29 Simple Things You Should Be Cleaning – But Probably Aren’t


& FILED IN Household Chores 

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Around the house there are so many things you should be cleaning but have probably missed all too often in the usual weekly cleaning routine.

Often these are things that are used to clean other things, or things we use to store other items – and lastly they can be things that we touch daily and become almost blind to over time.

Let’s look at the list of these things that need cleaning, and you can also grab some tips on HOW to clean them once they enter your cleaning radar….

29 things you should be cleaning - but probably aren't!

Cleaning just the basics in the house takes time. I strongly promote a cleaning schedule that tackles the necessary first and then does more deep cleaning on a less often basis – just because it’s pretty much impossible to do it all, all the time.

But there are things that we are all leaving – and never getting round to – because, well, life!

And these are things I wanted to look at today.

Your challenge is to tackle each one over the next month, so that you can rest assured your home is as clean as it can be – at least for a short time.

Ready? Let’s get started!

29 Things You Should Be Cleaning….

#1 – Hairbrushes

We use these every day, usually brushing freshly washed hair, but do you ever look at the brush to see what you are brushing back in?

It can be quite surprising, to say the least! – so much hair and dust etc… collect over even the shortest time – so get into a habit of using a comb to take out the excess hair that’s collected, and then wash in soapy water.

(Then wash the comb as well, of course!)

TIP – You can buy specific hairbrush cleaner tools if you need to – but I’d definitely see if a simple comb would work OK for your type of brush first.

#2 – Toothbrush

We clean our teeth with these every day, but do you ever think that what you put into your mouth needs a clean sometimes as well?

A couple of ways to do this are: –

  • Rinse well in your anti-bacterial mouthwash
  • Put into the top of the dishwasher every week (just the brush head of course if you use an electric toothbrush…)
Toothbrush and toothpaste

#3 – Toothbrush Holder

This is a germ trap to say the least.

Water and toothpaste drip down every day to form a congealed mess, and it’s easy to forget to clean them.

The easiest way to clean is to use a dishwasher safe container and put it in there each week. If you don’t have that, or you don’t have a dishwasher, then leave to soak in boiling water and cleaner, then thoroughly scrub and rinse.

Good as new!

#4 – Shower Storage Containers

Whether you use plastic or wire containers for your shampoo – they are all prone to getting dirty, quickly. The humidity of the shower only adds to this issue – so don’t forget to clean these when you are cleaning the bathroom (or at least once a month).

Again – some can go into the dishwasher (there’s a pattern emerging here, isn’t there!), or use that boiling water and cleaner and soak.

I use wire containers in our shower, and scrub with an old toothbrush to get into all the nooks and crannies, then soak in water and cleaner – works a treat!

#5 – Bathroom Fans

It’s all too easy to clean a room without ever looking up at the ceiling, and as such we can miss cleaning the fans that are there (usually in the UK these are in bathrooms, toilets and utilities).

Hoover the dust away using the brush attachment, and wipe with a damp cloth or anti bacterial wipe, and it’ll work much better for you (and look better too!).

#6 – Lampshades

Along the same lines as fans (i.e. looking up!), are lampshades….

If you have fabric lampshades then a brush attachment on the hoover should do the trick nicely – so get into the habit of doing this when you have the hoover out so dust isn’t allowed to build up at all (just make sure the lights are off, and you are as gentle as possible of course).

And if you have glass shades – the dishwasher is definitely your best bet. Just unscrew them and pop them in the top rack and let it do the hard work for you!

Floor lamp

#7 – Lightbulbs

Have you ever though to clean the actual bulbs in your home?

Think about it – they are just as likely to attract dust as anything else – and when they get hot this can be a hazard – so it makes sense to clean them regularly (not to mention the fact that you’ll get a brighter light if they are dust free).

When the lights are off (and not warm!) – just wipe over with a cloth and you’re done!

#8 – Light Switch Plates

Last on the light front is the switch plates we all have on the walls to turn the lights on and off.

These get our hands on them each and every day – and are ripe for germ transfer….

I like to use anti bacterial wipes on these as part of my cleaning routine – which works really well.

#9 – Door Handles

Just as with the light switch plates – anti bacterial wipes on all door handles around the house does wonders!

#10 – Your Rubbish Bin

We drop dirty stuff into our bins each and every day – and while they will all usually have a bag in them to collect everything – they will still be a trap for germs.

As such – take them all outside and hose down / wash well – and then spray with cleaner and wipe thoroughly.

#11 – Your Phone

We carry our phones pretty much everywhere with us – often including the loo…. so it stands to reason that cleaning it should definitely be on our radar…

A simple wipe with an anti bacterial wipe would work really well and is a simple fix! (remember to take your cover off and clean this and the phone separately because things can get trapped between the two.

Mobile phone next to tulips

#12 – Your Computer / Laptop Keyboard & screen

Again – something we touch all.the.time and should be regularly cleaned as a result.

There are loads of products out there that can make this job easier (and fun, even!) – some of which are as follows: –

#13 – TV remotes

Another item that is touched multiple times a day by multiple people – and can therefore transfer any germs from person to person all too quickly.

Use similar cleaning techniques to your computer keyboard and all will be well with the world!

Remote control with plant background

#14 – Doormat

These are supposed to help stop shoes bringing in dirt and germs to the house – and yet are often overlooked when it comes to keeping them clean.

To clean your doormat, simply do the following: –

  • Use a brush to loosen off any dirt
  • Beat it outside to get rid of any loose dirt
  • Clean with hot water and a soft brush if it’s a plastic doormat, or use a hard bristle brush if it’s coir.
  • Leave to dry – and you’re done!

