When you live in an apartment for most of your 20’s and then finally, gloriously, get to move into a house of your own, you are so NOT prepared for the cleaning gauntlet that awaits you. Sometimes I feel like my house is just another child that needs my attention “Clean Me! Clean Me!” and I’m like, “But I just cleaned you the other day!” Throw in two dogs (aka hair, it’s just all hair) and a toddler, and you’ve got yourself the ultimate cleaning challenge.
Now I know Spring usually gets the title of ‘Cleaning Season’ but why should Spring get to have all the fun? RIght now is the time to be getting down with a deep clean. ‘Tis the season for unexpected guests, holiday gatherings, and people in your house galore, which means this is the time of year you should be revisiting the nooks and crannies of your home you always forget about.
Obviously there are the everyday tasks like sweeping (will it ever end?) and dishes (same question), but we often forget about so many other areas of our home that need our immediate attention, myself included. While I used to love cleaning, like Danny Tanner-level love cleaning, these days I just think if I have to sweep dog hair off of the floor one more time I might just lose my mind. But that’s neither here nor there, on with the cleaning!
BTW, speaking of cleaning, if you missed Monday’s post on How to Clean & Set Up the Perfect Thanksgiving Table Ahead of Time, you can check it out here.
Must-Have Cleaning Tools
- White Vinegar
- Paper Towels (I am obsessed with these reusable bamboo ones)
1. Sink Faucet
We are lucky to have a removable faucet which makes it easy to clean. However, if you don’t, I still have a solution for you.
How To Clean It: If you have a removable faucet, fill a cup with half white vinegar, half water. Let the faucet sit in the cup for a few minutes. If your faucet can’t be removed, fill a gallon zipper bag with half white vinegar and half water. Tie it around the faucet with a rubberband so the faucet is submerged and leave the bag there for a few minutes. I like to use toothpicks to clean out the teeny tiny squirt holes. Then I use a little more vinegar to clean around the holes. After I’m done I’ll turn the water on and off a few times to force out any debris and then dip it in clean water to rinse it off.
2. Refrigerator Water Spout
Fair warning, you may be entirely grossed out by what you find coming out of this. I mean, it’s where you’re drinking from after all. Even if you have a top of the line filtration system, you still need to clean out the water spout.
How to Clean It: Dip some Q-tips in white vinegar, gently put the Q-tip up into the spout and prepare yourself for what you may (or may not) find in there. I do this a few times and jiggle the Q-tip around to make sure I get everything out. Then I take a paper towel and dip it in a little bit of half white vinegar-half water, and clean out the inside of the ice dispenser. After I’m done, I run the water and fill up several cups to make sure the water is clean and doesn’t taste like vinegar.
3. Dishwasher Filter
I know this seems so counterintuitive, like, the dishwasher is supposed to do the cleaning for me, not the other way around. Well, just like the water spout, you’d be surprised how badly your dishwasher’s filter needs to be cleaned.
How to Clean It: Every machine is different, but most will have the filter on the bottom. This would be a great time to actually remember where you stowed the instruction manuals for all of your appliances. If after 20 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to remove the filter, you can also wait until your husband comes home and have him show you how to take out the filter (I say this from experience). Once it’s removed, just run it under hot water and use a paper towel or dishcloth to clean off the filter. Then take a paper towel and dip it in half white vinegar-half water and wipe out the basin in the dishwasher where the filter goes.
If you want to take it a step further, you can also wipe down the whole dishwasher with a 50/50 vinegar-water solution and then run it once on hot with no dishes inside.
These next two will only apply if you have a front-load washer.
4. Laundry Soap Trays
Every time we’re done with the washer, we always take the trays out and let them air dry on a towel on top of the machine. With a front-loader, it’s important to do this because otherwise your trays will become moldy over time. However, even if you do this, you still need to clean your laundry trays and the little alcove they slide into.
How to Clean It: You guessed it. Dip a Q-tip in 50/50 white vinegar-water and clean every single crevice of the laundry trays. Then I like to rinse them off with just water. For this next step you will need someone with small hands to get into all the tiny areas inside the laundry tray cave (I wish I knew what this area was called). I also use a combo of Q-tips, paper towels, and my 50/50 solution to clean out this area. When I’m done, I put the trays back in and run a Rinse + Spin cycle with no soap just to make sure all the vinegar is rinsed out.
5. Washing Machine Lint Trap
Did you even know you had this? At first, I didn’t even know this thing existed. This next piece of advice is very important. BEFORE you open the lint trap, be sure to have an empty bowl underneath, because once you open it, a bunch of stanky laundry water will come pouring out. In case you can’t tell, we learned this the hard way. Afterwards we read the instruction manual which prompts you to grab a bowl. Live and learn. Every machine will be different, so it’s best to use your manual or Google it on this one.
6. Sink Drain
Have you ever turned on the water in your bathroom sink only to wonder where that awful smell was coming from? For the longest time we just thought it was our water. Then we realized it was actually the drain. When the water was turned on it was sort of kicking up the smell down in the drain. Please tell me we’re not the only ones who have these problems.
How to Clean It: I have tried using vinegar for this but found that the best thing to use was actually The Honest Company Oxy Boost Pods (I also love these for the laundry). You simply take one pod and dissolve it in 16 oz of hot water. Then you pour it down the drain and let it sit overnight. The next morning you turn the water on to flush it, and just like that – the smell is gone!
- Baby’s bath toys (my sister-in-law gave me the best tip – wash them on the top rack of the dishwasher!)
- Air Filter (most say to replace every 3 months but really need to be replaced more often than that)
- Kitchen Trash Can (gotta give it a good wipe down every now and then)
When it comes to keeping everything clean, I am not as on top of it as I’d like to be. I actually realized that some of these areas in my own house needed to be cleaned when I was taking pictures for this post. Just being real. I do try to clean each of these areas once a month, especially the water spout and faucet. So did I leave anything off the list? Any good cleaning tips to share?
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