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6 Tools and Tips to Clean the Most Overlooked Spots In Your Home

A ceiling fan cleaner; a drawer of folded towels; a brush cleaning a juicer

Not very many people enjoy cleaning—least of all those pesky areas that tend to get overlooked. So, if you want to get your home cleaner in fewer steps (who doesn’t?), these handy tips and tools will make a much quicker job of it.

We’re all familiar with the most common places in the home we have to clean. It’s those overlooked, hard-to-clean spots that tend to be the bigger challenge. But even those can be simple to clean when you’re armed with the right tools for the job. Next time you’re going through your pre-cleaning shopping or to-do list, make sure these items are on it!

Doorknobs and Light Switches

When you think about which areas in your home get touched most frequently, doorknobs and light switches are probably pretty high on the list.

Because they’re vertical surfaces, though, they’re often overlooked when it comes to cleaning. Unfortunately, all the contact they receive means they need to be cleaned even more often than the more obvious areas in your home.

The good news is, though, you don’t need anything special to clean doorknobs and light switches. A cleaning cloth with spray disinfectant or some cleaning wipes will get the job done.

Coffee Makers and Juicers

Hands using a blue-bristled brush to clean a juicer and a coffee machine filter

That trusty coffee maker also needs to be cleaned sometimes. They actually need a couple of different kinds of cleaning and maintenance to stay in shape. Most manufacturers advise performing a cleaning cycle, which usually involves running vinegar and water through the brew cycle to clean out the appliance’s insides.

Like similar appliances, like juicers, coffee makers can also benefit from a physical cleaning to get into all the nooks and crannies where grime and residue can build up.

To really get into those corners, grab a flexible set of kitchen cleaning brushes, like these from OXO Good Grips. Their durable, strong bristles can tackle any buildup, while their angled design makes it easier to get into those tight crevices and corners where grime tends to gather.

OXO Good Grips Kitchen Appliance Cleaning Set, White

Sturdy, easy to maneuver, and perfect for cleaning coffee makers or juicers.


Folded stacks of multicolored cloths

Lampshades don’t always show dust as much as other items, but they definitely collect it. If you don’t clean them regularly, that layer of dust can actually affect the quality of lighting you get.

A quick wipe down with a microfiber cloth should take care of most of the dust, although fabric shades may require a little more work. Just use a dry cloth, like this one from MR.SIGA Microfiber, to gently wipe down lampshades.

These are particularly good at attracting dust and trapping it within the fibers. Plus, they’re reusable, making them more environmentally (and wallet) friendly than disposable dusters.

MR.SIGA Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

Reusable and perfect for wiping down any household surface.

Tip: If your fabric lampshades are particularly dirty, you might want to soak them for a few minutes in some water and a gentle dish soap after your initial wipe down.


Someone cleaning a showerhead with a brush.

The inevitable showerhead buildup can be incredibly frustrating to deal with. Because of its inconvenient location, it’s also something that’s likely to be left unaddressed for a while.

You can buy a special cleaning product for your showerhead, but it’s just as easy to use household ingredients (and a science-fair chemical reaction) to get a quick, nontoxic clean. Follow these steps to remove that grime:

  1. Place a one-gallon plastic bag inside a pitcher or bowl to hold it open.
  2. Pour about 1/3 cup of baking soda into the bag.
  3. Slowly pour about 2-1/2 cups of vinegar into the bag. (If you pour too fast, you’ll get a foamy overflow.)
  4. Dilute with about 3/4 cup of water.
  5. Carefully remove the plastic bag and submerge as much of the showerhead as possible in the mixture.
  6. Secure the plastic bag to the showerhead with a strong rubber band or two.
  7. Let it sit for several hours or overnight.
  8. Remove the bag, pour the liquid down the drain, and then wipe the showerhead with a clean cloth to remove any residue.

You can adjust the amount of the mixture you make based on the size of your showerhead. The proportions don’t have to be exact—you can guesstimate based on the size of each fixture.

Ceiling Fans

A ceiling fan cleaner on an extended pole; close-up of a ceiling fan cleaner on a fan blade

Ceiling fans literally circulate air throughout your home, so making sure they’re not circulating a bunch of dirt and grime along with it is a good idea. Cleaning the fan blades regularly will help, especially if they’ve been turned off during fall and winter.

To really reach all the high and difficult angles, look for a tool specifically designed to clean ceiling fans, like the Eversprout Microfiber Ceiling and Fan Duster.

It uses the static charge of microfiber to attract and trap dust so you and the floor won’t be showered with it when you’re cleaning. The extendable pole can add up to 4-1/2 feet of reach, making it easier to swipe all the dust off those blades without the danger of perching on a stepladder.

Eversprout Microfiber Ceiling & Fan Duster

Reaches all those high places so you don't have to.

The Washing Machine

You might think the washing machine would be pretty much self-cleaning, but that’s not entirely accurate.

While it’s true the hot water and soap that runs through each load keeps your washing machine usable, it still collects soap residue, minerals from the water, and grime from your laundry that needs to be cleaned out.

You can avoid dealing with mildew, musty odors, and other issues by occasionally using a washing machine cleaner, like this one from Tide.

These cleaning tablets make washing machine upkeep super easy! You just run an empty cycle with hot water and one of the tablets. It’s a simple, but effective, way to address odors at the source and ensure your laundry is always as clean as possible.

Tide Washing Machine Cleaner

Keeps your washing machine spotless and odor-free.

Just the thought of deep-cleaning your home can be overwhelming. However, if you can incorporate these tips and accessories into your weekly or monthly routine, they’ll help you keep your home clean all year with far less work.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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