22 Household Chores You’re Probably Forgetting (But Shouldn’t)

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Cleaning the house is one of those things you have to do even if you don’t want to. Since dusting, sanitizing, and scrubbing aren’t likely high up on your list of favorite hobbies, it’s understandable that you want to get through them quickly. But you might miss a few things in your efforts to speed through your clean routine.

Nobody wants to add to their to-do list, but you do want to make your house as clean and safe as possible. This list of household chores you’re probably forgetting about will help you get the fresh, clean home you deserve.

1. Dusting The Baseboards, Trim, Walls, Ceiling, And Doors

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Dusting flat surfaces like dressers, nightstands, and tabletops is a typical part of any cleaning routine. But dust also accumulates on doors, trim, and baseboards, particularly in upward-facing places like the tops of doorframes.

Walls and ceilings also turn into dust catchers, especially heavily textured walls and areas near air vents. To make dusting these places easier, use a long-handled duster or a Swiffer to avoid bending or needing a stepladder.

2. Cleaning Shower Curtains And Bath Mats

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When was the last time you cleaned your shower curtain? What about your bath mat? These things hold onto dirt, debris, and germs and need regular cleaning. Some shower curtains and mats are machine-washable, making cleaning them a breeze. A vinegar and water solution eliminates soap scum on plastic shower curtains.

Most importantly, don’t let moisture linger. Rinse the bath mat, hang it over the shower rod to dry, and pull the shower curtain taut so air hits the entire surface.

3. Washing Out Garbage Cans

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Trash cans get icky since their main job is to hold garbage. Every time you empty the trash, spray the inside and exterior of the can with a disinfectant spray before putting in a new liner. Wash the garbage can with warm soapy water once a week. If you’re in a rush, wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe to get rid of any funky spills or stains.

4. Removing The Toilet Seat To Clean

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Cleaning the toilets is a no-brainer. But don’t forget about the funk collecting beneath the seat. Remove the toilet seat (it’s easy to do) to clean the hidden gunk and grime. Don’t forget about the bolts that secure the seat in place. Urine and other messes collect in the grooves and lead to odors if left unattended.

5. Wiping Down Kitchen Cabinets

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Over time, your kitchen cabinets stand up to a lot of abuse. Grease and oil splatters, dirty hands, and food particles land on your cabinets daily, leaving behind an icky residue. Dust your cabinets weekly and wipe them with warm, soapy water. Use a few drops of dish soap to cut through grease and grime. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned the cabinets, expect to use a lot of elbow grease.

6. Cleaning Air Vents

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Changing your air filter regularly is important, but it’s also important to clean the vents, which are huge dust catchers. If you don’t, the dust keeps building and blows all over the house. Use the brush attachment of your vacuum to clean air vents and prevent dust from kicking back up into the air.

If they’re particularly dusty, a soft, damp paintbrush works well to get between the ridges. If you can open the vent, make sure to clean the backside of it as well.

7. Sanitizing Your Mattress

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It’s a good rule of thumb to wash your bed sheets every one to two weeks. But once you strip the bed, use a vacuum brush attachment to clean the mattress. Sprinkle baking soda across the top, let it sit for 20 minutes, then vacuum to neutralize odors. Use a paste of dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda to gently scrub out stains. Allow the mattress to dry completely before replacing the sheets.

8. Cleaning Under, In And Behind Appliances

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The areas in, under, and behind large appliances are notorious for collecting dirt, dust, and grime. Use a crevice tool or narrow hose attachment of a vacuum cleaner to reach these areas. If possible, every few months pull your refrigerator, washing machine, and dryer out enough to clean well behind them and under them.

Another sneaky place gunk gathers is in between the rubber gaskets. Put a damp rag around your finger and gently rub it between these gaskets to work out any grime. Avoid using anything sharp so you don’t damage the rubber.

9. Washing Shower Loofahs And Sponges

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Toss shower loofahs, bath sponges, and dish sponges in the dishwasher to clean and disinfect them. If you do not have a dishwasher, wash them with hot, soapy water and let them dry completely, then spray them with a disinfectant spray. You can also place them in the microwave for two minutes, but make sure they don’t contain any metal.

10. Cleaning Light Fixtures And Ceiling Fans

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Dusting fans and light fixtures regularly helps prevent dirt and dust from accumulating, which is important. But if your fixtures feature globes or bowls, especially ones that face upward, all kinds of things can collect inside (like bugs). Remove the globes, wash them, let them dry, and put them back in place.

11. Disinfecting The Little Things You Use Everyday

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Think about all the places your smartphone goes during the day. What about your car keys, wallet, and earbuds? These things are with you almost everywhere you go, which means they’re picking up a lot of germs.

