Want Your Home to Really Sparkle? Don't Forget These Little Details the Next Time You Clean
Your screens and lamp shades need love, too.
You know how you can walk into a space that feels tidy and generally clean, but there's just something that gives off a hint of griminess? That's what happens when you take care of the big stuff, like vacuuming the floor and wiping down the counters, but forget to tend to the little, often-forgotten details. From dusting the ceiling fan to wiping down window screens, make sure to add these six commonly missed spots to your cleaning to-do list for a home that really sparkles.
Windows tend to accumulate dust, fingerprint smudges, and who knows what from animals and kids who smush their noses up against them. You’re probably already hitting them with the glass cleaner on a regular basis, but what about the screens and the external side of the window covered by said screen?
“Over time, your home won’t look as bright as it used to be if these spots are neglected,” says Brian Sansoni, senior vice president of the American Cleaning Institute. “Remove the screens and use a soft brush to clean with water and mild dish soap. Then rinse and air dry before replacing.”
Try something like the MyLifeUNIT Mesh Screen Cleaner ($14.99; amazon.com). For the windowpanes themselves, use your preferred glass cleaner with a clean cloth or paper towel. You can also try plain vinegar. If they’re high, either break out the ladder or consider the long-handled squeegee route. Try ITTAHO Multi-Use Window Squeegee ($16.99; amazon.com).
“While cleaning, it’s a good time to also wipe down windowsills, frames, and blinds and launder your curtains,” adds Sansoni. Ideally, this is done quarterly.
Just like anything else in your home, lamp shades collect dust. However, they tend to get missed in the weekly chore roundup. Over time, you just get used to looking at it and don’t realize how dusty they are, notes Kadi Dulude, cleaning expert and founder of Wizard of Homes. “I recommend using a brush extension on your vacuum to gently clean the shades every time you thoroughly vacuum your home,” she advises. Alternatively, you can use a dry microfiber cloth or a duster.
First impressions matter, right? While you’re making sure the front entrance is tidy and boasts some curb appeal, don’t forget to give the door itself a proper wipe down.
“The door is the first thing you see when you walk into your home, but we're so used to it that we don't pay attention,” says Melissa Maker, a cleaning expert for Scotch-Brite and founder of Clean My Space. “Over time, especially after rain and snow, it can get dirty and dull and a little refresh goes a long way.”
All you need to do is fill a bucket with warm, soapy water and some old rags. Wring the rags out, then give the door a good scrub. Next, fill your bucket with fresh water and give the door a final wipe down with a clean, microfiber cloth. You can get a pack of 12 from MR. SIGA for $11.99 on amazon.com.
While these items get touched all the time, they’re often last on the cleaning to-do list. Again, it’s one of those situations where we get used to seeing something as an invisible fixture and don’t realize how grimy they can get.
“Not only are these spots more prone to getting grungy from everyone’s hands, they also are hotspots for germs,” notes Sansoni. “First, clean them with soap and water or a multi-surface cleaner. Once dry, you can use a disinfectant spray or wipe. Make sure the surface stays wet for the entire contact time listed on the product label. If the surface isn’t visibly dirty, you can go right to the disinfecting step.”
We tend to look down and around when cleaning our homes. Looking up and cleaning there matters, too! This includes the ceiling fans.
“You might think that the dust can't collect there because the fan is often in use and that makes the dust fly down onto the floor, but that is wrong,” notes Dulude. “Ceiling fan blades get very dusty fast. They need to be dry dusted as part of weekly cleaning, and deep cleaned as part of seasonal deep cleans.”
For the deep clean, put down an old sheet on the floor to protect whatever’s underneath. Then, use a step ladder to get up and use dampened microfiber cloths to get the big gunk off. To finish, use a multi-purpose spray on the blades and wipe them down with clean, dry cloths. Don’t forget to address the light coverings (if you have them) while you’re up there.
Dulude also recommends doing a weekly or bi-weekly dusting with an extension pole blade cleaner. Try Eversprout Flexible Microfiber Ceiling & Fan Duster ($24.99; amazon.com). While you’re at it, make sure to check ceiling corners for cobwebs.
We’re pretty good about wiping down the front exterior of our appliances, but what about making sure their insides sparkle, too? For example, if you want your clothing to smell and look amazing and your dishes to sparkle, you’ll need to care for the appliances that help clean them.
“Clean appliances will usually work better and run more efficiently,” explains Sansoni. “Check the directions from the manufacturer. Usually, appliances should be cleaned monthly and there are products specifically designed to clean them that can help. In addition, be sure to regularly clean out any filters.”
He adds that it can also help to leave your washing machine or dishwasher open for a bit after using so it can dry out. This curbs potential bacteria or mold buildup.