a lot of neglect along the way. Over time, bacteria, saliva, and particles that buildup can become unhealthy for you and your pet. They can also cause unwanted odors that you might otherwise be unaware of.
Many toys can be washed in the washing machine with a mild, pet-friendly detergent. If you’re unsure what treatment your pet’s toys can handle or how they should be cleaned, please refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or website.
10. Pet Dishes
Pet food and water dishes should be cleaned more frequently than most people tend to do it. And don’t worry—I used to be pretty bad at it when I was younger, too!
It’s often recommended to clean your pet’s dishes daily, if possible, or at least once a week. And no doubt your pet will appreciate it!
Some people prefer to do this by hand and in the sink, while others simply toss them in the dishwasher. Do what easiest for you and in a manner that you’ll feel more inclined to stick to.
While these 10 things you might be forgetting to clean at home may seem less important than others, it can still be beneficial to keep up on them regardless. Chances are also good that your home will feel cleaner when you do. In fact, you may even feel a little less stressed in the long run. This is usually the case for me—especially since the benefits generally outweigh the amount of effort and time involved.
What are some areas you feel most people miss? Comment down below!