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21 Things You Didn’t Know You Should Be Cleaning

Even if you clean your house often, there are probably a few places you missed. When life gets busy, it’s hard to remember to keep up with things that aren’t as obvious. But now more than ever, it’s important to keep things clean if you want to live a happy and healthy life. Here are some things in your home that you probably never clean but should as soon as possible.

21. Remote Controls

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After a long day, many of us like to watch TV to wind down. But do you ever think about how many things your hands touched before you sat down on the couch? The germs from your hands and the hands of everyone else in the house end up on your remote control. The Times of India says that a remote control is twenty times dirtier than a toilet. Use disinfectant wipes or spray on your remote control the next time you’re cleaning. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands after using the remote before you eat or touch your face.

20. Light Switches

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Unless you have a smart home where you can control the lights with your voice, you probably touch light switches every day. But do you clean them often? Simmons College in Boston says that a light switch has as many germs as a garbage can. And there are 112 colonies of bacteria per square centimeter on a hotel light switch. Yikes! Always use a disinfectant wipe or spray to clean off your light switches.

19. Coffee Machine

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Every day, many of us make coffee. Some people even leave the coffee grounds or pod in the machine overnight and don’t bother to get the filter out until the next morning. Mold will grow on anything that is wet and left in a dark place for a long time. And over time, hard water can build up in your coffee machine and make it hard to use. Don’t forget to clean your coffee machine every so often by running water and vinegar through it without coffee. Depending on how dirty your machine is, you may need to do this more than once before it’s completely clean.

18. Trash Cans

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Most people think that since we line our trash cans with plastic bags, we never have to clean them. In reality, trash cans are full of germs, especially in the kitchen where we throw away food containers, egg shells, and other things. Spoon University says that Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria are often found in trash cans. Don’t forget the trash cans outside, either. Take the time to clean your trash and recycling bins with dish soap, bleach, and water from the hose the next time it’s warm and sunny outside.

17. Dishwasher

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Most people think that a dishwasher never needs to be cleaned because every time you run a load of dishes through it, it cleans itself. In reality, the food that falls off your plates has to go somewhere, and it’s usually left in the machine. To clean your dishwasher, you can run it through a cycle with vinegar. You can also buy cleaning tablets at the store to use in the dishwasher. If you want to learn more, Good Housekeeping has a whole guide on how to clean your dishwasher every day, every week, and every month.

16. Refrigerator

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Every day, even when we’re sleeping, we use our refrigerators. But there are still a lot of people who never clean their fridges. So it makes sense that weird smells happen. Take the time to take everything out of the fridge every so often. Use a spray that kills germs to clean everything. Take out the drawers and shelves carefully so you can clean them, too. If this makes you nervous.

15. Pillows

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When do you change your pillows? And have you ever thought about cleaning them clean? You might wash your pillowcases once a week when you clean your sheets. But pillows can get dust mites and bacteria on their own as time goes on. Your throw pillows and upholstery are also getting dirty over time. The Cleveland Clinic says that if your pillow is dirty, it can even make you sick. So make sure to clean them or get a new one every one to two years.

14. Garbage Disposal

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A lot of people swear by their garbage disposals because they make their lives easier. But after a while, you may notice that it starts to smell bad. Putting a lemon through the garbage disposal will get rid of these smells. You can also kill some of the smelly bacteria by pouring vinegar and baking soda down the drain. You should clean the garbage disposal every so often. Home Depot has a step-by-step guide on how to clean it if you want to learn more.

13. Washer

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Your washing machine is another thing that you might think cleans itself because you put soapy clothes through it every day. But a washing machine holds the dirt and grime left behind by the things you put in it. You can buy washing machine cleaner at the store, or you can run a load of just water, vinegar, or bleach through the machine to clean the inside. If you want to see more tips and tricks, check out HGTV’s guide on how to clean a washing machine.

