This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our Disclosure Policy for details
You keep your home pretty tidy and your cleaning schedules are working just fine. You pride yourself on being ready for company in ten minutes or less. Think you’re forgetting anything? Here are 13 dirtiest things you should be cleaning but aren’t.
You’ve been doing this for years, and you’re sure you haven’t missed a thing. There isn’t a dirty spot in your home. You would know.
Or is there? You might want to take a look at this list just to make sure there isn’t something you’re missing.
Things You Should Be Cleaning but Aren’t
Here are the thirteen dirtiest things you should be cleaning, but probably aren’t. Number thirteen is sure to gross you out!
Most women carry purses these days, but do they really ever clean them?
Besides throwing away old receipts and random pieces of gum, most women rarely ever pay attention to the purses. Especially where they set them down.
The exterior surfaces are the dirties. Think about how often you set your purse down on a counter, bench, table, etc. Imagine all the germs you are picking up, then transferring to your car seat when you set your purse down.
Even worse, you probably set it on the kitchen counter or a side table when you get home.
Wipe the outside off with a soapy microfiber cloth or disinfectant wipe, and refrain from setting it down on just any surface in your home. Place a hook in your drop zone to hang your purse on to keep it off the counters.
Your purse should probably be cleaned weekly if not more often.
2. Remote Controls
Let me tell you how gross a remote control can get.
We had one that stopped working properly and when I tried to fix it, I realized how disgustingly dirty it was. There were smudges of dirt all over the face of the remote, and the reason it wasn’t working properly is there was so much gunk built up that the buttons were sticking.
I had to take the entire thing apart and use a toothbrush and toothpicks dipped in cleaner to get all the crap out. Then I wiped down the surface with cleaner, let it dry and put it all back together.
It worked like new. Now I wipe it with a disinfectant wipe every week and clean out any noticeable debris with a toothpick.
Related Article: How to declutter your living room
3. Computer Keyboards
In this digital era, computer keyboards get a lot of use.
Depending on the frequency of use, you should spray out the keyboard with compressed air once a week to clear out any debris. You can use a paintbrush or toothpick to remove anything stuck between the keys.
Then wipe down the keys and flat surfaces with a disinfectant wipe.
Clean your home keyboard once a week. If you share a computer at work, wipe that nasty thing down daily.
Related Article: Spring cleaning checklist
4. Door Handles
Yep, door handles. The minute you read that, you panicked.
You realized you can’t remember the last time you cleaned yours, if ever. Then you thought about how many times a day everybody touches them.
Now you’re grossed out and feeling a little ashamed. It’s okay, everybody has survived so far. Grab some disinfectant and a microfiber cloth and give them a good cleaning.
Once you’re done, a quick once over with a disinfectant wipe at least once a week should keep them clean.
5. Light Switches
Eewww right! Light switches see dirty hands even more often than your door handles do.
Now you can’t unsee all of that gunk buildup and it’s not easy to get off. Before you whip out all of the cleaning supplies, flip the breaker to interrupt the electricity to the switches.
Use a combination of a dry toothbrush, cotton swab, toothpick, and some cleaner to get all the gunk out. For the initial cleaning, it’ll help to remove the switch plate and clean it in the sink.
Use a dry toothbrush or stiff paintbrush to clean off all the surface dust and dirt. Then use a cotton swab soaked in disinfectant to clean off all the grime and gunk.
If you still have hard to reach spots, soak the tip of the toothpick in disinfectant and use it to get any remaining gunk.
6. Coffee Maker
If you drink a lot of coffee, your coffee maker and pot can get really dirty. Dirty coffee makers don’t perform well and can affect the taste of your coffee.
Hard water and mineral deposits build up in and around the water reservoir, and oils and bean debris tend to stick to the brewing mechanisms.
To clean your coffee maker, ensure that the filter is empty. Then run a full pot of diluted vinegar through the brew cycle. Once done brewing, dump out the mixture and wash the pot with soap and water.
Then wash all of the other surfaces down with soap and water. Pay extra attention to the drip head. You may need a toothbrush or toothpick to get this clean.
Run a couple of pots of plain water through the pot to get any lingering vinegar or soap and water out of the pot and mechanisms.
You might be surprised at the taste difference in your coffee, especially if it has been a while since you last cleaned the coffee maker.
You should clean your coffee maker at least once a month.
7. Kitchen Exhaust Fan
Let’s talk about kitchen exhaust fans.
Have you ever seen any of those restaurant rescue shows where the fan is so caked in grease that you know its dripping in the food every time the kitchen heats up? I know, disgusting right!
Think that can’t happen at home too? Think again. That nasty build up can make your entire house smelly.
If it doesn’t get cleaned, it builds up on the screens and starts to cause odors in your kitchen.
To clean the fan, shut off the breaker and remove the screens. Wash them in the sink or throw them in the dishwasher. Then wipe down any accessible surfaces with a mixture of vinegar, dish soap, and hot water.
