Imagine shining a torch in every nook and cranny in your home.
I’m talking about under kitchen appliances, behind the toilet and under the bed. Behind the toaster, under the oven and behind picture frames.
What do you see?
If you’re anything like most people – a lot more dust, dirt and hair than you’d like to admit!
You probably spend a lot of time cleaning your home. It’s a never-ending and often thankless job – so I’m not suggesting this is due to laziness.
But it’s only when you get up close and personal with neglected areas that you realise a lot of dirt gets missed.
These places gradually become filled with germs, grime, mould, hair and who-knows-what-else – and most of us aren’t even aware of it. When it’s finally time for a thorough spring clean, suddenly you notice all the areas that really should be cleaned but aren’t.
It’s not all about appearances either. Many of these places are the perfect trap for allergens and bacteria, which can harm your health.
So to help you clean more thoroughly, here are 26 often-overlooked places you should remember to clean. I’ve also included tips for cleaning these areas quickly and with minimal cost.
1. Behind the Toilet
Even if your toilet looks sparkling clean from the front, dust and grime can build up behind it – and most of us forget (or avoid) cleaning there.
Make sure you use gloves when cleaning this location though. It’s the perfect spot for germs to breed.
2. House Plants
Just because house plants are alive doesn’t mean they don’t collect dust and dirt. Occasionally cleaning their leaves can reduce allergens in your home and is also healthy for the plant.
An easy way to clean a house plant is to use a hairdryer to blow off dust. Make sure you do this before vacuuming though. You can also put them in the shower for a 30-60 seconds to wash away particles on the leaves (be careful not to over-water though).
3. On-top of Bookshelves and Doors
Out of sight places are the easiest to forget to clean. Dust and dirt quickly builds up in these locations if you don’t make a conscious effort to clean them.
For this reason, dust above bookshelves, refrigerators and doors, as these can be breeding grounds for bacteria and dust mites. Your vacuum’s hose with a duster attachment can be great for this job.
4. Toothbrush Holder
Have you looked in your toothbrush holder recently? If not, it’s probably filled with germs and even mould.
Make a habit of thoroughly cleaning your toothbrush holder every time you clean the bathroom. This prevents germs from breeding – which is important considering your toothbrush goes in your mouth!
5. Washing Machine
Do your clothes come out of the washer smelling musty rather than fresh? If so, your washing machine might need a clean.
You should read your machine’s instructions to find out how to clean it properly. But in most cases, running a hot wash with a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar can do the job.
It’s also a good idea to leave the washing machine door open when it’s not in use. This allows the drum to dry which can prevent mould.
Curtains often get overlooked when vacuuming, but they can harbour just as much dust as carpets or upholstery. They can also trap allergens such as dust mites and pollen, causing them to be released each evening.
A vacuum cleaner with a handheld attachment is probably the fastest way to remove dust from curtains. Start at the top and gradually vacuum down (make sure you do this before you clean the rest of the house). You can also use a damp cloth for stubborn dirt.
7. TV Remote
Most people rarely – if ever – clean their TV remote. Yet it’s constantly being touched, which provides plenty of opportunity for germs to spread.
Make sure you take out the batteries before you clean the remote. Then use an anti-bac wipe to get rid of bacteria and dirt.
8. Under the Oven
One of the most shocking places to shine a torch is under your oven. Unless you clean it often, it’ll probably contain a horrifying mixture of spider webs, old food, dust and hair.
Make sure you clean underneath your oven regularly to prevent this nasty build-up. A vacuum crevice tool can be useful for this job.
The sponges you use for cleaning can quickly become covered in germs – but you don’t need to throw them out.
As long as the sponge doesn’t contain any metals, you can zap it in your microwave to kill the majority of bacteria. Make sure it’s damp and then microwave for two minutes to kill the germs.
Dishwashers are another appliance that often gets ignored when it comes to cleaning. This is a mistake, as food and gunk can clog the machine. Dishwashers also often suffer from limescale build-up.
You can use vinegar to clean the dishwasher. Simply clean the filter, then run a hot cycle with a cup of white vinegar on the top shelf. This should get rid of left-over food and calcium.
Soft toys are a magnet for dust, pollen and other allergens – yet most people don’t wash them anywhere near as often as bedding.
If the toy is machine washable on a high temperature, this is the easiest way to get rid of allergens while killing bacteria. If the toy can’t survive a ride on the washer, use a vacuum attachment at least once a week to get rid of as much dust as possible.
12. Skirting Boards
Skirting boards (the wood that runs around the bottom of your walls) are quick and easy to clean – but many people forget to do so.
Use a damp cloth to get rid of grime and dirt that’s built up on the wood. It’ll only take a few minutes but gives your room an immediate boost.
13. Shutters and Blinds
Shutters are fiddly to clean, which is why it’s often easier to ignore them. You don’t need to thoroughly clean them too often, but getting rid of dirt with a micro-fibre cloth once a month can keep them looking as good as new.
