The Everyday Home: Places you forget to clean

Sonya McDaniel, extension educator, FCS/CED
Pottawatomie County Extension Service

Have you ever been going about your day when suddenly you notice a spot in your house you have neglected for far too long? Maybe it’s the cabinet doors under the sink, the drip pan under the refrigerator drawers, or even the inside lid on your washing machine. The fact is there are a lot of places in our home we either don’t see, or maybe see too often, to notice they need our attention and cleaning.

Here are a few items to put on your “notice” list for once a month cleaning.

· Cabinet doors and drawers - Kitchen cabinets and drawers get a lot of use and are located where drips, spills and splashes are common. Use a mild cleaning detergent or wood soap and a clean cloth to give them a good wipe down. While you’re at it clean those drawer dividers and organizers. These are great to keep your kitchen in order, but they also collect crumbs and dirt.

· Clean the oven - This could be the self-cleaning feature on your oven, or a commercial cleaner. If you're hesitant to use oven cleaner, try scrubbing the inside with a combination of baking soda and white vinegar. But once a month oven cleaning is easier than you think because debris is less, and spills are less baked on.

· Clean the refrigerator and sanitize its drip pan - Refrigerators can house a lot of bacteria and dirt. From food spills, multiple containers, and the forgotten leftovers they can really use a once a month sanitation make over!

· Dust the tops of cabinets and your refrigerator - Get rid of cobwebs and dust bunnies. While the step stool is out give light fixtures a once-over.

· Clean and sanitize trash and recycling receptacles – This is literally where you put your trash! Of course, it needs to be cleaned every so often. Make sure you wipe down the outside and lid well with a sanitizing solution or product.

· Clean your dishwasher and filter – Grime can build up around the seal and in the filter. Using a toothbrush to help clean the rubber seal and crevice, as well as scrub the filter, will help your machine work better. If you didn’t know your dishwasher had a filter … look under the bottom rack for a small wire basket on the floor of the machine. You may need to gently rotate it for it to release and be removed for cleaning.

Here are a few more items on the “One time a Year” list you may not have even thought about cleaning before!

Refrigerator Coils – Make sure you unplug the appliance and move away from the wall. Use a cloth to remove top layer of dust and grime. Then use your vacuum with utensil attachment to complete the job getting into places you can’t reach.

Dyer Ducts – Again, unplug the appliance and move away from the wall. Unhook the dyer vent tube, carefully and dump into a trash can (you may find a thing or two in there). Then use a vacuum with utensil attachment to complete the job behind the machine.

Washing Machine – This may be a little trickier since the washing machine lint filter is usually behind a panel on the side or back of the machine. Consult your owner’s manual for how to locate and access. This appliance has two filters which need to be cleaned about three to four times a year. The lint filter and the drain pump filter. Once you locate and remove them use a toothbrush and running water to clean them.

Since we have all been doing a great job with extra cleaning and sanitizing this year, now is a great time to tackle some of those areas we may not think about as often, or until we see how gross they have become!

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