9 things you’re (probably) not cleaning often enough


Toothbrush holder

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When it comes to cleaning, your kitchen counters and bathroom sink get a lot of love. But what about the rest of your house? If you have a weekly “cleaning routine” that generally never changes, you’re probably skipping over some under-the-radar areas.

Shake things up next time you don your cleaning gloves and give these nine items a wipe down (or wash):


1. Ceilings

How often you clean it: Seasonally

How often do you look up? If it’s been awhile, take a gander at your ceiling. If you just see a few cobwebs, you’ll be OK wiping the ceiling down with a broom covered in an old T-shirt.

Little more going on up there? You’ll need a ladder, sponge and an all-purpose cleaner. Focus on one stained area at a time. Spray the spot with all-purpose cleaner, and then scrub it away with the sponge until the stain is gone. If the stains remain, it may be time to repaint your ceiling.

Note: If you notice dark or large water stains, check out these tips for identifying and repairing the issue.


2. Fridge

How often you clean it: Monthly

First, toss everything that’s past its prime or questionable. Read labels! Everything else, place in a cooler so it stays fresh. Remove your shelves, and place them in the sink to cool. (Washing them with hot water when they’re cold could crack them.)

While they’re cooling, scrub down the sides of the fridge with an all-purpose cleaner or a homemade mixture of equal parts baking soda and water. Scrub any tough spots with a sponge and rinse away the cleaner with warm water. Then, scrub down your shelves in the sink with the same cleaner. Dry the shelves thoroughly, replace them and restock and organize your food.


3. Inside cabinets

How often you clean it: Seasonally

Are there cobwebs in your cabinets? How do you know if you never clean ‘em? Every few months, remove all of the items from your cabinets, including any liners. If there are crumbs, vacuum them away first. Then wipe down the inside of the empty cabinet with dish soap and water. Let the cabinets dry completely, and then organize your items back on the shelves. Note: If you’re cleaning pantry cabinets, now is a good time to check out expiration dates.


4. Shower curtains

How often you clean it: Monthly

While you’re showering regularly, your shower curtain is acquiring a nice layer of soap scum. If you have a cloth curtain, it can be washed as part of your regular cycle. Toss it in the washing machine and add some detergent. Dry it completely, and then hang it back up.

If your curtain is vinyl, you can still use your washing machine — it just needs its own load. Add one cup of white vinegar and start a hot cycle. Once the wash is done, hang the vinyl curtain back on its hooks and let it air dry. Note: If your curtain is still nasty after a wash, toss it. Curtains are inexpensive enough that it’s worth buying a new one every few years.


5. Gym bags

How often you clean it: Every few workouts

Your gym bag is a breeding ground for bacteria, and yet it’s rarely cleaned. Remove sweat and bacteria by sanitizing your bag after every few gym sessions. When you empty the bag, wipe it down with a sanitizing wipe like Lysol disinfecting wipes. That should kill any lingering bacteria. If your bag is cloth, toss it in a normal laundry cycle once a month.


6. Doorknobs

How often you clean it: Weekly

Doorknobs are one of the nastiest places in your home due to the number of bacteria-covered hands that touch them daily. Grab an all-purpose disinfectant spray and a dry cloth, and spray the entire doorknob. Wipe the spray away with your cloth. Focus on the doors that see the most action in your home, like the kitchen, bathroom and front door.


7. Hairbrushes

How often you clean it: Weekly

Over time, your hairbrush collects dust, conditioner, oil, germs, dust mites and lots of dirty hair. Gross! Grab a pen or pencil and slide it under the hair in the brush (by the bristles). Pull up until the hair starts to loosen. Peel away the hair and toss it in the trash until your brush is hair-free. Then, fill up a sink with warm water and add a tablespoon of shampoo. Using your hands, work the shampoo into a lather on the brush and then rinse it away. Let it dry completely before storing the brush in a drawer or cabinet.


8. Toothbrush holder

How often you clean it: Weekly

You replace your toothbrush regularly, because you know how nasty they get over time. (Right?) But what about the toothbrush holder? This guy gets covered in bacteria from your dirty hands and bathroom but rarely gets cleaned, meaning your brand-new brush is living in bacteria. To fix the problem, run it through a normal cycle in your dishwasher.

No dishwasher? Hand wash the holder with dish detergent and rinse it thoroughly with hot water.


9. Pillows

How often you clean it: Twice a year

Your pillow becomes a haven for bacteria if left uncleaned, which can lead to face breakouts real quick. First, check the label to make sure that your pillow can be thrown in the washing machine (most can be). Toss two pillows in the washing machine at a time. This way, the machine will stay balanced while it spins. Use mild liquid detergent rather than powder detergent (powder will leave residue on your pillows).

Run your pillows through the rinse cycle twice to make sure that the detergent is completely removed from the pillow, and then toss them in the dryer with a couple of tennis balls.


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