What else can I clean?
July 13, 2018 9:53 AM   Subscribe

I recently noticed that the grout between my kitchen floor tiles was not actually supposed to be dark (shudder!), but after a good scrub, it's a floor I'm proud to use the five-second rule with. I seem to be nesting and I'm wondering what other hidden yuck I'm missing in my house. Inside and outside chores are welcome--yucky/picky/finicky/forgotten ones especially--but nothing that requires permanently changing the structure of the house, as I rent. Thanks!
posted by stillmoving to Home & Garden (43 answers total) 84 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Have you cleaned under the stove? I did that in a rental once and at first thought the floor was bare concrete because I couldn't see the tile.
posted by FencingGal at 10:05 AM on July 13, 2018

Best answer: Back and under the fridge? So much gunk can collect back there.
posted by Lescha at 10:09 AM on July 13, 2018

Best answer: Btw, for floor grout cleaning, I just dump either bleach or hydrogen peroxide on the floor every now and then. When it dries the grout is white. This may not be the recommended procedure.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:09 AM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I have found filters and screens in places I didn't know existed; look at your oven, dryer, sink, washing machine, etc and you will probably find some grossness to rinse or brush out. Very satisfying.

Also seconding under the stove as well as under the stove cover, and the sides of your stove. I used to volunteer at a ReStore and the donated stoves pretty uniformly had at least disgusting side covered in decades of greasy residue from cooking.
posted by stormygrey at 10:09 AM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Inside light fixtures. So many dead bugs.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:10 AM on July 13, 2018 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Pots, pans, sheetpans, cookie sheets can all be scrubbed back to sparkling shininess. Bar Keeper's Friend is your friend.
posted by hydra77 at 10:11 AM on July 13, 2018 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I grew up in a house where we were expected to help maintain the house and do all of these things regularly. I hit these maybe twice a year; and I definitely lived with roommates who had no idea that these were things you could clean.

1. Taking a toothpick to the hardware around your kitchen sink, and really picking out all the grime that collects around the seals; then once you've scraped them, wash as usual.
2. dust your baseboards, walls and doors. (walls you say? how can walls be dusty? dust them and be horrified.)
3. clean out your the rubber seals of your refrigerator
4. remove your stove knobs and wash with hot soapy water. (most just pop off, obviously if they don't your mileage will vary)
5. cleaning the floor under appliances.
6. the tray/underside of a dishrack.
7. wipe down all light switches/doorknobs. (I do this whenever someone gets sick, but if you haven't done this in a while, it makes a surprising difference)
8. wipe down the sides of the OUTSIDE of the toiletbowl. people remember the floor, and the inside, but never the outside.
posted by larthegreat at 10:11 AM on July 13, 2018 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Light switches and door handles!
posted by mochapickle at 10:11 AM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The space between the stove and the counters, or whatever is next to the stove. Pull the stove out to do this. It may cure you of your need to find things to clean.
posted by bondcliff at 10:12 AM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you have a non-glass tea kettle, then you may never have noticed how much scale is in there. Boil some vinegar. You could also wash the walls, but once you start that you have to finish it because it can really show. Consider carefully if this is how you want to spend your life. Shampoo your rugs, but again, you have to do the whole thing -- I have a dog and one of these spot-cleaning machines that cleans a little circle. The first time I used it, it left a clean-circle on the rug that was so glaring I ended up running the spot-cleaner over and over again in random-ish locations around the rug to make it looks like it was a polka-dot rug on purpose.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:12 AM on July 13, 2018 [19 favorites]

Best answer: Are there any marks on your walls or doors? Especially look around doorknobs and wherever you kick off your shoes.
posted by geegollygosh at 10:13 AM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The tops of everything! When I've seen health inspectors do their job, that was the first place they'd go to look for dust. Tops of hung photos. Top of kitchen shelving. Top of a magnetic knife holder. Etc.
posted by matrixclown at 10:15 AM on July 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Change your toilet seat. There is stuff under there you just can't clean.
posted by jtexman1 at 10:16 AM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The inside of your garbage cans, especially the organics bin can get kind of gross, even if you use bags. Also, if your bins are in a cupboard, the floor of the cupboard around the bins. I'm sure you've already considered the inside of your fridge, especially the crisper drawers and the in-door shelves.

