These nine household spots are hidden sources of dust, grime, and—worse—harmful germs. Here’s where you need to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Under the Fridge
Though you may clean the inside of your fridge on a regular basis, many people overlook the area under the fridge, where dusty coils can cause a refrigerator to run inefficiently or stop working altogether. To address this issue, first invest in an inexpensive refrigerator-coil brush (available at most hardware stores for less than $10). Make sure the fridge is unplugged, and use your brush to gently scrub the coils under the fridge, removing any dust or debris. Finally, use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to suck up any remaining dust.
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Remove your stove grates and let them sit in a sink full of warm, soapy water for about 30 minutes. If there are still any sticky or greasy spots, use a non-abrasive sponge to scrub your grates with a mixture of baking soda and warm water. Rinse clean.
During your yearly spring-cleaning, pull out your utensil organizer and check the back, sides, and corners of the drawer for crumbs or dust; then, wipe out the drawer with a disinfectant wipe or damp cloth. Allow to air dry before replacing the utensil organizer.
Reusable Grocery Bags
Most people use these handy bags for more than just groceries, so be sure to launder them a few times a year. For canvas totes, simply toss them in the washer; for plastic or nylon bags, flip inside out and wash with warm, soapy water, leaving them in your dish drainer to air dry.
Trash Can Interiors
Admittedly, they’re not the easiest items to clean, but the inside of kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom trash cans are often the source of lingering, stinky odors. Take each can outside, and spray the interior with a disinfectant cleaner; let it sit for about 10 minutes, and then rinse.
You may not want to know what’s lurking at the bottom of your toothbrush holders—but trust us: They must be cleaned on a regular basis. Throw your holders on the top rack of the dishwasher at least once a month.
Mold and mildew thrive on the inside of coffee makers if not cleaned on a regular basis. If your coffeemaker has a self-cleaning cycle, run it once every two weeks; if not, run your coffee pot with a full pot of hot water mixed with vinegar. Rinse by running a second cycle with just hot water.
Ice Maker Bucket
Clean out your freezer’s ice bucket every few months to rid it of any crumbs, dust particles, or crusty ice buildup. Simply turn off the ice maker, dump ice into your sink, and either run the bucket through the dishwasher or hand wash with warm, soapy water. Be sure to let the plastic dry thoroughly before putting it back in the freezer.
At least once a month, run your sink disposal with a handful of ice, a few shakes of baking soda, and a few citrus rinds. This will help clean and sharpen the disposal blades, as well as eliminate any lingering odors.