3 Easily Overlooked Cleaning Projects To Tackle This Winter

These machines usually do the cleaning for you. Here’s what you can do for them.

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Photo: seksan Mongkhonkhamsao / Getty

What is on your typical chores list? Wipe down the counters, run the laundry, unload the dishwasher—the usual suspects for day-to-day living. Modern technology has made for a quicker to-do list thanks to machines that do the cleaning for you (and yet, still none of the unloading and folding).

But now and then, it pays to give the nooks and crannies of these devices a little TLC. An occasional deep-cleaning ensures quick and easy chores the rest of the time. Grab your gloves and get ready for a deep clean with long-lasting benefits—laundry that's a little fresher, dishes that are a little more sparkly, and a kitchen that's a whole lot less greasy. Here's how.

Clean Your Washing Machine's Drain Pump Filter

When it comes to deep cleaning the laundry room, dryer vents get all the attention—for a good reason. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, failure to clean the dryer is the leading cause of home clothes dryer fires. But did you know your washing machine has a filter that needs regular cleaning? While the risks are far less severe, smelly clothes are still a no-go.

Why Clean Your Washing Machine

Cleaning tablets are handy for cleaning the inside of your washing machine, but there may be another culprit for your washer's stink if you have a front-loading machine.

Thanks to viral cleaning accounts like Go Clean Co on Instagram, this chore, which rarely makes the to-do list, gained attention from the masses. Despite this, many manufacturers recommend it be done anywhere from once every six months to once a month.

How To Clean

You only need a towel and a bowl or bucket. Look for the small door on the front of your machine and pop it open to find a small drain hose and a filter. Drain the water from the hose into your bowl or bucket, and clean out that filter. As the experts in the videos recommend, you might have to search to know where this filter is on your specific machine. Here are guides for Samsung, LG, Whirlpool, and GE.

Clean Your Range Hood Vent

A lifesaver for stovetop mishaps, the humble range hood fan protects your kitchen from greasy bacon smoke and burnt popcorn. But with all that it does to whisk away smoke and smells, it's only natural to end up with a grease mask and gunk.

Why Clean Your Range Hood Vent

Buildup over time can prevent the filter from doing its job. That means grease, smoke, and smells have nowhere to go but elsewhere in your kitchen. Eventually, a quick wipe-down is not enough. A deep soak is necessary to get rid of all that baked-on residue.

How To Clean

Home improvement store Home Depot suggests filling your sink with hot water, dish soap, and baking soda. Release the filter from the hood and pop it into the sink. Give it a soak for 15-20 minutes, followed by a good scrubbing, and it's ready to dry off and get back to work, helping you keep your kitchen clean and odor-free.

Clean Your Dishwasher Filter

In conjunction with viral videos about cleaning your washing machine filter, videos about cleaning one's dishwasher filter also achieved social media fame in recent years.

Users found out this removable filter requires cleaning every couple of months to every couple of weeks and were met with some horrific buildup. Be warned: If it's the first time you've addressed it in a while (or ever), prepare for some serious ick.

Why Clean Your Dishwasher Filter

It may not harm your dishwasher if you don't clean the filter regularly, but it will certainly reduce its effectiveness. The bad news? The quieter your dishwasher, the more likely that it requires manual cleaning. According to Consumer Reports, manufacturers moved away from self-cleaning filters around 2010, as those needed a (noisy) grinder to deal with all the debris.

How To Clean

Dishwashers vary but look underneath your machine's floor spray arm for a plastic cylindrical tube or round knob. Twist that and prepare yourself. Give it a good (but gentle!) rinse in hot water and wipe it down. Twist it back into place, ensuring it's firmly back on. For more, check out Go Clean Co's guide.

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