For the longest time, we’ve given the soap scum in our shower and the dust bunnies under our bed a free pass. And while there’s a part of us that’s enjoyed turning a blind eye to the grease and grime that surrounds us, it’s time to put an end to the mess.
No matter how serious you take your annual deep clean, even the most diligent neat freaks among us can be forgetful sometimes. In the middle of checking off long-ignored to-do items on your list, like shampooing the living room carpet, dusting the ceiling fans, or wiping down kitchen appliances, nonurgent nooks can easily squeak by. Luckily, a small group of Redditors has brought those overdue tasks to our attention.
In a cleaning-focused thread, the site’s savvy community of users addressed the obscure spots we miss—from light switches and vent grates to cabinet doors and refrigerator coils. Ahead, we break down how to tackle five of the most frequently ignored areas of the home.
Under the Refrigerator
Didn’t think you could take your kitchen deep dive one step further? Think again. Spring-cleaning is a great opportunity to sanitize the interior of your fridge by clearing out old condiments and wiping down each shelf and drawer, but it’s also the one time of the year where you should take a peek underneath. After all, all the crumbs you miss on vacuum day are hiding out under here.
How to: Remove the bottom grill if you have one. Gently pull the refrigerator away from the wall and unplug it. Vacuum or steam the floor to your heart’s content and use a coil brush or throwaway toothbrush to wipe off any dust, dirt, grime, or pet hair from the coils. If you aren’t able to move the refrigerator away from the wall, you can catch lingering debris by attaching a pair of pantyhose to the end of a broom handle and sweeping it underneath the unit.
The Tops of Window and Doorframes
If you swear by a thorough cleaning schedule, we’re guessing you’re probably already wiping down your windows every month. We’re also guessing that you’re only cleaning the glass when you do so. While the dust hanging out along the frame might not deter your view, it sure isn’t pleasing to look at. The same sentiment rings true for doorframes. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
How to: Sprinkle a touch of baking soda on the edge of the frame, as well as any quirky grooves and corners. If you try to make a point of using your own natural cleaning products, mix together a solution of water, vinegar, and dish soap in a bottle and spray it on the surface. Scrub the edges with a toothbrush-like tool before wiping down with a wet towel.
If there’s anything Mary Poppins has taught us, it’s that cleaning a fireplace is dirty work. While you’ve put a lot of hard work into styling the mantel, it’s the interior duct that requires your annual attention. We know, we know: Out of sight, out of mind. But a caring for your flue can prevent a chimney fire down the road.
How to: Cover any furniture that’s near the hearth to protect it from soot. After examining the chimney for any debris with a flashlight from below, head up to the roof with your chimney brush, pipes, protective eyewear, and mask. Attach your first pipe to the end of your chimney brush. Raise and lower the rod until you are ready to fashion the next pipe on to the end so you can go lower. Repeat until you’ve been able to clean the entire length of the flue. Psst: If you’re a touch too intimidated to DIY, hire a professional to do the dirty work.
There’s little we love more than beautiful built-in cabinetry—be it millwork in the kitchen or custom living room bookcases. While we put a lot of thought behind what goes behind closed doors, we forget that said doors need a little TLC too. Trust us: The last thing you want is a guest going in for a clean glass only to be stopped in their tracks by a noteworthy layer of dust.
How to: First, set a timer for five minutes—because, yes, that’s all the time you’ll need to get this job done. Lightly mist the door fronts with a surface cleaner or a home-made mixture of vinegar and warm water. Wipe down with a soft cloth.
Under the Sofa
There’s a reason you’ll find a piggy bank’s worth of quarters under everyone’s living room sofa: No amount of money is worth fighting off the colonies of dust bunnies that accumulate in this unreachable spot. While most of us would rather wait until we move to avoid getting our hands dirty, sprucing up the space underneath the sofa will give you peace of mind and help any allergy sufferers in your household.
How to: If you’re looking to sneak in a workout while you clean, prop your sofa or loveseat onto its side while you tackle the floor with a dry duster or vacuum. However, if you’re dead set on not moving any furniture and your sofa sits on a bare wood floor, use an air compressor to blow any hard-to-reach dust bunnies out in the open.