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Weekend Project: Clean Under Your Furniture

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Cleaning under your furniture isn’t glamorous, but it’s one of those cleaning tasks you have to tackle now and then. Here’s how to knock it out this weekend and keep it tidy going forward.

Let’s take a look at how frequently you should be cleaning and how to clean under big furniture safely and effectively.

How Often Should You Clean Under Your Furniture?

If you have a high-traffic home, have pets, or don’t dust regularly; You should be sweeping and vacuuming under and behind furniture every week. If you don’t own any pets, and you only have you and one other person living in your home, you can get away with doing it every other week.

It’s easy for dust and debris to find its way under furniture, especially if you have hardwood floors. Every room in your home can use a good regular cleaning under furniture, from desks to dressers. Leaving dust to collect can cause allergy and sinus issues for some people.

How to Safely Clean Under Your Furniture

Not all furniture is easy to move or get under. If you have carpeted floors, it can be challenging to slide things around, and if you have hardwood floors, you don’t want to scuff them up sliding your furniture around. Then you have the heavy pieces that seem almost immovable, and what about shelves that you’ve anchored to the wall?

Before you start cleaning, you need to move furniture. Before you move furniture, know how to do it safely. These safety tips are both to help you avoid injury and to help you keep from messing up your carpeting or flooring.

  • Make Furniture Easier to Move: Buy felt pads for the feet on your end tables, nightstands, and coffee table if you have linoleum or hardwood floors. This will make your furniture slide without leaving scratches. To make moving your couch, recliner, and loveseat easier (and avoid scratches), you can buy easy-slide casters which come in different sizes and styles (some come with soft padding to protect hardwood floors).
  • Prop Up Immoveable Furniture: If you have heavier furniture that you can’t move on your own, consider investing in some risers to lift the piece a little higher than it usually sits. This will give you a little more room underneath to sweep each week. Just lifting one side of your couch and popping risers under the feet on that side can give you enough room to get a vacuum under there.
  • Ways to Get Under Without Moving Pieces: Make sure you have the right cleaning devices on hand. You’ll want a Swiffer duster to get under tight spots, a bendable duster to catch dust on the backs of furniture items you can’t move, and a vacuum cleaner with a hose and cleaning attachments that let you get into nooks and crannies.
  • Consider a Dolly: If you really want to move around the heavy stuff, or it’s your once a year deep clean, you can use a standing dolly to slip under and move things. Be sure to get help from a friend or family member for extremely heavy items, though.

There’s a chance that when you move your furniture, it will drag some dust and debris around the room. For this reason, don’t clean the rest of the room until after you’ve moved the furniture, cleaned, and then moved it back.

In the Living Room

Couches tend to be reasonably easy to move around by one person unless it’s a hide-a-bed. In that case, use easy-glide casters or have someone help you move the couch. You’d be surprised at how much dust, fur, and other stuff ends up under sofas and chairs. Pick up any toys, tissues, or other things that have found their way underneath. Vacuum if you have carpet, sweep if you don’t.

Do the same with chairs and tables. When it comes to your entertainment center, you will have wires to contend with. Instead of unplugging everything to get under and behind your entertainment center, use riser so you can sweep underneath with a Swiffer style sweeper. Dust off cords with a duster first, so any dust that falls will get cleaned up off the floor.

Shelves anchored to the wall for stability are stuck where they are. However, dust is still collecting under there. Risers help you be able to clean underneath without the need to move the shelving unit.

In the Bedroom

If your bed is high enough up off the ground, you won’t need to move it to vacuum or sweep. Although, moving it may make the job less like being part of a contortionist act. If your bed frame is on wheels, moving the bed is easy. If it isn’t, those same easy-glide casters you used on the couch should help.

Felt pads or caster on a dresser will make it easier to slide around on hardwood floors. If your bedroom has carpet, the casters may help as well. If your dresser sits flush on the floor, don’t worry about moving it. Use a duster to clean the back of it and the wall behind.

Everywhere Else

The dining room is probably one of the easiest places to clean unless you have a big fancy cabinet with your China collection inside. In that case, follow the same tips for dressers or entertainment centers.

Your home office is the same as well. You may have shelving units attached to the wall; clean around them the best that you can. Sweep or vacuum under your desk without moving it.


Sure dusting under your dresser might not be the most glamorous bit of cleaning you’ll do, but after you capture those hidden dust bunnies, you’ll breathe easier.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow has been a professional writer for almost two decades. Yvonne has worked for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and much more as a writer and editor. She's also a published poet and a short story writer. Read Full Bio »

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