Blinds can also get covered in gunk – especially in the bathroom or kitchen. This requires a deeper clean, so you’ll probably need to remove the blinds before wiping them with a damp sponge.
On a similar note, you may want to read our guide to 13 places you’re probably forgetting to vacuum.
When was the last time you wiped your extractor? If it wasn’t recently, the exterior is probably covered in grease from cooking. If you don’t clean the extractor regularly, it becomes more difficult to remove the build-up.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to clean the extractor on a weekly basis. Soapy water can usually do the trick.
15. Vacuum Cleaner
Your vacuum cleaner is an essential tool for cleaning your home – but how often do you clean the appliance itself?
Many vacuums have designs with lots of small cracks and crevices. These are a magnet for dust – especially if your vacuum has poor filtration. Wipe down the cleaner regularly to prevent this. You should also clean the filter to prevent loss of suction.
It might sound obvious, but your bin is one of the dirtiest items in the house. Even so, it’s easy to forget that it needs to be cleaned after taking out the bag.
Fortunately, cleaning a bin is usually quick and easy. Use anti-bacterial spray and give it a good scrub to prevent odours and bacteria. If possible, leave it to dry in the sun.
17. Coffee Maker
Coffee machines are notorious for limescale build-up. In the long-run, this can cause damage to the machine and ruin your coffee’s taste.
A quick way to give your coffee machine a thorough clean is by running a cycle of water and vinegar. Follow this with a cycle of only water to get rid of any vinegar residue.
18. Shower Curtains and Shower Heads
Mildew and mould can quickly build up on shower curtains, especially if your bathroom has poor ventilation. If you don’t clean the curtains regularly, you’ll need to replace them when they become stained and ugly.
You can easily prevent this though. Most shower curtains can be put in the washing machine as long as they are with towels or other items. Add a small amount of baking soda for curtains that are starting to lose their shine.
It’s also important to regularly clean your shower heads. You can do this using a combination of distilled white vinegar, lemon essential oil, and a sandwich bag – check out How to Clean a Shower Head for a great explanation of the process.
19. Bed Frame
We all wash our bed sheets, but most of us forget to clean the bed frame. Regardless of the type of frame you have, it’s important to clean it to prevent dust and grime build-up.
A quick way to do this is with a micro-fibre cloth. Make it slightly damp and wipe down all surfaces. It’s a good idea to do this just before you wash your sheets, so any dust stirred up into the bedding is immediately removed.
20. Throw Pillows
Like soft toys, throw pillows are often forgotten when it comes to cleaning the bedroom. Yet they attract dust, dead skin cells and other things you don’t want anywhere near your bed.
Check whether your pillows are machine washable. If they are, then simply putting them in the wash every few weeks can prevent build-up of dirt and dust. For pillows that aren’t suitable for machine washing, use a vacuum to get rid of dust and a wet sponge for stains.
21. Washing Up Holder
If you don’t have a dishwasher, you probably have a holder for washing up. The various compartments for cutlery and plates can become filled with gunk, so it’s important to clean this regularly.
The easiest way to do this is with an anti-bacterial wipe. Make it a habit to clean the holder and rinse it thoroughly at least once a week.
A life without toast is unthinkable – but are you taking good care of your toaster? The crumb tray of a toaster can fill up surprisingly quickly, which can eventually cause problems. Empty this regularly to keep your toaster in top condition.
It’s also a good idea to wipe the toaster’s knobs and exterior with a damp cloth when you empty the drawers.
One of the most disgusting items in the home is probably your computer keyboard – especially if you eat at your desk! The cracks between keys become filled with dust, food and grime, which is the perfect breeding ground for germs.
Cleaning a keyboard can be a fiddly job, but it’s definitely worth it. A cotton bud is great for getting into the crevices and removing grime.
Mattresses are one of the prime locations for dust mites to breed, which is why allergies are often worse at night. This can partly be prevented by using allergen-proof covers, but it’s important to clean the mattress too.
When you next change your sheets, take a few minutes to vacuum the mattress to remove as much dust as possible.
25. Behind Radiators
Dirt and dust can easily build up behind radiators, as this location is difficult to clean. So if you haven’t thoroughly cleaned your radiators recently, they are likely to be filled with spider webs and dirt.
26. Light Switches
As light switches are repeatedly touched, they can harbour bacteria and viruses. For this reason, it’s important to clean them to prevent the spread of germs.
Summary and Next Steps
If you’re like most people, the thought of adding all these locations to your cleaning routine is overwhelming!
The good news is that this isn’t necessary. Instead, pick one or two to tackle each time you’re on a cleaning spree. Most of these neglected places don’t need to be cleaned daily or even weekly.
Do you forget to clean an of these places? If so, which ones? Let me know in the comments!