12. Hairbrushes

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Every day, we brush our hair, but most of us forget to clean our hairbrushes. Over time, they can get clogged up with hair product residue and the natural oils on our scalps. Plastic hair brushes and combs can be put in the dishwasher to make them easy to clean. If your horsehair brush has a wooden handle, you shouldn’t put the whole thing in water because it could damage the wood. Just put a little shampoo on the bristles and clean them. Use a towel to dry it. If you do this once a month, your hairbrushes should stay clean and fresh.

11. Computer Keyboard

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You may use your computer keyboard every day, especially if you work from home. How often do you touch your face, food, or anything else in your house after touching your keyboard? The University of Arizona says that there are 400 times more germs on a keyboard than on a toilet seat. This is especially true if you are using a keyboard that other people also use at work or school. There are a lot of ways to clean a keyboard, which is good news. You can get into the tiny spaces between the keys with a wipe, Q-tips, spray, or even slime.

10. Vinyl Siding

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If your house has vinyl siding on the outside, you may forget to clean it often. In the picture above, someone is using a power washer to clean vinyl siding. But if you have a small stain on your siding, you can clean it with soapy water and a sponge. Take a sponge, a bucket of soapy water, and a warm day in the spring or summer to spot-clean your vinyl siding.

9. Outdoor Lights

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We almost never clean outdoor lights, mostly because we think that rain will clean them up. But over time, bugs, spider webs, and other things can get stuck in these lights. If you want your house to have real curb appeal, you might want to climb a ladder once a year to clean the lights outside.

8. Oven

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If you like to cook, your oven is a very important appliance. This means that everything that drips or splatters inside the oven is building up. There are a lot of oven-cleaning sprays on the market, and there are also a lot of tips and tricks for getting it really clean. A second tip is to put tin foil on the bottom of your oven so that drips never get on the coils.

7. Dryer

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Just like your washing machine, your dryer needs to be cleaned every so often. This is especially true when it comes to lint that builds up inside the dryer. If you don’t clean this out, it’s a huge fire risk. If you want to clean the inside of the dryer drum for health reasons, you can use a standard disinfectant spray or vinegar. Don’t forget to clean the back of the machine, the pipes, and a lot more.

6. The Bagless Vacuum Filter

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People buy a bagless vacuum so they don’t have to deal with bags anymore. But that doesn’t mean there’s no maintenance for the vacuum. If you want the vacuum to work as well as it did when you first bought it, you need to clean the filter every so often. The Dyson cordless vacuum filter has little pictures of faucets on it to remind you to rinse it out with water. But be careful, because not all vacuum filters can get wet. If you’re having trouble, look up the make and model of your vacuum online to find out how to clean the filters.

5. Soffit Vents

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Many of you are probably wondering, “What in the world is a soffit vent?” These are the holes in your roof near your gutters that let air move around your roof. If your soffit vent is blocked, air won’t be able to move through your attic as it should. This can make the cost of cooling go up. Compressed air is the only way to clean a soffit vent. Look at the Family Handyman for a full explanation and guide to cleaning soffit vents.

4. Walls

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Your walls may be one part of your home that you never think about cleaning. But the walls get dirty just like the furniture does. Spider webs can often be seen building up in the corners of your walls and ceilings. You can get a Swiffer to reach high places, or you can wipe down the wall with a damp cloth. If you want to paint a room, this is especially important. Before you paint, you should always clean the walls.

3. Air Conditioner

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Before you put your air conditioner in the window once a year, you need to give it a deep clean. Taking the filter out to clean it isn’t always enough. Dust, dirt, and even mold can grow inside the machine, so keep that in mind. If you feel like it, you can take the machine apart and clean your house thoroughly.

2. Mattresses

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Many of us clean our sheets once or twice a week. But how many of us actually clean the mattress? This can be done by vacuuming off the dust that builds up on top of the mattress. If the mattress starts to smell, sprinkle baking soda on top and let it sit for at least an hour. This will get rid of any smells, and you can then vacuum up the baking soda. Also, you might want to flip your mattress, which will help keep your weight from making dents in it.

1. Deck

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Many of us don’t know where to start when it comes to cleaning a deck. Some of you might have composite decking, while others might have treated wood. You can use dish soap, vinegar, or a cleaning solution like Oxyclean to clean a deck made of any material.