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31 Things You Haven’t Cleaned in a Long Time (If Ever!)

These areas of your home have been neglected for way too long! It’s time to roll up your sleeves and give them each a deep clean.

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Flexible aluminum dryer vent hose, removed for cleaning/repair/maintenance. ; Shutterstock ID 1156231702Benjamin Clapp/Shutterstock

Inside Dryer and Dryer Vent

Built-up lint inside dryer cabinets causes more than 15,000 fires every year. Lint escapes through tiny gaps around the edges of the dryer drum and falls into the cabinet, especially when the exhaust vent or vent cap is clogged and airflow is restricted. The lint can get ignited by electric heating elements, gas burners or even a spark from the motor, and the flames then travel through the lint-lined exhaust vent. To make sure this doesn’t happen in your house, check the exhaust vent and the inside of the cabinet frequently.

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Faucet aerator assembly, install tap aerator, tightens the nut.; Shutterstock ID 478323490; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeGrigvovan/Shutterstock

Faucet Aerators

Aerators are found on almost every kitchen and bath faucet, and if water flow slows or becomes uneven, clogs inside the aerator are usually the cause. Fortunately, it’s an easy problem to fix.

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Built-up spills and remnants of old food and liquids inside ovens can cause smoke and smell issues. It’s important to clean up big spills as they happen, and make it a habit to put your oven through its cleaning cycle regularly. But when you’re really trying to make your oven shine, you might need to go further. Learn how to clean between the glass panels of your oven door here.

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Air ventilation moisture duct in bathroom pipe hole at ceiling.; Shutterstock ID 1169460808; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeQuality Stock Arts/Shutterstock

Bath Fan Grill

Household dust, moisture and humidity combine to cake bathroom exhaust fans with debris. Often located on the ceiling, you may not notice it’s even dirty. Luckily, bath fan grills are easy to clean. Grab the edge of the cover and pull down. Squeeze the springs to release them from the slots and remove the cover. Learn about the 7 ways you might be cleaning your bathroom wrong.

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The Trash Can

Sure, you put a garbage bag in there but that doesn’t mean your trash can is free from germs. Just think of those times the trash leaked and who knows what lingers in the bottom of that bin. And each time you take out the trash, just spray the inside of the trash can with a disinfectant. Once a month, wash it out with bleach and cleaning with hot water. This is how to fix your trash can’s stinky smell in 10 seconds or less.

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Replacing dirty cabin pollen air filter for a car; Shutterstock ID 1268151676; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Homewellphoto/Shutterstock

Car Cabin Filter

The air filter in your car cabin collects all kinds of debris. A clogged air filter can cause all kinds of problems, from issues defogging windows to reduced gas mileage. Most manufacturers recommend changing it every 15,000 miles or so. Learn how to do it here.

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Clean the mattress; Shutterstock ID 586550699; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeJenson/Shutterstock


Despite being covered with sheets and a mattress cover, your mattress still gets dirty. It’s a good idea to periodically vacuum it and spot clean any stains that may appear. Airing it out outdoors in the sunshine for a few hours can also do wonders for removing any lingering musty smells. Cleaning your mattress is among the 10 tasks you probably forgot about while spring cleaning.

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Hand in rubber protective glove with microfiber cloth cleaning baseboard on the floor from dust at the wall. Early spring cleaning or regular clean up. Maid cleans house.; Shutterstock ID 687988345; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeFotoDuets/Shutterstock


A Swiffer Sweeper floor mop is useful for more than just cleaning hard floors. Use it to dust interior walls and trim, too! Attach a dry cloth to the rectangle end and press it along walls and trim. You can pick up dust, cobwebs and dirt safely, without having to step on a ladder. If you don’t have a Swiffer Sweeper, you can buy one on Amazon, here.

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Woman cleaning refrigerator with rag, closeup; Shutterstock ID 787859368; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeAfrica Studio/Shutterstock


Spend 30 minutes on these simple maintenance steps to keep your fridge running in tip-top shape. It’s hard to believe, but six simple maintenance steps will prevent almost 100 percent of refrigerator breakdowns and eliminate those service calls. Take these steps and you can forget about spoiled food, lost time waiting for repair people and shelling out $70 an hour plus parts for the repair itself. In this story, we’ll show you how to keep your fridge humming and trouble-free. And we’ll also tell you what to check if a problem does occur.

