5 Things You Probably Need To Clean

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Ivy says:

When I worked as a professional maid, sometimes the boss would come into a house we had just cleaned and would do what she called “the white glove test.” She’d wear a white pair of gloves and check areas we were supposed to have cleaned, and if so much as a smudge appeared on the famed white gloves, we’d get marked down.

There were 5 places she called “hot spots”– these were the places she would most likely find that we had missed. These are those places.

There were 5 places she called "hot spots"- these were the places she would most likely find that we had missed cleaning.

1. The top of the refrigerator– Oooh, I’ve seen some nasty refrigerator tops in my time. Normally they’re fairly close to the stovetop, so the dust on top of the refrigerator gets mixed in with grease and it’s just a nasty, heinous mess. Also, people like to store stuff on top of the refrigerator, so now your stuff is greasy and dusty. Go ahead and start making the top of your refrigerator a regular part of your kitchen cleaning routine. If you do it at least once a week, it won’t be bad at all.

2. The tops of door frames, and the tops of anything hanging on a wall– I have a confession to make. Because this was something my bosses at the cleaning service were SO snotty about these particular items, it was years before I was able to go into someone’s house and not run my finger on the top of their door frames. Talk about conditioning. When you’re dusting, don’t forget the tops of door frames, the tops of picture frames, the top of your doorbell box, your smoke detectors, your thermostat, and anything else that hangs on your wall.

3. The back sides of your faucets- This is something that is easy to miss. When I make the kids clean the kitchen or the bathroom, they miss this every time. One would think that being busted on this myriad times would make them remember, but one would be wrong. It can get pretty funky back there, so don’t forget to clean behind the faucets.

4. Underneath and behind appliances that sit on the counter- When I was at my mom and dad’s house on Sunday, my dad’s coffee maker decided to flood. We quickly pulled everything out and started mopping up. Behind the coffee maker was actually pretty clean, but behind the microwave- eww. I know it’s a pain to pull larger appliances like that out, but be sure to clean under there every once in awhile.

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5. Toilet paper holders- When I worked at the cleaning service, this was something I got marked down on a few times. Toilet paper leaves dust on the sides of the holder, and it needs to be dusted off. This is something that would have never occurred to me to clean if I hadn’t ever worked at the cleaning service, but there it is. Clean your toilet paper holders, yo!

Now, I know these items are all really fussy things to clean. You could go the rest of your life not dusting your door frames and be just fine. But if you’re looking to get your house completely spotless, don’t forget these items!

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23 thoughts on “5 Things You Probably Need To Clean”

  1. I’m adding the back sides of faucets to my list, but not sure about the door frames. It sounds easier to avoid guests that are tall enough to see the tops of my door frames.

  2. Luckily I was conditioned by my mom to clean the backs of the faucets, but I am SO BAD about cleaning the crap hanging on my walls.

    By the way, do you have any advice on how I can keep my black stove looking nice? Black appliances look great—in theory—but they are such a pain in the ass to clean.

  3. Megan- I could probably do a whole post on this. I once had a client that literally everything in his house was black. Well, not EVERYTHING, but every sink, every toilet, every appliance was black. When his cleaning time would come up, we’d draw straws to decide who was stuck with him.

    Anyway, I don’t think black appliances can look good ALL the time. It’s just not possible, they get smudgey. But what worked best for us was cleaning with a 1-1 mixture of white vinegar and distilled water. It’s important that the water is distilled, because if the water is the least bit hard, it’ll leave spots.

    Anyway, just spray and wipe. It’ll look good until the next time someone brushes against it or a cat walks by or, or, or.

    Be glad you don’t have black sinks or toilets. Oh, man, the stories I can tell. Who in the heck wants BLACK toilets anyway? Oy.

  4. Tina, I think a better idea is hand the next tall person that comes along a dustrag and some Pledge or a swiffer sheet and have them clean the door frames as they go by.

  5. Re: backs of faucets

    Our faucet handles are white, and while I’ll clean behind them, I’d forget to clean the underside of the actual handles. Then they came a little unscrewed so the bottoms were on the top and ohmigod they were gross. So now I’m anal about cleaning all that too.

  6. I’m tall – 6′ to 6’1″ in heels. And I can tell you: A lot of people don’t clean the top of their refrigerators. Eww.

    One day my husband was watching me clean the house and he asked me, “why do you clean the door frames? They’re never dirty.”


    Bless his heart.