I don't know if this is a desire to make your home look nice or a feeling that this kind of deep-cleaning is therepeutic. If the latter, please visit. I can put you up.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 10:20 AM on July 13, 2018 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Take hydrogen peroxide to the gunk around your bathroom and kitchen faucets. Pour it on, let it foam up, then remove the oddly textured mess with q-tips and a rag.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 10:23 AM on July 13, 2018

Best answer: Baseboards, around the openings of faucets and showerheads, inside light fixtures, around light switches and door handles (grime accumulates from people touching the paint around them, magic erasers are great for this), fridge handle, fridge drawers, inside of freezer to get rid of freezer smell, washer and dryer traps, range deep-cleaning, inside range hood (can collect grease), computer keyboards and mice, top of TV and other standing items you don't normally see the tops of. Zip your drain if you want a real gross treat.
posted by rachaelfaith at 10:23 AM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: - Clean baseboard trim
- Clean or replace stove exhaust fan metal filter
- Clean sliding glass door tracks
- Clean top of fridge
- Dust tops of hanging pictures/mirrors
- Wash trash cans
- Clean laundry ductwork (might be good for a contractor)
- Wash curtains
- Wash pillows
- Dust ceiling fan paddles

Also, toothpicks, old toothbrushes, and cotton swabs are great cleaning tools!
posted by jraz at 10:24 AM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

The inside of the fridge, especially in and under all the drawers at the bottom and the shelves on the door.

The grout in the bathroom, and--as I discovered recently, to my horror--the underside of any built-in soap storage or anything like that in your bathroom.

The inside of all your cabinets--there's always a honey bottle that didn't quite get closed, or a bottle of soap that's leaking a bit, and I bet you cash money that somewhere in your house, there's a cupboard that's all sticky.

All the cabinets in the kitchen, as well as on top of the fridge and the stove hood, if you have one. Cooking can send oil droplets soaring, and they'll eventually build up and eventually things will start feeling slightly tacky to the touch. It's gross.

Also, anything that water comes out of--like, cleaning just inside of the tap. I've found that things bump or touch it and crud will slowly build up right where the water comes out. Rubberband a baggie of vinegar over the kitchen faucet and your showerhead and etc.
posted by mishafletch at 10:27 AM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Wash window screens (assuming they’re removable) and get out any debris that’s collected in the space where the window closes.

Check the medicine cabinet for anything really out-of-date.

Wipe the insides of cabinets that contain food to get little crumbs of this and that. Wipe down the whole inside of the refrigerator. Dust the refrigerator coils.

Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher.

Flip the mattresses. Wash pillows (if they’re washable - dry clean if feathers? I don’t know, we use cheap ones).

Clean the dishwasher drain, if it has a removable part.

Inspect furniture for dirt you could clean off, spiderwebs on the undersides of cabinets that have legs, dings in the finish that you could touch up. Vacuum cushions and down into the crevices of upholstered furniture.

Apply touch-up paint to walls and woodwork as necessary. (Landlord may have some?)
posted by lakeroon at 10:30 AM on July 13, 2018

Best answer: Throw out your sponges more often.
posted by Melismata at 10:35 AM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Fans collect major dust. This includes the bathroom exhaust fan.
posted by MovableBookLady at 10:36 AM on July 13, 2018 [4 favorites]

Best answer: The spinning water spraying arms of your dishwasher can have a surprising and disgusting amount of food particles jammed into them. Especially if your plates and glasses always seem to have specks of food on them after a cycle. The arms can usually be removed and then you can poke at the holes with a toothpick and rinse them out well from multiple angles with the sink faucet.
posted by castlebravo at 10:49 AM on July 13, 2018 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Sink traps! If you have the bottle kind, you can unscrew the bottom and take out So Much soap gunk and hair. U bend type, snake them.

Also, any mechanisms, handles and latches on your windows. Toothbrush time.
posted by I claim sanctuary at 11:03 AM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Buy this thing. Put it down every drain in the house. Be amazed and disgusted by what comes out, and pleasantly surprised at all the drains going down twice as fast.
posted by tchemgrrl at 11:03 AM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: If you have a dishwasher, pull out whatever filters/screens it has in the bottom. You'll be amazed. Also, under the lip of any undermount sinks if you have them.

