Best Ways to Clean the Dirtiest Areas in Your Home

As a professional organizer for the past 14 years, I have a bird’s eye view into a lot of homes. Even the cleanest homes have dirtiest areas, including my own. Remember, cleaning and organizing are two completely different things! Whether you tackle these surprisingly dirty areas in your home during spring cleaning or after an organizing binge, deep cleaning doesn’t have to be exhausting. Here are the best ways to clean the dirtiest areas in your home.

Best Ways to Clean the Dirtiest Areas in Your Home


Best Ways to Clean the Dirtiest Areas in Your Home

Doorknobs and appliance handles– Obvious but still overlooked. Bleach sanitizing wipes are convenient, but you have options. A swipe with a cleaning cloth and regular old soap and water will remove crunchy residue. Try not to think too hard about why your refrigerator door handle is lumpy, and what germs you are picking up each time you grab the handle. Click here for other obvious but often overlooked areas to clean. 

Keyboards– We think of our computer equipment as ours alone, but is it really? Keep it clean so you aren’t swapping germs with spouse, kids and co-workers. Even when I have to hand my phone to the gate agent in the airport, there is germ swapping going on! Personal devices aren’t really exclusively personal anymore. Try this: turn your keyboard over and shake gently. Keep a small spray bottle of rubbing alcohol mixed with regular water at your desk, and use those ubiquitous microfiber cloths to swipe your keyboard, mouse, screen, cell phone and desk phone each day (or at least weekly). The bonus is that you’ll stop struggling to see your screens past fingerprints and makeup smudges.

Bathrooms and grout- No one, but no one, likes to clean bathrooms. My secret weapon for getting a bathroom really clean is a household steamer. You probably already have a steamer for either your clothes or your floors. Check to see if there is a spray nozzle attachment that you can use to spray a tight stream of water at your target, including toilet parts, faucet fittings and grout. Surprisingly, cleaning a grouted floor with blasted steam, row by row, is oddly satisfying. The one thing I hate to scrub is my bathtub, so instead I opt for a  DIY daily shower spray with just 3 ingredients plus water. I only spray it every few days, and it still keeps my tubs clean.

Oven– Use your self-cleaning oven feature already, people. Yes, it’s scary, but it’s safe. Remove your oven racks (or they will discolor in the high heat), choose a time when you are going to be home for the entire length of a cleaning cycle, lock the oven door, and turn it on. If you can’t be persuaded, then activate a paste of baking soda + white vinegar, and thinly spread it on your oven surfaces. Leave for a few hours or overnight and wipe off. Repeat if needed. No heat required.

The litter box – You might prefer a clean house, but Fluffy absolutely requires it. Once a month, dump whatever cat litter you use. Remove anything that sticks to the pan. Rinse the box with water in the bathtub. Add a quarter cup of white vinegar in the pan, swish and let sit for 10 minutes. Rinse and dry. Reload with new litter. It will smell fresh but not chemically off-putting to Fluffy, and she’ll reward you with good litter-box behavior.

Your cleaners- Yes, your cleaners might actually be dirty and hazardous to your health! I recently pared down my specialty household cleaners (again), and ended up with a nauseating headache. One or more of the specialty cleaners that I hadn’t used for a long time sent me to bed with a migraine. (I think I know which one it was, but it could have been more than one that made me sick.) That’s why I minimize my cleaners to just a few effective cleaners. They don’t live under the sink, which is a safety issue for kids and pets.

There are lots of things you could clean, but focus on just a few, and the payoff is huge!