  7. Recently on the Consumerist.com weblog, there was a discussion about how often to replace the baking soda in your refrigerator that morphed into a general discussion of refrigerator cleaning. It seemed that many under-30 readers didn’t understand the first thing about how to clean a ‘fridge.

    I never fail to be amazed at how frequently people with spotless homes have refrigerators and microwaves that are absolute health hazards. But even the really clean ones forget this: the drain pan under the fridge. It is a breeding ground for nasty mold!

    • There’s a drain pan under the fridge? <3 an under-30 reader.

      Among other things I've recently learned living in my own house… electric oven tops come up and what is under them is also very scary. People (parents) should really tell kids these things.

  8. I agree with the tall thing!! I do the fridge, faucets, tops of doors and pictures because I’m tall. I can see on top of things and behind faucets!

  9. A local maid left her paper in our mailbox of things she does and prices.

    She dusts pictures, baseboards, vacuums or sweeps, straightens linens, wipes off counter tops and fronts of appliances.

    Okay, well I need:
    Pick toys up out of every room’s floors, clean toilets, wash laundry 24/7, bathe dog, change cat box, pick shoes up out of foyer and deposit in correct rooms, run dishwasher 3+ times a day, clean peanut butter off every downstairs surface and a few upstairs ones.

    Personally if all I needed was my baseboards dusted, I would consider the place clean. Pictures don’t need dusting so often, it’s bad for the image. My appliances are fine, wash the freaking dishes! You are going to have a hard time vacuuming with those dirty clothes, shoes, dog toys, kid toys, blankets (kid and dog)… in the middle of the floor.
    I did clean the fridge off this week and the tops of the doors. Got a new microfiber dust mitt. This thing is great for doing the tops of doors and it’s washable. Got it at Walmart for $2.50.
    I clean our fridge on the inside weekly and the fronts of the appliances as well. Takes 5 minutes. Can’t see paying someone $60+ to do that.
    I already clean these 5 places. Can’t stand fuzzy toilet paper rolls. LOL
    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need Merry Maids, I need Alice.

    • Me, too! Or Hazel, if you remember her! She even cooked! Maid service in my area cost any where between $150-220. I decided I can wipe down my own countertops for that. The last one would zoom through my house in so fast, she was averaging $50/hour. Nope, had to go.

  10. I work at a salon and all of our shampoo sinks are black. We use Armour-all (the car/chrome shine product) to wipe them out with a towel at the end of the night and it shines them up nicely.

  11. okay being tall has its advantages yes, but getting down low on the floor makes you see a whole lot of dirty places as well.

  12. I know this is a bit old but I’ve found a bit of a ‘trick’ for my black appliances. I have black fridge, stove/oven and microwave (sits above the stove so gets greasy)..Well, 409 does a great job getting the grease off but then it’s smudgy so then I do a quick wipe down with windex and it’s beautiful! Seems perhaps like double work but it goes super quick. Spray 409, wipe; spray windex, wipe. all done 🙂

  13. I actually feel pretty good right now because I was taught by my mother to always clean these areas!!!! Now the rest of my house… well… it leaves much to be desired, but for some reason these are the areas I try not to forget because they do make a really big difference in the appearance of your home.

    • Saran wrap works well on the top of the fridge too. Held down by a couple of magnets. My teenage daughter taught me this….who knew?

  14. I love it. I couldn’t help but share on my blog. I also added a few places myself that people tend to miss when cleaning and added some tips. I should be used to seeing these places left dirty but it still shocks me.

  15. No thank you.. A little dirty is needed. I like my kids to be exposed to germs and bacteria.. I’m not going to cripple their life like so many mothers do to their kids by lysoling every surface and thus nuking their kids immune system so they live a life time of being sickly and in and out of hospitals because they’ve never been permitted to be exposed to anything and thus never developed any resistance against it. You may be doing the doctors, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies a great service, but your basically killing your kids. Put down the lysol bottle and step away before you hurt someone.

    • Your kids are exposed to plenty of germs in everyday life.
      Having a clean home won’t make them sick (unless you mix bleach with something else).
      But by having a clean house, especially the kitchen & dining area, you could help them avoid serious illness.

      Let them play outdoors, go to summer camp, help in the garden, do yard work, go to school, mix with other kids, even get a pet, and of course get their immunizations, and they’ll be quite healthy.

      And BTW, even if you did “lysol every surface” in the house, by living a normal life everywhere else, as described above, they’d still get their immune systems adequately challenged to develop in a healthy way.

    • You get all the microbes needed for a functioning immune system from fresh fruit and vegetables. Eat a salad. Step away from the other funk.


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