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cleaning terrace with a power washer - high water pressure cleaner on wooden terrace surface; Shutterstock ID 553183696 bubutu/Shutterstock


Exposed to the elements year-round, your deck does take a beating. Learn how to clean your deck properly and even give it a proper update (in less than eight hours). When your deck is cleaned, use it to throw an amazing backyard party.

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Cleaning air conditioner filter; Shutterstock ID 159415724; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeEviart/Shutterstock

Air Conditioner

Air conditioners need annual cleaning and maintenance—spring is the perfect time to make sure your air conditioner is in good working condition. There are a few easy-to-clean items both inside the house and out at the condenser unit. Neglecting your air conditioner can cause much more hassle in time and money spent on repairs. Learn the proper way to clean your air conditioner here.

Here’s how to clean more tough problems around the house.

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close-up of female hands loading dishes to the dishwasher; Shutterstock ID 53629048Alexander Raths/Shutterstock


You’d think your dishwasher, post dishwashing, would already be clean. But you’d be wrong! Food bits find their way into all the nooks and crannies of your dishwasher, leading to bad smells and eventually, your dishes not getting clean. Learn how to thoroughly clean your dishwasher here.

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Food waste left in a sink. Closeup; Shutterstock ID 570683164Tolikoff Photography/Shutterstock

Garbage Disposal

Does your kitchen sink smell bad? Is it coming from your garbage disposal? The key is to clean under the splash guard.

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Man cleaning chimney pipe outside. Cleaning a wood burning stove. Chimney sweep cleaning; Shutterstock ID 1016950948; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Home Maja Marjanovic/Shutterstock


Regular cleaning with a shop vac and standard chimney cleaning tools will prevent dangerous creosote fires. Here’s what you need to know before you get started.

By the way, here are 11 things you shouldn’t clean with baking soda.

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Man washing vinyl siding by hand with brush; Shutterstock ID 216426367; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeGreg McGill/Shutterstock

Vinyl Siding

Though vinyl siding tends to stay fairly clean, occasionally you’ll develop harder to clean stains that need more than just a quick spray from your hose or pressure washer. Learn how to give your siding a deep clean and really make your house shine. Be sure to check out these before and after cleaning photos you have to see to believe.

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Close up of white exterior home detail of white vinyl siding and white vent with white soffit and dark green fascia, and a hint of blue sky on a sunny day.; Shutterstock ID 1182808474; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomePam Carnell/Shutterstock

Soffit Vents

Blow out debris from your soffit vents to maintain good attic ventilation. It’ll save on air conditioning costs in summer and protect your roof from condensation in winter. Learn the best way to clean soffit vents here. Did you know this is the correct way to take care of vintage linens?

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Clean Window Weep Holes or Invite Rainwater Into Your House

Many sliding windows and vinyl replacement windows have weep holes on the exterior bottom of the frame. These holes are designed to drain away rainwater that can collect in the frame’s bottom channel. Weep holes can get plugged with bugs and debris, and if that happens, water could fill up the channel and spill over into your house.

To see if your weep system is working, simply pour a glass of water into the track or spray the outside of the window with a garden hose. If you don’t see a steady stream of clean water exiting the weep hole, poke a wire hanger into the hole, or spray it out with compressed air, and wet it down again. If the little flapper (designed to keep out driving wind) is stuck shut, it can be removed with a putty knife and replaced.

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Man hand open door knob; Shutterstock ID 134272517Business stock/Shutterstock

Door Knobs

We all have them, and we all touch them. But when was the last time you cleaned your door knobs? It only takes a few minutes to kill any lingering germs—just be careful not to get any on wood doors or trim, because it could affect the finish. This is the best all-purpose cleaner you can buy.

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CHESHIRE, CT, USA - OCTOBER 2017: A burst pipe at the furnace and water tank has caused a leak on the basement floor of a house.; Shutterstock ID 738557272Helioscribe/Shutterstock

HVAC Condensate Line

When you see water puddling around the furnace with the A/C running, you have a clogged condensate drain tube. Condensation from air conditioning coils contains bacteria that can form slime and clog the condensate pan drain tube. You can prevent slime and eliminate drain tube clogs in two easy steps.

