House Cleaning Misses – Grungy But Forgotten


House Cleaning Misses - Grungy But Forgotten

What grungy mess lurks inside your home?

Most of us do at least some house cleaning.  That is, unless we’re blessed with an ability to ignore our mess altogether, or have an abundance of money and can pay someone else to do the job.  Since I don’t fall into either category, I’m often the one taking up the chore at our house.  And while I usually do a decent job of it, I can get into a cleaning “mode” where I’ll pretty much set myself on cruise control and think about other things to pass the time.  That means certain chores like vacuuming get done, but others are bypassed until there’s a notable accumulation of grunge.  Believe me, it can get ugly.


Are your feet clean?

Is your home clean enough to walk around in bare feet?

As I see it general household cleaning falls into two distinct categories.  These are (a) things I see and (b) things I don’t see unless I look closer.  Unfortunately, it’s the second category that usually gets me into trouble.  Suddenly, the gradual build-up of grit, grime or sludge not only shifts an item back into the “something I see” column, but it does it in a way where it typically offends my senses, I end up turning up my nose, and then I yell, “Gross!”


Here are some of the biggest misses at my house—as well as solutions you can use to avoid grungy messes of your own.


Keeping up with pets can take a toll on cleaning patience.

I don't dust, do windows and I like to shed. Love me, anyway.

Dusting:  I’ll typically dust the most obvious spots in the living room or bathrooms, prior to vacuuming. In other words, the rooms my guests are most likely to visit.  However, I often miss other critical areas and then am shocked when I find a plethora of dust bunnies blowing around.  Here’s a few of the areas I’ll miss:  Under furniture (in rooms with wood or linoleum flooring), the top of certain furniture like my couch or the headboard on my bed, lamp shades, the top of my refrigerator, along baseboards, behind doors, along the top of picture frames, and most any out of reach or overstuffed shelving.


Dusting Solutions: (1) Remove excess clutter from shelves and counter tops to make dusting easier.  (2) Keep up with vacuuming and dust-mopping floors as dust can be stirred up simply from the act of walking through the house. (3) Remember to occasionally vacuum or wipe down all furniture and lamps.  (4) Find some good micro-fiber “rags” to use as dust cloths—these pick up more dust.


Signs of fall.

Fall is a really tough time around our house. With all the leaves we have to vacuum more frequently.

Vacuuming:  I try to vacuum weekly and often end up doing it more frequently as our dog, Dusty, has his way of spreading all sorts of pine needles, leaves, and “stuff” about.  Now, the prime reason for vacuuming is to suck up dust and dirt, but far too often the spots that get hit the most are those that also get the most traffic.  That means there are a number of spots that are vacuumed only occasionally.  These include areas underneath a piece of furniture, chair, basket, or wherever else I’d actually have to bend over and pick up in order to vacuum underneath.  The trouble is these spots can be great dust collectors even without foot traffic.


Vacuuming Solutions: (1) Get some of those easy-glide furniture pads so furniture is easier to move to one side.  (2) Change up your routine each time you vacuum. Coming at it from it a different direction each time you vacuum is more likely to point out which areas you’ve been missing, plus it also does a better job to lift carpet pile and get out that ground in dirt.  (3) For more tips on Vacuuming see our Home Project Tip #8 – Vacuuming.


Least favorite cleaning task: The toilet.

Cleaning the toilet is one of my least favorite jobs, but it's important to remember to clean our cleaning tools, too.

Bathroom:  I always scrub toilets, clean mirrors, sinks, counter tops, wash floors, etc.  However, I will skip cleaning a tub or shower on occasion and I often forget the toilet scrub brush and waste baskets are two items requiring cleaning themselves.


Bathroom Solutions: (1) Locate a squeegee on a hook in or near the shower door and wipe the excess water off glass and tile each time you take a shower or bath.  This will keep water spots and mildew to a minimum.  (2) Use a bleach or hydrogen peroxide solution to rinse out the waste basket or scrub brush holder at least once a month.  (3) Before returning a scrub brush to a holder, set the handle on the lip of your clean toilet bowl and then set the seat ring down on top of it.  This will allow all the water to drain off the bristles and fall in the toilet.  Keeping moisture to a minimum in the holder will do a lot for keeping germs and mildew to a minimum. (4) If cost is less of a consideration toss a permanent brush in favor of those throw-away scrub brushes.


This pot is steaming.

After cooking wipe down surfaces and put stuff away. Your kitchen will always look better and you'll find it more fun to use.

Kitchen: Just like the other areas of the house, I’ll wipe down kitchen counters, scrub out the sink, or clean floors when I’m working on the kitchen.  However, when my counters are full (and they often are), or when my refrigerator is filled to the gills, cleaning thoroughly can become a real chore.


Kitchen Solutions: (1) Take the time to clean up after meals to keep a kitchen mess to a minimum.  (2) Try keeping all counters clear.  Your room will look so much bigger and cleaner for the effort.  (3) Don’t forget the sponge is one of the dirtiest parts of a kitchen so rinse it thoroughly after each use and run it through the washer or replace it every couple of weeks.  (4) Remember to rinse out the kitchen waste receptacles just as we did for the bathroom.  (5) To reduce food waste and keep the refrigerator clean, check out our Great Savings Tip #66 – Smorgasbord and our Home Project Tip #10 – Cleaning The Refrigerator.


Get the wipes that kill flu viruses.

Don't forget about all those knobs, handles and things you touch. Though they might look clean, they can be covered with germs.

Around And About:  I often pick up and straighten bigger items daily.  For example, just before I go to bed, I’ll reset pillows on the couch, pick up coffee cups, recycle stray bits of paper, etc.  However, sometimes I’ll forget it’s the little stuff that makes the difference between a clean house and a dirty one.  For example, there are any number of door knobs, hand-held devices, banisters, light switches and the like which get touched by dirty or germy hands each and every day.


Around and About Solutions:
(1) Keep a big container of disinfectant wipes on hand—the ones that also kill viruses—and make a habit to clean these surfaces. However, and this is critical, be careful not to use the same thing on TV or computer screens as the alcohol in them may cause micro abrasions that will permanently mar the screen’s surface.  Instead, check the owners manual for specific recommendations or check the store you bought the computer or TV and look for a cleaning product specific to cleaning screens.  (2) For more ideas on cleaning some of the dirtiest places in your house see our post Home Project Tip #9 – Dirtiest Places.


Roundup:  There’s no getting around it: House cleaning is a chore, and that means it’s important to approach it from a direction that makes it easiest for everyone involved.  Sometimes a few preventative steps can really go a long way.  For example, having the family remove their shoes as they come in or out will literally stop dirt in its tracks.  Plus, keeping a good doormat outside and another inside will help establish a protective boundary against grit and grime.  Other ideas to make any cleaning job easier: Keep all clutter to a minimum by putting things away as you go and wipe down the most used surfaces daily. Finally, regularly changing up your cleaning routine can help to point out items that were missed the last time around, plus it keeps boredom to a minimum.  Got a dirty spot you’ve been ignoring?  Why not share it in the comments below?


For some great tips on cleaning windows, see:
Home Project Tip #1 – Cleaning Windows



One Response to House Cleaning Misses – Grungy But Forgotten

  • Thank you for posting this! It’s a great rundown of the areas in a home that should get focused on for cleaning. And you bring up a lot of good points re: areas that can be easily missed. Mine happen to be under furniture (thanks to wood flooring).


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