10 Parts of the Home You’re Forgetting to Clean

When was the last time you cleaned the top of your fridge? What about the bottom of your area rugs? Maybe youíre good about keeping up with general cleaning, but there are several parts of your home you might be forgetting (or avoiding on purpose). Hereís a friendly reminder to give these 10 spots in your home a good cleaning.

1. Rugs

If you have area rugs in your home, you hopefully already vacuum them every week or so. But thatís only half the battle in keeping a truly clean rug. Over time, dust and dirt travel down through your rug to the underside, especially around the edges. So for an optimal clean, itís a good idea to flip over your rug and vacuum its underside, as well as the floor underneath it. You donít have to do this every time you vacuum, but itís not something to forget entirely either.

For basic rug maintenance, Merry Maids suggests taking smaller rugs outside and shaking them. Then, sprinkle baking soda on the rug before vacuuming to neutralize odors. And once or twice a year (or more for high-traffic areas), do a deep cleaning. But donít forget to check your rug care instructions before applying anything.

2. Plants

a woman wipes dust from a houseplant

Mother Nature keeps outdoor plants clean with rain and wind. But indoors, your plants will collect dust and possibly unwanted pests if you donít remember to regularly clean them.

Itís important to know the needs of your individual plants, as some foliage doesnít appreciate getting wet. According to Gardening Know How, you can dust most houseplants with a soft cloth or damp paper towel. You also can make your own nontoxic insecticidal soap if necessary. Plus, some plants benefit from an occasional shower or misting to wash off dust and pests and to provide humidity. And donít forget to remove dead foliage because it becomes a breeding ground for pests and disease.

3. Appliances

You might give your sink and stove a quick wipe as part of your regular kitchen-cleaning routine, but when was the last time you deep-cleaned your appliances? Appliances might seem intimidating to clean, but you probably already have most of the ingredients necessary to get them sparkling like new.

For instance, HGTV recommends placing a container full of vinegar on the top rack of your dishwasher and then running it at the highest setting to give it a good cleaning. And running a vinegar-water solution through your coffeemaker will remove any dirt, mold and mineral deposits. Plus, to clean your garbage disposal, HGTV says to “pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of vinegar. Let the mixture bubble for a few minutes; then pour a bucket of hot water down the drain to rinse.” Of course, be sure to consult with your appliance manuals before attempting any cleaning method.

4. Kitchen faucet

While youíre in the kitchen cleaning appliances, take a look at your kitchen sink. The whole sink area should be disinfected daily, as itís a prime breeding ground for bacteria. And donít forget about your faucetís aerator. Bacteria, minerals and other debris love to build up on that little screen at the end of your faucet. Luckily, cleaning it is extremely simple. According to HGTV, “Remove and soak it in white vinegar every couple months to get rid of germs and lime buildup.” Itís that easy.

5. Reusable bags

Four colorful eco-friendly reusable bags filled with groceries in the back seat of a car.

If youíre shopping with eco-friendly reusable bags, kudos to you for keeping the planet healthy. But you have to keep yourself healthy, too, by making sure those bags stay clean.

Follow your bagsí care instructions, and take advantage of the ones you can machine wash. For the bags that canít go in the laundry, either hand wash in warm, soapy water or wipe them with a disinfecting wipe. Ideally youíll do this after every grocery trip to prevent any germs from the store from taking up residence in your bags.

Always dry your bags completely before storing them, and think twice about keeping them stashed in your car. “You should never store reusable bags, especially unclean ones, in the back of your car or the trunk between uses,” Good Housekeeping says. “Excessive heat can cause bacteria to grow even faster.”

6. Electronics

You likely know your cellphones, remotes, keyboards and other electronics are full of germs. But how good are you about regularly cleaning them? Wipe down those items with a disinfecting wipe at least weekly ó or more often depending on use. HGTV also suggests using a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol to gently clean the buttons on your remote or keyboard. You might be surprised by the dirt that comes off of those items.

7. All the high places

Dirt might seem like it has friends in low places, but it does take the high road, too. Case in point: Run your finger along the top of a door frame (and then please wash your hands). Unless youíre a judicious cleaner, youíll likely find some dust up there.

Make a plan each month to dust all the high places ó the tops of cabinets and doors, ceiling fans, molding, your refrigerator, etc. ó that you might skip in regular cleanings. To make the job easier on yourself, invest in cleaning tools that can reach up high. And remember that professionals clean rooms from top to bottom, meaning you should wait to dust and vacuum lower areas until after you knock down the dirt from above.

8. Toothbrush holder

toothbrushes in a toothbrush holder on a bathroom counter

If you use a toothbrush holder, hopefully you remember to clean and disinfect it regularly. One study found toothbrush holders had the second highest number of germs out of 30 common household items tested, only behind the ever-icky kitchen sponge. To kill anything lurking in your toothbrush holder, Good Housekeeping recommends soaking it in a solution of 1 part bleach to 3 parts water. Or you can run it regularly through your dishwasher.

9. Trash cans

Itís not just your trash that smells ó it might be the can itself if youíre not cleaning it regularly. Merry Maids suggests cleaning your kitchen trash can at least monthly. Working from the cleaner outside to the dirtier inside, simply wipe the can with a microfiber cloth and warm, soapy water or disinfecting spray. And make sure itís completely dry before inserting a new bag.

Plus, to maintain a clean can, make sure the trash bag fits snugly to catch everything you throw in it. And always wipe up spills in the can immediately. A messy trash can is definitely not something you want lingering in your home.

10. Vacuum cleaner

Thanks to your trusty vacuum cleaner, youíve finally sucked all the dust and dirt out of your home. Congrats! Now, show your vacuum that same love. You probably already empty your vacuum regularly. But how often do you clean the brush roll, filter and attachments that run over all the dirt and germs in your home?

Check your vacuum ownerís manual for recommended cleaning and maintenance instructions. Typically, you can use a scissors to cut hair and other debris from the brush roll to keep it functioning properly. And most attachments and other parts are easily cleaned with soap and water. Just make sure everything is dry before using the vacuum again.

Main image credit: seb_ra/Thinkstock


Val P
Val P3 months ago


rachel r
Past Member 3 months ago

Thank you.

Peggy B
Peggy B4 months ago

I don't forget any of these.

Paulo R
Paulo R5 months ago


Chad Anderson
Chad A5 months ago

Thank you.

hELEN h5 months ago


Edith B
Edith B5 months ago

Thanks, never thought about the vacuum cleaner.

iskrica k
iskrica knezevic5 months ago

thank you!

Anne Moran
Anne M5 months ago

I clean most of these...

Ruth R
Ruth R5 months ago

No 4. Can't understand why we really need those filters in the taps. After all, if there's any grit or dirt in the tap water, you want it to flow out, not lurk around in there. Ok for the washing machine inlet, as you don't want stuff accumulating in the works.