Home & Style

6 Filthy, Disgusting Places You Shouldn’t Forget to Spring Clean

I wish my only spring cleaning advice for you was to hire a housekeeping service, but alas, such luxury isn’t open to most of us. Instead, do like my mom does and choose a different room each weekend, dedicating only one day to the cleaning (or else you’ll end up a grumpy mess). First, throw away any crap you don’t need. (Seriously, just toss/donate it.) Move all the furniture away from the walls, start from the highest point and work your way down. Most importantly, make sure you don’t miss these super yucky spots, where dirt gathers, mold festers, and crumbs turn into feasts for mice:

Behind the Toilet

Somehow you never reach your hand back there during regular cleanings, and the amount of hair built up could fashion a Donald Trump-level wig or toupee for someone. So pull on some rubber gloves, run a Swiffer cloth back there to pick up dust and dirt, give the area a good spray, let it sit for a few minutes, and then tackle that grime with all you’ve got.

Photo by Ashley Capp

Inside Your Kitchen Sink

You should be cleaning in there every week, though we understand if you’ve been lax. But think about all the food remnants that could have built up over time. First give the whole thing a good hosing down with the faucet. Take out anything removable (drain stopper, sponge holder, the rubber mouth to the garbage disposal) and toss what you can in the dishwasher. Then let some all-natural cleaner (we like Better Life’s Whatever! cleanser) sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a Dobie pad. Don’t forget the crevice where the counter meets the sink!

Photo by Sarah Sherman Samuel.
Photo by Sarah Sherman Samuel.

Between Your Windows and the Screens

If you live on a busy city street, there will be tons of black grit and dust in there. And if you live anywhere else, there will be enough pollen to keep several bee colonies happy for years. Either way, you’ll want to tackle this project before you wash your windows. First suck up any excess dirt with a vacuum extension and then wipe down with a mixture of water and cleanser.

Photo by Jessica Comingore.

Underneath the Stove

Yes, you’ll have to pull the stove away from the wall. But it will be worth it. After (carefully and with the help of another person) pulling the stove out, slide a piece of cardboard along the edges where the counter usually meets the stove to knock off any gunk. Then spray and wipe down the sides of the stove if there’s anything sticky. Using the longest attachment your vacuum has, get back there and suck up all those crumbs.

Photo via Devol Kitchens.
Photo via Devol Kitchens.

All Your Doorknobs

Doorknobs are like germ magnets. Each one is basically a petri dish. So go through your house and wipe every single one—including cabinet knobs and drawer pulls—with an anti-bacterial cleanser.

Photo by Brittany Ambridge for Domino.

Cabinet Fronts

Once you wipe down those cabinet fronts, you’ll be appalled that you’ve never done it before. Grease practically plasters itself on, and it’s up to you to scrub it all off. Fill a bucket halfway with warm water and add about a teaspoon of dishsoap—which is made to break up cooking oils and grease. Wipe down each cabinet front and then come back with clean water to remove any buildup. (If your cabinets are unpainted wood, use Murphy’s Oil Soap instead.)

Home Story
Photo by Petra Bindel for Elle Decoration.

Design & Style Editor

Hillary writes about interiors, real estate, arts, and culture. She is the former digital media editor of The New Republic, and her work has also been published in Glamour, The New York Times Book Review, and The Washington Post, among others. You can follow her on Instagram @hillarylouisekelly or on Pinterest @hlkelly.