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10 Forgotten Cleaning Chores

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The basics might be easy. You manage to get the obvious dirt removed from your home. But how are you doing on these hidden cleaning chores?

1. Under the Washer and Dryer

When we replaced our washing machine and dryer, I was shocked by the amount of stuff that had accumulated underneath the machines. I had neglected that area, focusing on the parts of the floor that could be seen. Honestly, depending on the amount of use your washing area receives, you'll only need to move the washing machine and dryer 2-3 times a year unless an obvious spill happens. Get help to move these items, since this is frequently a two person job. Be careful not to damage the floor by moving the machines improperly. Remove anything that has fallen behind and underneath the machines. Sweep and mop the floor before replacing the machines. Doing this every 4-5 months will keep the floor from being ruined and alert you to any leaking or spill issues.

2. Under and On Top of the Refrigerator

We remember to clean it out, because the smell and stickiness alerts us whenever we open the doors to the refrigerator. But what about on top and underneath that same refrigerator? The top of the refrigerator accumulates dust that won't be easily visible unless you are very tall. Behind and underneath the refrigerator can accumulate the same dust and food residue that is normally found on the kitchen floor. All it takes is a quick wiped down to clean the top. To clean underneath and behind, you may need help to move the refrigerator without damaging yourself or your floor. Once the refrigerator is moved, sweep and mop. Finally, replace the refrigerator. Repeat these steps every 3 months or as needed.

3. Baseboards and Molding

Our baseboards and molding add decorative touches to our homes. But when was the last time you looked closely at them? Our baseboards and molding accumulate dirt and dust that can easily go overlooked. Over long periods of time that dirt can actually discolor and damage the finish and/or paint on the baseboards and molding. Dusting these areas a few times a year will be enough to keep them clean.

4. Ceiling Fans

We rely on the ceiling fans in our home to help keep us cool. The more you have the ceiling fan going, the less likely you are to notice a buildup of dust and dirt. Ceiling fans are notorious for attracting thick layers of dust. My favorite way to clean a ceiling fan is to use a brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner wand. I'm able to dust the ceiling fan and have the vacuum suck up all the dirt. Depending on the season, ceiling fans should be cleaned monthly or ever few months.

5. Inside the Dishwasher

We put dirty dishes in the dishwasher and expect them to come out clean. But what do we do when our dishwasher needs a good cleaning. Ignoring it is definitely not the answer. Taking the time to clean out the dishwasher isn't time consuming as long as no glass has been broken inside. I like to run my dishwasher without any dishes on high. I add a 1/2 cup of baking soda and a few tablespoons of coarse salt to the empty load of dishes. There are also commercially available products to clean the dishwasher.

6. Inside the Washing Machine

If you have clean clothes, thank a washing machine. Or, better yet, let's make sure our washing machines get a little attention. Front loader washing machines get a bad reputation as being smelly, but there are easy ways to prevent that from happening. Keep the washing machine door open in between loads to allow the drum to fully dry. Every few days, wipe out the rubber seal. Hair, debris, and dirt tend to collect here. If you wipe it out at least once a week, it will not begin to smell. There are washing machine cleaners you can buy. For me, running the washing machine on a hot load with no clothes in it is usually sufficient. Sometimes I'll add vinegar to help clean it out even more.

7. Inside the Pantry

The tendency with a pantry is to stuff the things we bring home from the store wherever they will fit. Doing so can leave us with hidden items that may go bad before they are rediscovered. Taking a few minutes every 2-3 months to organize the pantry and wipe of shelves will prevent this from happening.

8. Inside the Couches

It is a longstanding joke in our family that every couch we've owned likes to eat our possessions. Because of this, the couches get cleaned out on a fairly regular basis, at the very least, whenever anyone loses anything. But for a lot of homes, the interior of the couch is easy to ignore. Depending on your family type and size, you may not need to clean the couches very often. For a family my size it is necessary ever 1-2 months. We take the cushions off and retrieve any missing items from the crevices. Next the couch and cushions are vacuumed and replaced. It's a simple job, but easy to overlook.

9. Outdoor Trash Cans

Our inside trash cans give us a warning when they need attention. The outside ones receive less concern because of their location. But if you've noticed neighbors purposely crossing to the other side of the street whenever your trash cans are out, you may need to do a little clean up. Cleaning outdoor trash cans can usually be accomplished with a garden hose and a little dish soap. For tough jobs, a scrub brush or even diluted bleach may be necessary. Outdoor trash cans will need more attention in summer than they will in the winter.

10. Inside the Vacuum Cleaner

I'm the official vacuum cleaner emptier. It's not a glamorous job, but I do it nonetheless. Because of my family size and the ages of my children, I usually have to empty the bagless container on my vacuum cleaner every 1-3 days. In additon I do a thorough cleaning of the container every 1-2 months. Doing so keeeps the vacuum cleaner running in tip top shape.

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