Spring cleaning, New Year cleaning, post-holiday cleaning, back-to-school cleaning—there’s never a bad time to dive into the nooks and crannies of your home and deep clean your entire space. But are you cleaning everything as often as you should? We spoke to the experts to find out the things they always notice in people’s homes (and what to do about them).
Meet the Expert
- Vera Peterson is the president of Molly Maid, a home cleaning company.
- Alicia Sokolowski is a cleaning expert and president and co-CEO of AspenClean, a green house cleaning company.
- Karen Gutierrez is an interior designer at Mackenzie Collier Interiors, an interior design company based in Phoenix and Portland.
Hard Surface Dust
One of the most obvious, and perhaps most neglected areas of the home is hard surfaces—tables, floors, shelves, and decor that quickly accumulate dust or smudges. While these areas are often the first to be cleaned, they’re also the first to get dirty again, so giving special attention to them will ensure that your home looks more presentable.
Use a microfiber cloth for glass or more touchy surfaces, says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid. “To dampen, hold the cloth by a corner and lightly mist with water from a spray bottle. The cloth should be just damp enough to pick up dust without leaving moisture streaks.”
For countertops, you’ll want to use a stronger product that cuts bacteria, so a reusable towel or rag will be best.
When it comes to cleaning, baseboards tend to fall lower on the list, but once you notice them, you’ll notice that they are, in fact, serious dust collectors. And noticing them is half the battle!
Alicia Sokolowski, cleaning expert and president and co-CEO of AspenClean, recommends using chemical-free products to help cut the dust, as well as creating a regular schedule to follow so that you don’t skimp on the cleaning. Another suggestion is to work slowly—otherwise, you may feel overwhelmed.
“Since cleaning baseboards is a little tedious and uncomfortable, do one room at a time to prevent getting burned out or having a sore back,” says Peterson. “Grab a sturdy bucket or a small stool so you have somewhere to sit while you clean; a folded towel can provide cushion for your knees while you move along and scrub.” Peterson also recommends moving furniture, rugs, and other larger items out of the way first.
Dryer & A/C Vents
Vents, especially ones that haven’t been cleaned frequently, can be a big hazard. If these areas aren’t on your regular cleaning schedule, it may be a good idea to add them.
“A clogged dryer vent will cause your dryer to take longer to dry your clothes and can overheat, ultimately damaging your clothes,” says Karen Gutierrez at Mackenzie Collier Interiors. “Remember to frequently empty your dryer vent, especially if you are having guests and in-laws stay for the holiday season.”
You’re supposed to be cleaning these at least once a month, Gutierrez recommends. However, if you’re a little behind there’s no better time to start than now.
Disheveled Kitchen Areas
Regardless of how clean other areas of your home are, cleaning experts can’t help but gravitate to the kitchen first. Your kitchen area is where most of the foot traffic is—from cooking and putting away groceries, to eating and spending time chatting—you’re probably in that space more than others. Or at least keeping busy in that space more than other rooms of your home.
As a result, it gets dirty. If you’re planning on DIY-ing the clean, Sokolowski recommends taking it one step at a time rather than trying to conquer the whole space in one go.
Although the floors may seem like the most obvious place in your home, many people who think they’ve cleaned their floors won’t notice what the experts will.
“[First], you should never saturate wood floors with water, so wring the mop each time you dunk it in the solution,” says Peterson. “Rinse [the mophead] in the cleaning solution every time you finish a four-foot-square section of floor, [and] replace your mopping solution every time you move to a new room.” Then, waxing or polishing the floor post-mop will create an undeniable shine.
According to Gutierrez, you should be regularly cleaning the area under your bed with a vacuum cleaner or bleach spray. Or, if you’re looking for something chemical-free, an all-natural floor cleaner, sprayed regularly on the surface, will do the trick. She also shares a hack for cleaning sticky or hard-to-remove objects from the surface: “Use an ice cube to freeze stuck-on gunk; then scrape it off with an old credit card or plastic putty knife.”
Beyond the obvious areas, dust can find its way into the hard-to-reach corners, cracks, edges, and other often-overlooked places. If you really want to deep clean your home, Peterson recommends working from the top down as well as dusting before vacuuming—always.
“When dusting a flat surface, move the cloth smoothly from one end to the other, stopping at the end,” she says. “Don’t flick the cloth, or dust will merely be released back into the air before settling on the floor, instead of getting trapped by your cloth. When dusting wall units, lift and dust each object, then dust the shelf underneath and behind. Start from the top of the unit and move to the bottom.”
One last thing that cleaning experts always notice is the home’s overall smell. Sure, air fresheners smell nice but if underneath that is an underlying odor of dirt, debris, dander, or dust, an expert will take note!
“Although clean doesn’t smell—those are chemicals (contrary to what the traditional cleaning industry would like us to believe)—stale smell or pet odour is a giveaway that the house is not maintained on a regular basis,” says Sokolowski.
She recommends opting for organic products that create a fresh, natural, non-chemical-based scent in your home.