Definitely the dryer vent hose. That was like...several small animals worth of lint and dog hair. Also, with our dryer stuff accumulates under where the lint trap sits.
posted by thejanna at 11:25 AM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Remove everything from a closet. Vacuum/dust/wipe clean the closet. Replace everything you want to keep.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:28 AM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The door seal in your fridge/freezer gets all kinds of crumbs and gunk in it.
posted by fso at 11:29 AM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Sink traps will often yield their accumulated gunk to a steaming hot deluge of water.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 12:14 PM on July 13, 2018

Best answer: If you have a porcelain sink, use a little bleach on it and be amazed how much brighter and cleaner it looks.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:24 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oooh nobody said mine yet! The sides of the inside part of your dishwasher door! All kinds of slop gets on them when loading the dishwasher and nobody ever thinks to clean them.
posted by HotToddy at 1:32 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Vacuum the lampshades.

Clean the TV screen.

Behind and under the microwave is where you can usually find a few surprises.

Wash the bathroom walls. Why are there little brown drips on them? Is condensed shower steam brown? Someday I'll use an Ask for this. It's not because the condensed steam is washing dirt off my walls, I wash them too often. 'Tis a mystery!

Wash the throw pillow covers if they're washable. Because those get exposed to way more stuff than bed pillows and are rarely ever washed.

Wash any shoes that are washable, and your slippers. Clean shoes are wonderful.
posted by HotToddy at 1:40 PM on July 13, 2018

Best answer: The back of your wooden chairs, in between the rungs, on the downward-facing surface. EAURGH.
posted by notsnot at 2:13 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Clean the light bulbs first, then you can see the rest of the dirt better. (Great-grandma wisdom.)
posted by bluebird at 2:49 PM on July 13, 2018 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I recently took apart my vacuum cleaner, because it wasn't picking up as well, and it smelled funky. Well, no wonder. The internals were coated with years of pet fur and other grossness. I washed every single piece, every screw, every spring, every part that could come off. I made it all the way to the motor with the fan blades, which I couldn't get apart, but cleaned with Q-tips. It was a very satisfying weekend.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 3:07 PM on July 13, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: I removed a bottom drawer in the kitchen and found.....let's just say a mess. Range hoods tend to get greasy.
posted by SemiSalt at 4:04 PM on July 13, 2018

Best answer: Use a safe step ladder, the top edges of doors and any molding that has an upper surface. Inside light fixtures.
posted by sammyo at 7:13 PM on July 13, 2018

Best answer: Take fans apart and clean them thoroughly. Regular ceiling fans, inset/bathroom fans, desk fans, window box fans, range hood fans...
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:39 PM on July 13, 2018

Best answer: Seconding bathroom exhaust fan.

Inside the AC returns (you can unscrew the metal cover), especially if you have pets.

Slats of the blinds.

Power wash your driveway, sidewalk, porch, path to the front door, patio, and/or deck. Soooo satisfying.

If you have vinyl siding, it could probably use a scrub. Especially if it is white.

Car cup holders.
posted by raspberrE at 8:50 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I use the long skinny nozzle attachment on my vacuum cleaner to suck up all the bits that end up in the cutlery drawer trays when I clean the kitchen. Skirting boards, tops of window blinds rolls, hung picture frames, and door architraves are also on the deep cleaning list.
I reckon you should regularly wipe light switches and door handles because what multiple people touch is usually a skanky germ farm.
posted by honey-barbara at 11:25 PM on July 13, 2018

Best answer: The mouldings that frames your doors. My family loves to hang on to a door frame as they round a corner.

The handle of the refrigerator.

The light switches.

I tend to clean from the top down, so seconding the suggestion above to clean the tops of things. Either use a microfiber cloth, or your hose attachments for the vacuum. Tops of picture frames and door frames.

Also nthing the suggestions to clean around your baseboards. I vacuum the edges where the carpet meets the wall, as this seems to be an excellent hiding/breeding spot for the tiniest of creatures, who I don't mind in their own right, but I do mind for the fact that their predators seem to follow them into the house.

I use a small, short-handled... broom? brush? to "sweep" my window and door screens (because they be easily removed for better cleaning). I do this from the outside as they get quite dusty. Then I use the vacuum from the inside to remove dust in the window tracks and sills.
posted by vignettist at 11:30 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Clean your faucet aerators! It improves water pressure and taste.

It's super easy but people will think you are super impressive to do such a thing.
Step by step instructions available here: https://www.dummies.com/home-garden/plumbing/clogs/how-to-clean-a-faucet-aerator-and-sink-sprayer/
posted by donut_princess at 11:35 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]

Best answer: (donut_princess I totally cleaned all of the aerators in the house last night! Tackling the shower head tonight).
posted by vignettist at 7:57 AM on July 19, 2018

Response by poster: Great tips, thanks everyone!
posted by stillmoving at 1:48 AM on July 20, 2018

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