Things You Frequently Forget to Clean and How to Clean Them

By Elizabeth Kohen | November 11, 2017

If you’re already a neat freak or looking to become one, enjoy these tips to purify the household items you might be overlooking and learn to instill fear in the dust mites who have gotten too cozy in your home.

Throw Pillows and Blankets

The pillows on your sofa that you drool on after binge-watching TV shows while eating tortilla chips late at night… they are filled with dust. Shut down the dust mite party at least twice a year by tossing feather inserts into the washing machine. Ditto on synthetic inserts, but be sure to put them in the dryer on low heat afterwards to prevent damage. If you can’t bring yourself to machine or hand-wash your pillow covers, at the very least, swipe a vacuum over them every now and then.


They might look clean, but they’re coated in dust, dander and pollen. If they’re located near a wood-burning fireplace or stove, expect additional build-up. Cotton curtains with grommets can be put right into the washing machine; to avoid wrinkles, hang them to dry rather than sticking them in the dryer. If they’re made of a delicate fabric-like silk or linen or have intricate detailing/beading, bring them to the dry cleaner.

Sofa Upholstery

Vacuum upholstery every month or two, and wash slip covers every week or two (along with your bed sheets). Have upholstery professionally cleaned every year or two.


In addition to rotating or flipping your mattress two to four times a year, it’s a good idea to vacuum and spot-clean it periodically.


Over time, food crumbs find their way into the tiny nooks of your dishwasher. Clean and rinse the screen at the bottom of the drum, dislodge anything stuck in the ports of the sprayer arm, and clean off the bottom edge of the door and metal lip below the door. Throw in some vinegar or dishwashing detergent, and run a full cycle without any dishes.

Bath Mats and Shower Curtains

Think dirty feet, dust and dander. Toss your mats in the washing machine every two weeks. If the mats have a rubber bottom, drape them over the tub to dry rather than putting them in the dryer. Machine wash your shower curtains once a month.

Bathroom Exhaust Fans

Grab a bottle of canned air and blast dust off the grid of your exhaust fan. It’s fun, but don’t stand directly underneath to avoid getting showered in dust.

Outdoor Furniture

Weather and exposure to bugs requires extra maintenance to keep your outdoor furniture in good shape. Wood can collect pollen and potentially splinter after a few months of non-use. Scrub it down with a homemade concoction of vinegar and water and then put oil on it. Simply wipe upholstered furniture down with water at the beginning and end of the season.

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