April 29th, 2016 10:40 AM by Korene Clopine-Seaman
You may be immune
to the dirtiest places in your home. But your guests aren’t.
Admit it: It’s easy to get a little “Judge Judy” inside
someone else’s home. We notice gunk on the floor, cobwebs in the corners, and
dust on the overhead fan. But guess what? Unless you’re Adrian Monk, you’ve
probably got some gunky places that your friends notice, but you don’t. (Sad
This is why we tracked
down a domestic guru to help us with this article. No matter how hard it is to
find dirt hideaways on your own, a little expert advice can make it alllll OK.
Jan M. Dougherty, author of “The Lost Art of House Cleaning: A Clean House Is a
Happy Home,” revealed the seven spots you’re likely to miss — and the best ways
to make them presentable, stat:
1. Light fixtures. Look up. Your light fixtures are loaded with dust and
dead bugs. Take them down, spritz with a cleaning solution, and wipe clean.
Dougherty uses a solution of five parts water and one part Krud Kutter, a
non-toxic odorless all-purpose product. (Handy tip: When making the Krud Kutter
solution, put the water in first. “Otherwise it’ll bubble over,” she says.)
2. Toilet body. You probably clean your tank fairly often, but what
about all the bits and pieces that surround the tank, and the floor itself? For
porcelain thrones, Dougherty recommends Soft Scrub with bleach to clean the
minuscule cracks that form in the glaze over time. For any non-porcelain parts,
she says vinegar will do. Start with the top of the tank and spray all the way
around — the lid, under the lid, the seat, down to and on the surrounding
floor, and even the walls behind the toilet.
3. Dust collectors. The TV mount, picture frames, computer printer,
keyboards, and remotes are great dust collectors. Use a microfiber rag that
you’ve sprayed lightly with vinegar to banish it all. Vinegar isn’t
electrostatically charged, so dust will take longer to return to that spot.
4. Drawer organizers. Crumbs and dirt love those little
compartments. Suck them up with a handy vac, or spray with vinegar and wipe
away with a rag. Don’t wait until the crumbs are three inches deep and have
taken root in the drawer. If that’s the case, break it down and clean with the
Krud Kutter solution.
5. Ice maker. Old ice absorbs food odors, so it’s a good idea to
clean and sanitize the whole system every once in a while. Stop the machine
from making more ice, pull out the ice bin, and dump the ice. Wash the bin and
ice maker with vinegar, or put the bin in the dishwasher if your manual says
it’s safe to do so. Wipe the ice maker with a dry rag to remove moisture.
6. Appliance handles. You touch them so many times every day. And
you never think about it. Spray them all down with the Krud Kutter mix and then
wipe. “One night a week, I take the knobs off the stove, remove the dish and
the grease screen from the [over-the-range] microwave, and take the bowl with
utensils that sits next to my stove and put them all in the dishwasher,”
Dougherty says. “Do this before bed and by the morning you’ve cleaned half your
kitchen, yet touched nothing.”
7. Glass and mirrors. Dougherty washes dull, smudged glass and mirrors
with straight vinegar. Be aware that if you’ve been using commercial cleaners
it may take “four, five, six, maybe seven cleanings with vinegar to get all the
wax off the glass,” she says.
Bonus tip: “When you go into a room to clean you shouldn’t have to
think. You should be able to turn up the music and rock and roll your way
around the room,” Dougherty says. She uses a method she calls “The Path” —
start in one corner, progress around the perimeter, and then head to the
middle. Clean everything in your path as you go around the room.