You should clean the exhaust fan at least once a month. If you use a lot of oil when you cook, clean your exhaust fan more frequently.
Related Article: How to declutter your kitchen
8. Bathroom Exhaust Fans
Bathrooms are the moistest room in your home.
That moisture causes dust and lint to stick to the fan cover and motor during normal operation. Once there’s enough of a build-up, it’ll start to affect the performance of the fan.
Vacuum the cover and wash off any dirt or grime. I soak mine in the sink before scrubbing it clean. While the cover is soaking, switch off the breaker and vacuum the build-up out of the motor. You might need a specialty vacuum nozzle or a paintbrush to get to any hard to reach debris.
If there is any grime build-up, use a disinfectant wipe to remove as much as you can.
My bathrooms are fairly small, but I find that if I vacuum the cover during my weekly cleaning, I only need to clean the motor about once a year.
Related Article: How to deep clean your oven
9. Pet Dishes
Do you ever see a hazy film buildup on the inside of your pet’s food dishes? If you do, you’re not cleaning them often enough.
Oils from the food build up on the dishes creates a hazy layer. This buildup can start to stink and can even contain bacteria that can have a negative effect on your pet’s health.
Wash your pet food dishes at least once a week. I allow my cats to free feed. That means I leave a dish of dry food out at all times.
I have 2 sets of dishes for them. I put out a full dish, then when it’s empty, I put out the new dish and run the other one through the dishwasher.
Keep your furbabies healthy by keeping their dishes clean.
Related Article: How to keep your house clean with cats
It might seem a bit weird to have to clean the dishwasher, but it needs to be done. Food particles can get stuck on the sides or in the drain and cause poor performance and odors.
As with any electrical appliance, please flip the breaker before cleaning any mechanical parts.
Remove and clean out the filter if your dishwasher has one. Check the drain and spray holes for any remaining stuck-on food, then clean as needed.
Sprinkle the sprayer with baking soda and place a dishwasher-safe bowl of vinegar on the top rack Run the hottest cycle your dishwasher has. I use the sanitize cycle.
Once the cycle is done, wipe down the interior walls and door seal with a disinfectant.
Add your dishwasher to your monthly cleaning schedule.
11. Washing Machine
Your washing machine is one of the hardest working appliances in your home so give it a little love.
Today’s front-loading washers tend to collect moisture and gunk inside of the door seals. That gunk turns sour and starts to make all of your laundry stinky too.
Much like dishwashers, some washing machines also have a filter that will need to be removed and cleaned.
Flip the electrical breaker and clean out the filter. You may need to do a little research to figure out where the filter or drain trap is on your specific washing machine.
Use some disinfectant and a microfiber cloth to wipe down the outside of the machine. Then wipe the interior of the washing drum and door.
Wipe down the outside surface of the door seal, then peel it back a little and wipe out the interior surfaces. You might need to rinse the cloth and repeat a few times to get the gunk out.
Sprinkle vinegar and baking soda in the washer and run it on the sanitize cycle.
I clean my washer on a monthly schedule.
12. Vacuum Cleaner
Do you see a little bit of a theme yet? You need to clean your cleaning machines.
Your vacuum collects all of the dirt and dust that enters your house. In order to keep it in tip-top working condition, you’ll need to clean it regularly.
Start by emptying out any remains from your last house cleaning. Flip the vacuum over and remove any built-up stuck on hair from the roller. Use scissors or a seam ripper to get it all off.
Wipe down all exterior and interior surfaces. Check filters to see if they need replacing, and wash all removable parts as needed.
Empty the canister and clean the roller after every use so it’s ready to go the next time. Check and replace the filters as needed on a quarterly basis. Once a year take the entire thing apart to soak and wash any removable pieces in the sink.
13. Bathroom Walls Around Toilet
Yuck right. I saved the worst for last, but now it’s time. The most disgusting surface you should be cleaning but probably don’t is the bathroom walls around your toilet.
Part of most weekly cleaning routines include disinfecting the toilet and scrubbing the floors, but you also need to scrub those surrounding walls with some really good disinfectant.
Did you know when you flush the toilet there is a plume of microscopic particles that spray into the air up to approximately six feet high? I don’t think I need to tell you what’s in that plume.
Yeah, grossed me out too. Once you visualize something like that, you can’t EVER unsee it.
Grossed me out so badly, that I now scrub those particular walls with a good disinfectant each and every week. It’s not great for the paint, but I can always add a fresh coat.
Want to prevent some of the gross-out factors and keep your bathroom a little cleaner? Close the toilet lid before you flush, then you can keep the plume somewhat contained.
Well, there you have it. All 13 of the dirtiest things you should be cleaning but probably aren’t.
Sorry if I grossed you out with these, but if I was missing something that nasty, I would want to know.
Speaking of missing a spot, are there any other dirty spots people forget to clean? Let me know so I can add them to the list.
Was this list helpful? Want to see what else we have to say? Sign up for our newsletter below, and Happy Cleaning!