It can be challenging enough to get the dishes washed, dust the furniture, and vacuum the rugs. However, keeping up with other, less noticeable household chores can help keep your home free from the dust and germs that trigger allergies and irritate your lungs. Furthermore, keeping up with monthly maintenance on household appliances keeps them working smoothly and serving you at maximum capacity. Check out these 15 household objects and consider how you can work them into your cleaning schedule on a monthly basis.
15. Garbage Disposal
Cleaning your garbage disposal will help it run smoothly. Furthermore, smelly food residue creates a moist environment that can harbor bacteria. At least once a month, pour baking soda into your disposal, add some white vinegar, and allow these substances to go to work. Next, flush out the disposal by running hot water. You can use a dash of salt and the cut edge of a lemon wedge to scrub the rubber splash guard. Then, drop the lemon into the disposal and run it to clean the blades and release a fresh, citrusy scent.
14. Refrigerator Coils
Keeping your refrigerator coils clean will help keep your refrigerator running efficiently. These coils may be located on the back of your refrigerator, on the top of the fridge, or at the bottom of the appliance. To clean this area, first unplug your appliance. Next, remove the grill if necessary, and loosen up any debris coating the coils. Finally, use a vacuum attachment to suck away the dirt, dust, and pet hair you have loosened up. Replace the grill, plug in your fridge, and you are good to go!
Even if you are careful to cover food before heating it in the microwave, you may discover splatters and bits of food residue inside. Cleaning your microwave is a simple task if you have a bit of lemon juice on hand. First, place about half a cup of water in a shallow, microwaveable dish. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or lemon juice concentrate. Then, heat the open container in the microwave for two minutes. Carefully remove the container of hot water, and you should be able to easily wipe down the interior of the microwave with a damp cloth.
Many household appliances contain filters that trap dust, grime, or food particles. Check these filters on a regular basis and either clean or replace them. Soak your range hood filter in hot, soapy water before scrubbing it with a brush. You should be cleaning the lint trap of your dryer each time you use it. However, you can prevent fires and increase efficiency by regularly cleaning out the hose between your dryer and the outside vent. Your dishwasher also has a filter where food particles may become trapped. Furnace filters should be replaced every three to 12 months, depending on the type.
11. Air Vent Covers
If you glance up at your air vents, you may be shocked to discover how much dirt and dust have accumulated on them. Give the vents a dusting with a microfiber cloth or use a vacuum cleaner attachment to whisk away dust and dirt. If necessary, remove the vent grates to clean them more thoroughly and vacuum the interior of the vent.
10. Washing Machine
Your washing machine works hard to launder your clothes. Unfortunately, detergents, grime, and hard water deposits can build up in the interior of your machine as well as within the pump and hoses. The moist and humid environment of your washer may also harbor bacteria. If you wash your laundry on the cold cycle, your machine may benefit from the sanitizing effects of a hot water cycle. Bob Vila recommends wiping out the interior of your washer, then running a hot water cycle with bleach. Next, check the inlet screen on the back of your washer for debris.
9. Blinds and Baseboards
Neglect your blinds for too long, and they will become caked with dust and dirt. Jenny
Stanley at Family Handyman offers a trick for cleaning both sides of blinds simultaneously. Simply attach a rag or piece of microfiber cloth to both sides of a pair of kitchen tongs and run the tongs along each section of your blinds. Baseboards also tend to attract dust. You may need to give extremely dirty baseboards a good scrubbing. However, baseboards that receive regular attention may require only a light dusting with a microfiber cloth.
8. Upholstered Furniture
When vacuuming carpeting and rugs, don’t forget to give your upholstered chairs, couches, and loveseats a once-over. If your furniture harbors the smells of food, pets, or sweaty socks, sprinkle the cushions with baking soda before vacuuming. Don’t forget to vacuum beneath the cushions, where you may find a treasure trove of loose change, lost pencils, and cookie crumbs.
7. Throw Rugs
Throw rugs can harbor dust, dirt, hair, and germs. Merry Maids recommends cleaning your throw rugs with your vacuum cleaner and an upholstery attachment on a regular basis. For a deep cleaning, you may be able to wash cotton rugs in your washing machine. Wool rugs require more gentle treatment. Give them a good shaking followed by vacuuming them and gently scrubbing by hand with a mild detergent.
The decorative pillows on your couch can also benefit from regular cleaning. Removable pillow covers are easy to toss into your washing machine. However, the inserts can also harbor dust. Check the labels on your pillows. Many times, they can be placed in the washing machine on the gentle cycle. Bed pillows also attract dust, hair oils, and drool. Fluff them regularly, wash them on the gentle cycle if applicable, and consider hanging them out in the sunshine as a natural disinfectant.
5. Ceiling Fans and Light Fixtures
Removing dust and dirt from ceiling fans will help you breathe easier. You can use a pillow case to trap dust and prevent spreading it while cleaning ceiling fan blades. Simply slip the pillow case over each blade to wipe it. Light fixtures also gather dust. Furthermore, you may be surprised how many insect carcasses have taken up residence inside the fixtures. You can wipe down light fixtures with a microfiber cloth or remove them to clean in soapy water.
Washing windows is often a dreaded chore. However, standing back and admiring the beautiful effects of a sparkling clean view makes this task worth the effort. Equal parts vinegar and hot water can clean your windows and leave them sparkling. Invest in a squeegee, like the OXO Good Grips All-Purpose Squeegee, to make tackling this task even easier.
3. Shower Drains and Tile Grout
To clear shower drains, first pull out any tangles of hair that may be clogging the area. You may need to get a screwdriver to remove the drain covering in order to get at the blockage. Next, pour a cup of baking soda into the drain, followed a few minutes later by a cup of vinegar. Allow this solution to work for one or two hours. Then, flush out the pipes with boiling water. While you’re in the bathroom, you can scrub dingy tile grout with a stiff brush and a mixture of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dish soap.
2. Garage Doors
You probably don’t give your garage door much thought until it stops working. Keep your garage door running smoothly by keeping the hinges and rollers lubricated according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Furthermore, your automatic opener will work better if you keep the area around the sensor swept clean.
1. Outdoor Living Spaces
If you focus your cleaning efforts on the inside of your house, you may neglect to keep up with outdoor living spaces. Dirt, leaves, and cobwebs can accumulate on your patio, deck, and porch areas. Give your garage, patio, and sidewalks a good sweeping every month to keep these areas fresh and welcoming. Outdoor furniture can be washed with a mild, biodegradable detergent and rinsed clean. Use a solution of vinegar and water to clean outdoor glass. Don’t forget to give your grill a deep cleaning to remove charred food particles and grease.