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Have You Cleaned These Dirty Areas Lately?


We all know a clean home can bring great peace of mind. But how do you know if your home is truly clean? Believe it or not, there are many nooks and crannies we regularly forget to clean—whether we intend to or not.

For a truly clean living space, it’s time to really think about where the dirt and grime is hiding—and how often you clean those areas. We’ve outlined some of the biggest culprits, how often they should be cleaned, and how to do it. So grab your rubber gloves and get cleaning!


Garbage Can (Every Week)
Make sure your garbage can is clean by howtoclean_garbagewashing it with a diluted solution of bleach and water. Once dry, sprinkle baking soda in the bottom, and let sit for ten minutes. This will help to absorb any residual odors that may lurk around. Be sure to wipe it out with a paper towel and let dry completely before putting in a new bag.

Light Switches (Every Week)
Think about how often you and your family howtoclean_lightstouch the light switches in your home. Now think about how often you clean them! Once a week, spray a household cleaner or rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel and wipe down the switch. Don’t spray the cleaner directly on it, as too much cleaner could get behind the switch.

Window Blinds (Every Week)howtoclean_blinds
Window blinds might help filter sunlight, but they also collect dust. If you don’t want a really big chore on your hands, dust your blinds weekly with a microfiber duster in the direction of the slats. For heavier dust, you can use your vacuum—with brush attachment—on its lightest setting.

Ceiling Fan (Every Two Weeks) howtoclean_fan
Ceiling fans are notorious for collecting dirt and dust. Hello allergies! To clean them, put an old pillowcase over the blade. Hold the blade through the pillowcase, and slide off to collect dust. Repeat on each blade, and then toss the pillowcase in the wash to use again next time.

Washing Machine (Every Month)
Washing machines, particularly front-load howtoclean_washingwashers, can develop a foul smell over time. To ensure yours stays fresh, set your washer to its hottest water setting, add two cups of white vinegar directly in the machine, and run the cycle entirely.
Repeat with half a cup of baking soda.
Be sure to wipe the machine clean when
done—especially around the rubber seals.

Garbage Disposal (Every Month)
The odor that comes from a dirty garbage howtoclean_disposaldisposal is not pretty. Tackle that smell with this routine: with the disposal turned off, put a mixture of ice and white vinegar (or salt) into the disposal. Turn on the disposal, and let it run for 10-15 seconds to remove any buildup and grime. Some also recommend dropping a lemon wedge in the disposal periodically to maintain freshness.

Showerhead (Every Month) howtoclean_shower
Nothing is worse than a weak shower.
To keep your showerhead clean and powerful, pour white vinegar into a sandwich bag, and secure the bag around your showerhead with a rubber band.
Let the vinegar sit overnight, and then carefully remove in the morning. Wipe the showerhead clean with a cloth.

Dishwasher (Every Month) howtoclean_dishwasher
Are you noticing your dishes aren’t getting completely clean? Maybe it’s time to clean the dishwasher! When the dishwasher is empty, place one cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe container on the upper rack, and run a hot water cycle. Next, add a cup of baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher, and run a short hot water cycle.

Mattress (Every Six Months) howtoclean_mattress
You clean your bed sheets regularly, but what about your mattress? To remove any spot or surface stains, use a cloth and upholstery cleaner. For a quick refresh, you can also sprinkle a light layer of baking soda on top, let sit, and then vacuum with an upholstery attachment.

Pillows (Every Three to Six Months)
Your pillow is one of those often-howtoclean_pillowsoverlooked but highly-used items that needs a good cleaning once in awhile. You can put them in the washing machine, but be sure to place one on either side  to balance the weight. Use the delicate setting with an extra rinse cycle, and be sure to use gentle detergent. Finally, dry on low
heat until all moisture is gone. Set aside to
air dry completely.

Oven (Every Three to Six Months)
Most of us keep our oven disasters behind howtoclean_ovenclosed doors for far too long. If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, you can sprinkle baking soda on the base of the oven and spray vinegar over it until it becomes a light foam. Allow this to sit overnight and then wipe clean the next day. For really grimy areas, use a paste of baking soda
and water, and follow the same method.


Following these easy steps to clean these commonly overlooked items will help ensure your home stays clean—and your family stays healthy.

For more spring cleaning ideas and DIY projects, visit www.americanlifestylemag.com/spring.