Maybe it’s just us, but all this at-home time has us noticing just how much DUST a house accumulates. Whether you’ve already done a first sweep of essentials like cleaning mirrors and stove burners, or you’re just now tackling all that winter grime, there are some areas we all forget. “Spring cleaning not only makes living spaces healthier and happier, it rids our home of sources of mold, mildew, odors, dirt, stains and dust—the biggest concerns we have about our homes,” says Brian Sansoni, Senior Vice President of Communications for the American Cleaning Institute. So before you settle back into your home office unaware of all that airborne dirt, take a few hours to address these most-overlooked areas in the home. Being holed up inside is infinitely better if your air smells like fresh linen, and your baseboards are dust-bunny free.
Not only do lampshades have a knack for collecting layers and layers of dust over time; if not cleaned, the debris can discolor the shade over time. Fortunately, cleaning them isn’t too difficult. For simple shades that don’t have any embroidery or a textured surface, a lint roller will often do the job. If, after dusting, you find the fabric of the lampshade is stained in any places, soak it in a bubble bath with soap or detergent, scrubbing trouble areas with a soft toothbrush. Let the shade air-dry before you return it to its home.
These accumulators of debris often go unnoticed, and aren’t regularly cleaned when you sweep or mop. The small nooks in molding designs are prime spots for grime to build up, so while cleaning this area is pretty straightforward, it may require a bit of elbow grease. Start by pulling all your furniture off the walls, then remove the first layer of buildup with a microfiber cloth. Once the top layer of dust is successfully cleaned, go back over baseboards with a cloth dipped in dishwashing liquid and warm water. Bring a bucket with the cleaning mixture with you as you make your way around the room, so you can wring the cloth out as you go.
Ceiling fan blades
Often used and often forgotten: Because ceiling fans are so high up, they typically fall outside of our routine cleaning spots. But even if you can’t see the dirt on a daily basis, the tops of your fan blades are likely caked in grease and dust. Rather than taking your old feather duster to the blades, which will release many of the particles into the air, get up there and wipe down each side of the blades with a damp rag. If you have an old pillowcase lying around, it’ll do the trick even better: just spray the inside of the case with a gentle cleaner, put the case over the blade so the fabric wraps around both top and bottom, and drag it back towards you. You’ll clean both sides at once; plus, the dust will be caught inside the case, making for easy clean-up.
Sure, you remember to dust those figurines on your coffee table, but are you giving framed art the same attention? If a piece is covered by glass, remove from the wall and use a soft cloth to wipe dust from the surface. For smudges or any other build-up, spray a glass cleaner onto the cloth and gently buff. (Be sure to never spray cleaner directly onto the glass; moisture may seep between the glass and the frame and damage the art.) For paintings and prints in contact with the open air, Agora Gallery suggests cleaning pieces with a soft, dry paintbrush. Use the clean bristles to lightly dust and get particles out of any cracks and crevices.
Feel like you’ve cleaned it all but there’s still that lingering mildew scent in the air? Especially if you have allergies, cleaning vents is a crucial step to improving the air quality in your home. Start by turning off your HVAC system, then unscrew grates from the floor or walls. Let the grates soak in a mix of dishwashing soap and warm water, then scrub with a cleaning brush to remove grime. While the grates are soaking, use the hose on your vacuum to clean the inside of air ducts. PickHvac suggests that a conventional vacuum cleaner will work just fine, but you can also consider renting a high-power vacuum with a longer hose or investing in a professional to get the job done. If you suspect mold, consider hiring in the professional, as this can be a serious health hazard. “A professional inspection [for mold] can run an average of $300-$500,” says Andrew Wynn, head of home services at Hippo Insurance, whereas “mold remediation for severe cases costs an average of $2,228.” Moral of the story: get ahead of the issue when it comes to mold, and keeping vents clean is integral to this.
…And when you’re done, squeeze some lemon juice in your garbage disposal, let sit for a couple minutes, then run the disposal with warm water to perfume your home with a fresh, citrusy scent and get any hidden crud out of the drain.