It’s that time of the year! Marie Kondo has you tossing out the clutter that doesn’t spark joy and there are lists for proper ways to tackle spring cleaning projects in most rooms of the house, but still, every year when this season rolls around, somehow some of the dirtiest places in our homes get skipped over.
We know to declutter cabinets and closets, but some items — from appliances to electronics — are either dismissed or deserted. Here are nine hacks to help you work smarter to clean those forgotten areas in your house.
Use a mat or liner in appliances.
This is the simplest hack for multiple places in your house. Line the bottoms of your appliances — like your microwave, oven, and refrigerator — with liners or washable mats, like aluminum foil in the oven, paper towels in the microwave, or sizable and washable colorful mats for your refrigerator.
Liners like these do wonders to catch spills and crustiness, and save you so much time and effort cleaning out the entire appliance! Disposable liners can easily be thrown out when soiled, and reusable ones can be run through a dishwasher or wiped with a Clorox wipe or soaped towel seasonally, or as often as necessary.
In addition to appliances, consider lining the tops and interiors of cabinets with wax paper to make them easier to clean each season as well.
Buy cleaning pods and tablets.
Did you know that bacteria and mold spores can thrive in the warm, moist environment of your coffee maker? Popular styles, like the Keurig, are especially susceptible to mineral buildup that affects the taste and quality of your coffee, in addition to potentially harmful germs that can accumulate if your coffee maker isn’t decontaminated or descaled regularly.
Keurig sells cleaning pods that you can use on a regular basis to prevent the buildup of mold and bacteria in your cup of morning joe. Another alternative is running a cycle of white vinegar through your device in the water reservoir to deep clean your Keurig, but be warned that it will take more than a few cycles of water afterward to clear the machine of the vinegar smell and taste!
There are also cleaning tablets for other frequently used appliances. Most people never think to clean their washing machine, but this workhorse can’t keep your clothes fresh without being washed and descaled itself! Washing machine cleaning tablets, like pods from Affresh, not only remove the build-up of dirt from the inside of the machine to make it sparkle like new again but can improve the efficiency and performance of your machine. Toss in a tab and feel better about laundry day all season.
Affresh also makes dishwasher cleaning tablets that can improve the performance of your dishwasher and descale the inside of your machine while your detergent cleans your dishes.
Soak showerheads and faucets.
Clear out your showerheads and other faucet heads with CLR or, if you prefer, a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.
You could remove your shower head to dunk it in cleaner, or if you have the patience and arm strength, you could hold a bowl of CLR under your faucet for two minutes — but attaching a plastic bag, like a Ziplock sandwich bag, filled with either CLR (or the mixture) with a rubber band or hair tie around the faucet head definitely does the trick the easy way. The best part is seeing all of the build-up dissolve away before your eyes!
Launder your shower liner.
Most people don’t wash — or swap out — their plastic shower curtain or shower liner often enough, so use your seasonal cleanup as a reminder to unsoil your shower. If you don’t feel like suds-ing or scrubbing, most plastic liners can easily be thrown in the washing machine.
Remove the curtain from any rods or hooks and set your washer to the gentle cycle, using warm water, the highest water setting, a few drops of detergent, and a cup of white vinegar. Just remember not to use the dryer — all plastics should air dry.
Brush out vents.
Home maintenance experts suggest cleaning your vents once or twice a year to keep the pathways clean, but you may want to do this more frequently if you have pets or residents in the home with respiratory conditions. Definitely plan to do it each Spring at a minimum.
In addition to changing filters, you might want to deep clean vent registers by vacuuming them or even putting them in the dishwasher to remove serious grime. If it’s small crevices that need a deep clean, use an old toothbrush, which you can then go on to brush out window grooves and shower tracks.
Brush, bead, and foam out your garbage disposal.
Here’s a trio of tricks to clean out your kitchen’s muckiest mechanism: the garbage disposal.
You need to do more than run it to clean out your compactor. First, use that old toothbrush to scrub the splashguard, especially where food debris and other gunk gets stuck to the underside.
Freshener gels like Plink beads are useful to wash away foul odors from your disposal, though they act more for fragrance care than cleaning.
To really deep clean, try a garbage disposal liner, like this one from Glisten. The whole unopened biodegradable packet goes down the sink, and once you turn on the “electric pig” you can see the cleaner foam up and push disgusting gunk out of your sink. Admittedly, it’s addicting! It isn’t necessary, but you may be tempted to foam out your disposal several times a season.
Hack the dust bust.
A microfiber duster doesn’t just look soft and gentle, it takes one of the most routine chores and makes it magnetic.
This type of duster actually holds onto dust instead of pushing it around or floating it out into the air. And microfiber cloths are super versatile – strong and sturdy enough to handle heavy-duty jobs, but light enough for delicate household surfaces as well. Washable and reusable, they are environmentally friendly and hypoallergenic.
A microfibre duster can also help you to clean picture frames, ceiling corners, and many other places people generally forget to clean even when following their Spring Cleaning lists. And your plants might appreciate them, too. For plants that are too large, or might not benefit from some time under the showerhead to remove accumulated dust, use that microfibre duster to brush off wide leaves.
Now, there are a few exceptions: On ceiling fans — like the ones in the guest room that you haven’t even looked at since two (or three) Springs ago, the hack is to use a pillowcase to fully enclose each fan blade capturing the dust inside. Pull the pillowcase toward you, wiping each blade surface on both top and bottom. Then throw the whole case in the washing machine and dryer for easy clean-up!
And when is the last time you gave your lampshades some love? Get at those dust magnets with a lint roller, like these from Scotchbrite, to lift off the lint without damaging the delicate fabric.
Suck stains off mattresses.
Using a mattress pad is a great way to protect your mattress, but it may still collect dust mites, dander, and dead skin cells. Get rid of the dirt and allergens by simply vacuuming the surface of mattresses (and couches).
If you need to remove stains on mattresses as well, spray them with vinegar, sprinkle some baking soda, and let it sit — maybe covered with a towel — for a couple of hours. Then vacuum the area and the stain will most likely be sucked away!
Putty your PC.
Don’t forget your electronics! Pick up dirt and crumbs from your keyboard or other crevices in your electronics with a reusable putty gel that sticks to hard-to-reach areas and lifts out dust and debris without leaving any residue.
As a bonus, this squishy cleaning putty works wonderfully to collect pet hair. And it can also do double duty as a stress and anxiety relief toy!
Spring cleaning is more than a time to tidy. This is the season to really focus on the small stuff, so use these hacks for detailed cleaning of places in your home that you might otherwise have forgotten about.
And that’s our list of easy and frugal spring cleaning hacks. When you’re purchasing your cleaning products and supplies for the home, get to snapping those receipts with Fetch after shopping! The more you shop and snap, you rack up points for free gift cards at Home Depot, Walmart, and Amazon. Your dollar goes further with Fetch, and a smart shopper can purchase even more supplies for the home just by earning points.
Happy snapping (and cleaning!).