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Plumber repairing an hot-water heater; Shutterstock ID 142322101; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeMinerva Studio/Shutterstock

Check Your Water Heater

Extend the life of your water heater tank and maintain your water heater’s efficiency and safety with a few minutes of basic maintenance once a year. Learn how to clean sediment from your water heater here.

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Outdoor Lights

Like anything that lives outdoors, your outdoor light fixtures get dirty. Get in the habit of cleaning and inspecting your outdoor lights once a year, especially checking for any pest nests. The heat provided by outdoor lights makes an ideal environment for mice and other rodents.

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Man suits and ties inside a wardrobe; Shutterstock ID 360070700; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Homeluisrsphoto/Shutterstock

Inside Closets

Because floors are often covered with stored items, and clothes block access to the walls, closet cleaning is often neglected. But who wants to put clean clothes in a dirty closet? Once a year (or once a season) make it a point to wipe down/dust walls, trim and shelves in your closet and give it a good vacuum. Don’t forget to add these 28 spots to your spring cleaning checklist.

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Interior of a clean garage in a house; Shutterstock ID 154908524; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeRobert Crum/Shutterstock

Garage Floor

Your garage floor is bound to get dirty, but if you haven’t swept or washed it in years, it’s time to clean it. Not only will your garage feel cleaner, but you’ll also remove all kinds of nasty stuff (rocks, salt, dirt and more) that you might otherwise end up tracking into your house. Take a look at these 50 cleaning secrets that’ll make your home shine.

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Womans hand with finger on light switch, about to turn off the lights. Closeup of hand and switch only. Horizontal format.; Shutterstock ID 95322187; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeSteve Cukrov/Shutterstock

Light Switches

Just think about how many times a day you use a switch on the lights. And no matter how clean you think your hands are, each time you touch the light switch, you’re spreading germs. Wipe them down regularly with a disinfected spray or cloth.

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The Computer Keyboard

In addition to the germs on your hands, your keyboard collects food crumbs, hair and dead skin cells. Every two months, use compressed air to get all the crumbs out. And then use a cotton swab dabbed in a little rubbing alcohol to wipe between the keys. Cleaning the keyboard regularly is a good way to stop germs in their tracks. Check out these 15 chemical-free ways to clean your home.

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Male technician repairing refrigerator indoors; Shutterstock ID 1013281213Africa Studio/Shutterstock

Refrigerator Coils

When was the last time you cleaned behind the refrigerator, including the coils? Periodically cleaning the coils takes just 15 minutes and can help reduce electricity bills while also extending the life of your refrigerator. So try cleaning the coils every six months. By the way, here’s how to deodorize your refrigerator.

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Technician repairing a washing machine; Shutterstock ID 497277193; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of Homeadriaticfoto/Shutterstock


Just because you’re washing clothes regularly, it doesn’t mean your washer don’t need cleaning. Once a month, run an empty load with just hot water and bleach. Not cleaning your washing machine is one of the 10 cleaning mistakes that are making your home dirtier.

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Close Up Of Person At Laptop Using Mobile Phone; Shutterstock ID 243438799Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock


You use your phone throughout the day and your hands aren’t always clean, nor is your face, so your phone picks up all that bacteria. Check with the manufacturer for cleaning directions for your phone. And for your landline cordless phone, wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe about once a week.

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Young woman plumping white pillow on bed, closeup; Shutterstock ID 1149647606; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): Taste of HomeNew Africa/Shutterstock


You don’t need to wash your pillows every week like you do your sheets, but every three months or so, throw them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle with hot water to remove dead skin cells and sweat. And when drying, add a couple of clean tennis balls to help speed up drying and keep the pillow guts from clumping.

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Watching tv and using remote control; Shutterstock ID 137593505Marc Bruxelle/Shutterstock


Just like your phone, you touch the remote with dirty hands and spread those germs and dead skin cells around. So wipe it down once a week with a microfiber cloth and a little rubbing alcohol, or a disinfectant wipe. Before you wipe it down, be sure you’re not mixing these 20 common cleaning products.

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Your Toothbrush

To make sure your toothbrush is as germ-free as possible, keep it away from other toothbrushes and in a bathroom cabinet or cupboard so it’s safe from airborne bacteria. And replace every three months, and once a week, soak it in an alcohol-based mouthwash. Next, learn the amazing uses for laundry dryer sheets around your house here.

Note: Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman