You’ve vacuumed, dusted and de-cluttered every room, but, odds are, your house still isn't ready for holiday company. According to cleaning coach Leslie Reichert, most people fail to clean the following seven places in their homes. Have you forgotten any of them?
1. Garbage disposal
Not even your weirdest friends would inspect the underside of your garbage disposal flaps. But guests will notice the stink. The only way to remove the funk is to throw on some kitchen gloves and scrub that scummy build-up. An old toothbrush, sponge or Scrub Daddy and some baking soda will get the job done nicely. (Pro tip: Use old sponges that are on their last leg for this chore — you'll need to toss it afterward.)
2. Drain strainers
Since the kitchen’s the heart of the home (and where the food is), there’s a good chance guests will meander into it. When they do, a food-covered, slimy-bottomed drain strainer could be a real turn-off. Make it a habit to wipe the top and underside of the strainer basket with a wet cloth or sponge and some baking soda daily. Then scrub the rubber stopper attached to the end of the strainer. (That’s where stinky scum accumulates.) While you’re at it, wipe out the mouth of the drain and, if needed, scrub the ring around the drain with a toothbrush and some baking soda.
3. Ceiling fans
Once the dust on the edges of your ceiling fan blades look like fur trim, it's time to clean them. Use an extendible fan blade duster that slips over each blade for this job. It works well since it cleans both sides of the blade at once.
Another option is to climb a ladder and dust the fan by hand with a microfiber cloth. Or try the pillow case hack: Slip the case over the blade and use it to wipe the dust off of both sides.
To reduce future dust build-up, wipe the blades with a microfiber cloth and a dust-repelling spray, like Endust (or a DIY concoction of one-part liquid fabric softener to four-parts water).
For greasy, dusty kitchen fan blades, wipe first with a damp cloth, then go back and clean using an all-purpose cleaner (or whatever cleaner is recommended by the manufacturer). Rinse the cloth after cleaning each blade, then dry both the top and bottom of the blades to finish.
If you do clean the fan by hand, take a minute to dust the motor housing, pull chain, light bulbs and glass shades while you’re up there. If the shades are greasy or very dirty, wash them in warm, soapy water, then rinse and dry completely.
4. Tops of cabinets and the top of the fridge
Most guests won’t notice grease and dust on the tops of kitchen cabinets or the fridge but they will see grease and dust on baskets of greenery and other decorative items that you keep up there. Clean them both with a solution of 1 teaspoon of dish-washing detergent, 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar and 2 quarts of warm water, or use Reichert’s DIY Happy Hour cleaner. With ingredients like vodka, vinegar, lemon juice, essential oils and soap, it cleans and kills germs.
5. Underside of the toilet
Most people forget to clean the underside of the toilet bowl rim and the hard water/mineral rings. To tackle these, it’s best to empty the bowl first. (Turn off the water going to the toilet and flushing twice.) Scrub the inside of the toilet, especially under the rim, with a wet scrubby sponge and cleanser or DIY scrubbing powder. If there are hard water/mineral rings, scrub them with a pumice stone.
Hint: It only takes a second to check out the upper rim of the toilet each day and wipe off splashes as needed. (Reichert likes to use e-cloth because it picks up germs and is washable.)
Check out more toilet cleaning tips.
6. Shower grout
Discolored or mildewed grout practically screams “unclean” to visitors. Angie’s List contractor, Glenn Angelora, owner of The Grout Guy in Farmingdale, New York, has a couple of ways to clean it. Wipe it after each use with a Magic Eraser or scrub it every week with a soft scrub brush and a 1:2 mixture of vinegar and water.
Resist the temptation to use bleach or other harsh chemicals on grout, warns Angelora. They may work fast but they strip away the water repellent that’s in it, making it susceptible to mildew and discoloration.
Many believe that passing a squeegee over shower tiles is all that’s needed to clean them but that doesn’t take care of soap scum build-up. Reichert recommends that you stay ahead of this problem by spraying the entire shower with a well-diluted cleaning solution or full-strength distilled white vinegar mixed with a few drops of tea tree oil. (1 drop of oil to 2 ounces of vinegar.) Allow it to air dry.
Note: Always follow manufacturer’s directions for cleaning your particular surface. Do NOT use vinegar on travertine or stone.
Learn more shower cleaning tips.