I'm starting a very short 2 week series on "Things You Don't Think to Clean". I got this idea from a few websites that I follow. I'm not a natural cleaner. I don't like messy, but I tend to lean towards organized chaos (but what my mother would very loudly claim as a natural disaster). It hit me at how poorly I was keeping my house when I was doing a Bible Study through A Virtuous Woman called "From Chaos to Calm". My disorderly household affected every part of my home. Since I was pretty much at a loss of what to clean (besides the basics: dishes, clothes, vacuum, etc), I did some research. One site I found that really, really opened my eyes to clean was JustMommies. They have cleaning calendars for each month and a focus room for each month (for example, this October 2011's focus is Kids' Bedrooms). This site and the Bible Study showed me things to clean I never even thought of! So I'm passing them on to you. Please, please check out the resources I will place on the bottom. They are truly great!
This week I will focus on the main rooms: kitchen, living room, and bathroom. Next week, I will discuss everything else. If you see something I didn't mention, please feel free to comment. I love learning new things!
- Kitchen Chairs: so this was one of the first chores I gave my 2-year-old to do. I mean, she put most of that mess there herself. It wasn't until a ladies' weekend, though, that I noticed that it didn't mean just a simple swipe, it meant scrub. My friend (hey McG!) walked around the dining room table about 5 times seriously cleaning those chairs. I could have sworn those things were clean, but she somehow made them shine! I realized that sometimes chairs need a little elbow grease. So, although Abigail will still do this chore once a week, I will need to go behind her later to scrub the pieces she didn't quite get.
- Cabinets: same as the chairs, this is an easy chore for the little ones to do. Of course you clean the cabinets if you spill something and it gets all over the the doors, but what about the times where something drops on them, brushes up against them, or little fingers get curious? It builds up, and so does dust. And don't forget the tops of the cabinets. I seriously forget to do this and always end up having to use some major elbow grease to get months of build up dust (which gets sticky, by the way. EW!)
- Items stored high on shelves: I needed a cake plate for a party, and fast! Where do I keep them? Displayed on top of my cabinets in my kitchen. Unfortunately, every time I pull one down, it is covered in sticky dust. So once every other week or so, pull them all down for a decent wash or scrub.
- Dishwasher: this is a two-parter. Of course wipe down the front of your dishwasher. If you are anything like me, you tend to get stuff on there. Maybe that one dish with the brown liquid ends up splashing around the side to the front of your dishwasher. Just wipe those little icky things away. BUT you also need to clean the inside of the dishwasher too! Just like the inside of your shower gets build up and gross, so does the inside of your dishwasher. Once a month, take a moment to swipe the insides of your washer. Pay special attention to where dirt builds up and where the rubber seals are and the sides of the door.
- Filters: Just as you need to change the air filters in your house, which the Just Mommies website reminds you to do (thank you!!!), you need to wash the filters that are on your range hood. When's the last time you did that? Huh? (When's the last time I've done that? ...ew)
- Fridge: So not only do you need to occasionally wipe down the insides of your refridgerator and freezer, but you also need to make sure you clean the top of your fridge. I've stored my cereal on top of my fridge for a pretty long time, and occasionally it grosses me out to pull a box down to see a pile of dust come with it. A little cleaning once a month should help!
- Faucets: So after you wash your dishes, I'm sure you do a swipe of the faucets, but do you really clean them? How about the backs of them? I tend to lay my scrub brush back there, and I'll tell you, if I don't do a daily swipe behind my faucets, it can get pretty icky.
- Counter Appliances: the Just Mommies site reminds me to wipe down my coffee maker and toaster oven, but don't forget behind them as well! When we moved out of our last house, I was amazed at how much grime settles under and behind those kitchen appliances. Just a quick move and swipe should do with these. Just make sure you do it regularly.
- Trash Cans: Wash those bad boys out! Yes, they get gross! Yes, you probably forget to wash them out just like I do, but seriously, do it. Drag your trash can outside or to the shower (after you empty it, of course!) and spray it down. You might have to get in there and scrub. Use a little bleach OR vinegar water. Do this once a month will keep it clean and keep it fresh smelling.
- Sofa and Chairs: Don't just clean them off, but clean their insides too! Once a month, take a vacuum cleaner to the insides of those chairs. And hey! You might find that remote you've been missing!
- Baseboards: I was telling someone the other day that my boys actually fight over who gets to clean the baseboards. They really do. The appeal is that I let them use the attachments on the vacuum cleaner to do it. Anything that says VROOM and sucks things up is a score for little boys. When I was telling her that my boys clean the baseboards, she said that was something she didn't really ever think to do. I didn't either until it was brought to my attention. When I decided to take a day to really, really clean the kitchen one day, I scrubbed the baseboards. I was seriously amazed at the difference it really made to the room. NO ONE is going to notice your clean baseboards, but they may notice them if they are covered in dust and lined with dirt.
- Blinds: Dust, dust, dust those things. That is on the list twice a week in my house. We have carpet, and carpet = dust. Blinds pick up everything. If you have cloth blinds, try to wash them once a month.
- Rugs: Ever see old movies or tv shows where the woman has a rug hanging over her clothes line and she's beating it with a stick or broom? Yeah, that's because rugs seriously need to be cleaned. Not just vacuumed over, but picked up and cleaned all the way through. So take your rugs outside and beat your frustration out on them. After a sound beating, if you can wash your rugs, this would be a good thing to do once a month.
- Air Filters: Don't just replace the air filters, but also clean off the vents and the area around the vents. I have vents that are high on the ceilings in my house. I noticed the other day how dusty the walls were around the vents. So I swept the walls. Much cleaner for sure! As for the vents themselves, use the attachments to your vacuum cleaner to suck up all that dust!
- Ceiling Fans: There are a couple of ways you can clean these. I will be honest, when I was younger, my way of cleaning them was to turn the fan off, switch the direction of the fan's rotation, and then turn it on high. Dust would fling everywhere and it was gross. Don't do this. And I could really smack the old Jana in the back of the head for being such a blockhead. Again, use the attachments of the vacuum cleaner to reach up there and clean. You may, though, have to occasionally get up there with some soapy water and a rag. Make sure you get the tops of the blades as well. If you are anything like me, your fans stay on year-round, and you forget they need cleaning until the power goes out and your fan stops. Put it on your calendar to do once a month.
- Vacuum Cleaner: so you use your vacuum cleaner to help clean your house, but do you ever take a second to look at all the attachments? After using the attachments to clean the baseboards, air filters, ceiling fans, and furniture, clean your brushes off. Some suggest soaking them in vinegar water for an hour and then drying completely before storing back on the vacuum cleaner.
- Rugs: Those rugs look super nice and are pleasant to step onto when you get out of the shower, but if you have rugs in a room where humidity is a daily occurrence, and someone (especially boys) use the restroom at least once a day, you have a rug that is full of all kinds of nasty. Once a week (or once every other week), wash those rugs. Not only will they regain their bounce and fluffiness, but they will be cleaner for your clean feet when you get out of the shower.
- Cabinets: like the kitchen, if you have cabinets in the bathroom or things on them, they need to be cleaned once a month. Dust them off, and if needed, take a wet rag to them.
- Faucets: I have boys. They are messy. No matter how many times I tell them to put the lids back on the toothpaste or to wipe up the soap they dropped all over the counter, it still gets messy. Twice a week, those boys clean the bathroom, and I have made behind the faucets a place I check for cleanliness. It really makes a difference!
- Toilet Paper Holders: Those things get dusty! And the resource that mentioned this said she learned this from her days of working for a cleaning company. Duh! When I go to a hotel and notice the build up on the roll in the bathroom, I remember it. What about in your home when guests visit? Would they notice? (Excuse me while I go clean the holder in my bathroom. No one uses it but my hubs and me, but still. I keep forgetting to wipe it down!)
- Toothbrush Holder: Yup. Stuff builds up. And then you put it in your mouth. Need I say more?
- Trash Can: Again, I have boys. And they stink. And for some reason they make that bathroom trashcan reek! Think of all the gross things that get put into that trashcan.
So if you are anything like me, you are now feeling pretty grossed out and have an intense desire to clean your shower... and then take one. While researching and typing all of this up, a disgusted sneer was on my face the entire time. I was mentally thinking of what I was slacking on and had to resist the urge to get up and start cleaning all of it (except the toilet paper holder because I seriously forget to clean that). My hopes, though, is that you put cleaning these things on a schedule. They don't have to be done every day or even every week, but if you remember to do these, you will feel cleaner in the end.
Next week I will focus on the bedrooms, laundry room, and the outside spaces.
And this is for ALL MOMS (working away from home and for those at home):
|Picture Credit: http://www.actingbalanced.com/2010_04_04_archive.html|
Happy cleaning, everyone!
- Apartment Therapy
- Home Ec 101
- Good Housekeeping
- Just Mommies
- A Virtuous Woman (there is a LOT of stuff about the house and home on this website. Check out the "At Home" tab for cleaning ideas and schedule. Also, sign up for the Bible Study "From Chaos to Calm". It will change your life. Seriously!)
- Friends who gave me ideas and reminders: Jean Beasley, Carrie Keehn, Barbara Gonzalez, Debbie McGregor, and Jennifer Giugliano (although she doesn't realize she did)