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I'm a cleaning expert. Here are 5 things (almost) everyone forgets to clean

Luckily, they only take a few minutes to tackle.
/ Source: TODAY

Cleaning your house from top to bottom is no small feat. 

Even if you made your spring cleaning checklist and checked it twice, it's easy to miss a few areas when you're taking on such a big job. Whether it’s a corner where dust bunnies collect or a spot that’s hidden from plain view, we're here to ensure that you give every square inch of your house the TLC it deserves.

We turned to Sarah McAllister, cleaning expert and CEO and founder of Bleach, Pray, Love and GoCleanCo to put together a list of the top five places people often forget to clean. Some of them might seem obvious at first glance, but McAllister offers helpful cleaning tips that'll help you target all the nooks and crannies in your kitchen, laundry room and beyond.

If cleaning isn’t your thing (ahem, like most of us), McAllister recommends starting small. “Go from one room at a time,” she tells “If you try to hit it all at once, you’re gonna overwhelm yourself and give up.”

Follow this room-by-room approach as you tackle the spots McAllister points out below.

Washing machine 

McAllister finds that people often forget that the machines in their home also need some attention — washing machines, especially.

McAllister recommends scrubbing the seal around the perimeter with bleach to get rid of any staining or mold. 

For top-load and front-load washing machines, she also suggests running a washing machine cleaner on a hot normal cycle once a month. This machine-specific cleaner can reach behind the drum, getting rid of odor and mold. 

Some washing machines even have a filter on the front that can be removed and drained once a month, or at least on a seasonal basis.

“Those are usually pretty slimy and gross,” she tells “If you have a really smelly machine, I suggest you look up your make and model and see if it has a filter that says you can clean.”

Remember to keep the washing machine door ajar so it can air out between uses.

Behind the fridge 

You may think a superficial wipe down suffices, but McAllister suggests moving the fridge away from the wall to tackle whatever's behind it.

“If you don’t vacuum behind your fridge and the vents and stuff, it gets really dusty and clogged up especially if you have pets and it doesn’t run well,” she says. “Then it’s working harder to do its job.”

While you're at it, pull out some of the shelves from the interior and give them a good clean. Ideally, shelves should be wiped down every time you put in new groceries, she says.

If you’re cleaning glass shelves, make sure the water is at room temperature so the glass doesn’t crack. “You don’t want to go hot to cold,” she warns.

Dishwasher filter

Most dishwashers have a filter at the bottom that traps food and other particles — but when was the last time you cleaned yours?

Dishwasher filters can be easily unscrewed and removed from the machine. But first, you'll have to figure out where it's located. Turn to the owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website for guidance, but typically it can be found in one of the back corners or near the base of the bottom spray arm.

“It can get stuck with like slime and gunk and food but also hard water deposits so then that filter doesn’t run properly, like the water doesn’t move through it,” she tells

Once you find and remove the dishwasher filter, scrub it clean with a soft brush. Be sure to be gentle with the delicate filter screens. If the filter's caked with food residue, then let it soak in warm, soapy water before cleaning.

"You cannot clean this with anything other than bleach or vinegar, just do not, under any circumstances mix bleach and vinegar," she adds.

This process should be done once a month to make sure the machine is working most effectively. McAllister recommends running the dishwasher on the hottest, longest cycle with a splash of bleach to remove tough stains, mold and mildew from the interior.

Vinegar can also be your friend if you have hard water and mineral deposits. But again, don't ever mix bleach and vinegar together, she says.

“You’re putting your dishes in there, and you’re thinking your dishes are getting clean but they’re not,” she says. 


McAllister finds that when people see a spill at the bottom of their oven, they tend to let it slide. But it’s easy to wipe up a stain with dish soap, she says. 

“You’d be surprised how quickly it will come out before being baked on for two months,” she says. “Every time you run your oven when you have a big dumb stain it gets worse and it’s harder and harder to lift.” 

If your oven has a self-cleaning feature, McAllister suggests running it a couple times a year. Never leave your house while it’s running and be sure to open your windows and turn on the overhead fan. 

“If you’re going to clean your oven with an oven cleaner make sure it’s safe for a self-cleaning oven,” she says. “There’s specific products that if you use the wrong cleaner on it, it can damage the high heat finish for self-cleaning and then you can never use that function again.”

Don't just focus on what's inside. Run a vacuum underneath the oven to get rid of crumbs, dust and food particles. If you can’t move the oven away from the wall, McAllister recommends seeing if you can pull out the bottom drawer and wipe the floor.

Under beds and couches 

When you’re ready to pull those under-the-bed boxes out to switch our your wardrobe, be sure to clean whatever's underneath 'em.

“Make sure you vacuum underneath there because it can get really dusty and gross and you breathe that in while you’re sleeping,” she says. 

And while you have the vacuum out, swipe it underneath couches and other hard-to-reach spaces. Pro tip: Grab a friend or partner to help you move heavy furniture before the cleaning begins.