Every day, spray these items down with a disinfecting spray and let them dry. For sensitive electronics, you can use specially designed wipes. To deodorize smelly footwear, sprinkle baking soda inside and let it sit for 24 hours before vacuuming it up. Alternatively, spritz your shoes with a solution of equal parts vinegar and water and allow them to dry.

12. Cleaning The Garbage Disposal

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Each week, clean your garbage disposal with a few ice cubes, baking soda, lemons, and bleach. Turn off the sink and disposal. Put about 6 ice cubes, one tablespoon of baking soda, a few lemon slices, one teaspoon of bleach, and 6 more ice cubes into the disposal. Turn on the disposal and listen as it grinds the ice. As the grinding starts to subside, turn on the water and let it run for 30 to 45 seconds.

13. Cleaning Curtains And Blinds

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Keep dust from building up on blinds by cleaning them with a soft duster each week or a vacuum brush. Use the vacuum brush attachment to do the same for your curtains. At least twice a year, wash your curtains (if they’re machine-washable). For dingy blinds, wipe them down with equal parts water and vinegar and a few drops of dishwashing liquid using a microfiber rag or glove.

14. Disinfecting Doorknobs And Lightswitches

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Your doorknobs and lightswitches are some of the most frequently touched places in your home. Make a habit of wiping them with a disinfectant wipe to get rid of grimy fingerprints and dirt. Spritzing them with disinfectant spray will work in a pinch to reduce germs.

15. Dusting Picture Frames And Wall Art

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The top edges of wall art and picture frames are big dust magnets. Use a soft duster or microfiber cloth to tackle dust accumulating on your artwork. Do the same for wall sconces, wall hooks, and other items that you might not normally think about when you’re dusting your furniture.

16. Vacuuming Upholstered Furniture

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Vacuum upholstered furniture every one to two weeks using a brush attachment. If you have pets in the home, you may want to get rid of excess pet hair first before vacuuming. You can use a product specifically for pet hair, or try a damp rubber glove or squeegee to remove fur, lint, and hair like magic.

17. Cleaning Under Rugs

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Foot traffic kicks dirt, dust bunnies, crumbs, and more underneath your rugs every day. Move rugs when you clean to get to all the mess. Pick up small rugs and fold over larger ones to get to the funk that lies beneath. If you’re able, shake rugs outside and flip them over to vacuum the bottoms before putting them back in place.

18. Cleaning Window Tracks

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When you wash your windows, don’t miss the tracks. These grooves create the perfect place for dust and dirt to collect and linger. It’s gross, and it also hinders how smoothly you can operate your windows. Wipe the tracks with a damp soft cloth, or use a crevice tool attachment to vacuum them.

19. Cleaning The Coffee Maker

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Washing your coffee pot isn’t enough, you also need to clean the machine. Over time, coffee and mineral deposits build up, threatening to damage your appliance. Some fancy models come with a self-cleaning cycle. If yours doesn’t, run a mixture of vinegar and water through the machine, followed by several cycles of hot water to fully rinse away the vinegar.

Check your appliances’ instructions for proper cleaning methods and how much vinegar to use. For some coffee makers, vinegar isn’t a good idea because it could damage certain components. If you use your coffee maker daily, clean it every three months. For occasional use, every six months is adequate.

20. Washing Pet Dishes

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When you use plates and bowls you wash them before you use them again. Why should your pet’s dishes be any different? Wash your pet’s food and water bowls daily to keep them clean and prevent the build-up of grime and bacteria. Many dog and cat bowls are dishwasher-safe, but handwashing with hot, soapy water works, too.

21. Dusting Houseplants (Real And Fake)

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Yes, you need to dust your houseplants, even if they’re real. Dust can build up on living greenery just like it does on artificial ones. Not only does it detract from the plants’ aesthetics, it isn’t healthy. You can clean artificial greenery with a vacuum or a damp brush or cloth.

Rinse living plants with water or use a damp cloth to gently wipe larger leaves. For leaves that shouldn’t get overly wet, use a small paintbrush to dust them. If you’re unsure how to best care for your plant, consult with a local garden center.

22. Cleaning Your Cleaning Supplies

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Your cleaning supplies pick up plenty of germs and nasties. Empty your vacuum after every use and wipe down the exterior parts with a damp microfiber cloth. Clip away any long strands of hair or strings entangled in the brush roll.

Remove lint and dirt from mops and brooms. Macine-washable styles go in the washer along with your cleaning rags. For others, swish the tops in a bucket of warm soapy water with a few drops of dish soap, rinse, and air dry. Clean sponges in the dishwasher or disinfect them in the microwave. Spray toilet brushes with a disinfectant and allow to air dry.