#15 – Toilet Brush

Hmm – what other thing in your home would you put down the toilet regularly – and then place back by it’s side! – not much!

If you don’t already – then the daily solution for keeping your loo brush sanitary is to add some bleach or other cleaner to the base of the brush so that it gets cleaned when it’s back in place (also make sure you flush your loo over the brush when you’ve finished cleaning the loo with it).

Obviously be aware of children around the house if you have them, because you don’t want them to be able to access it especially with cleaner involved…

You may also want to put your brush and holder in a bucket of boiling water and a little bleach every so often as well to completely clean it well (again out of the reach of kids).

#16 – Broom and Mop

Mops can smell. Awful!

Brushes for your floor can trap dirt in them just like your hair brushes trap old hair…

So if you want to use these items for cleaning other parts of your home, you really want them to be as clean as possible – otherwise you’re simply transferring the dirt and germs all over the place…

To clean them is simple: –

  • Clean mop heads by placing into a bucket of hot water and bleach for a while and then rinsing thoroughly and leaving to dry
  • Clean brooms by going outside and hitting the broom against a wall to loosen any particles caught in the bristles, and then washing in a bucket of soapy water and leaving to dry.
  • All mop and broom handles should be wiped down with anti bacterial wipes/spray or disinfectant.

#17 – Pillows and Duvets

We very dutifully wash our duvet and pillow covers most weeks without fail – but we just as regularly can forget about the actual duvet and pillows underneath…

Check the labels on what you have – because some can be machine washed (you need a big machine capacity for larger duvets of course), and some will need dry cleaning.

I would advise doing this in the summer when they can be dried easily outside, or when/if you change your bedding with the seasons (so you don’t miss them while they are being cleaned, and they are clean and ready to be stored for the next season).

#18 – Your Mattress

Hoover your mattresses regularly, to get rid of any bed bugs and dust there may be – and always spot clean any necessary areas.

I haven’t tried this myself, but I’ve heard that using baking soda to freshen them up is a good idea (sprinkle on and leave, then hoover it up), so may be worth a try.

#19 – Throws and Cushion Covers

SO SO easy to miss cleaning – as they are just decoration – but so important to keep clean. After all – we use to wrap ourselves in to get warm on cold nights, or put our heads on to get comfy when relaxing on the sofa…

Most can be machine washed, but some may need dry cleaning – just check the labels (and in the future, for ease and cost, try and only buy machine washable items).

#20 – Houseplants

Yes, really!

Take a look at any plants you have around your house – as you may be surprised as how much dust can settle on each leaf…

A simple (and careful) wipe with a damp cloth will usually do the trick – and make the plants healthier as a result.

#21 – Kitchen Sponge

One of the dirtiest items in your house…. And we use it to wipe down kitchen surfaces and wash everything daily.


Wash thoroughly after each use – and to really kill any germs you can microwave for a minute when damp, or even put into the dishwasher…

Hand in a cleaning yellow glove holding a yellow sponge

#22 – Toys

Whether it be kids toys or pet toys – they get handled, dropped, chewed and so much more each day.

It stands to reason that cleaning them is a good idea!

You can add a lot of toys to the dishwasher for a quick and easy clean, and soft toys can be washed in the washing machine.

If neither of these are possible, then wipe with anti bacterial wipes or a damp cloth with disinfectant on it.

Soft toys in a basket

#23 – Laundry Basket

This is where our dirty clothes go before they get washed.

These clothes may drop dirt into the basket, may be damp and therefore attract more germs – and a whole host of other things.

The clothes get washed – but the basket often stays there getting dirtier and dirtier without us giving it a second glance.

Here are some ideas for the most common types of baskets: –

  • Wicker baskets – use a washable insert and wash this weekly as well as the clothes, and hoover the basket itself to pick up any loose dirt that’s settled.
  • Fabric baskets – these can usually be machine washed easily, but if not then clean in a bucket of hot soapy water and dry thoroughly before putting back.

#24 – Keys

We carry them around all day – they get handled, taken all sorts of places – and can carry germs all too easily.

Just wipe down regularly to avoid germ transfer. Easy!

#25 – Walls

How many times have you actually cleaned the walls in your house?

This isn’t something on most peoples radar – but walls can get dirty as well!

Here are some quick ideas to use: –

  • Bathroom tiled walls can be steam cleaned to take off germs easily (especially around the toilet area….).
  • For all internal walls – dust well to remove obvious dirt (you can use a long handled duster or soft broom for this, or even a soft brush attachment on your hoover).
  • Some internal walls can be washed – this is a good tutorial if you need to do this step.

TIP – For painted walls – often a quick freshen up with paint over marks can make the whole wall look fresh and clean. I have small pots of all paint in my house so I can do this quickly once a year or so…

#26 – Handbag & Purse

These get filled with items throughout the day – leaving dirt and germs to collect. It’s horrid if you think about it too much!

Get into a habit of emptying each of these regularly and wiping/washing down with a damp cloth and detergent – this will avoid build up and help to keep everything that you put into them that bit cleaner.

White handbag with brown handles

#27 – Gym Bag

Another bag that’s regularly used and rarely cleaned is your gym bag.

You have wet towels, dirty kit, sweaty shoes etc… in it all the time – so it makes total sense to wash it at least once a month.

Simply use wipes, or a damp cloth and detergent to clean all the sections thoroughly.

#28 – Dishwasher

The better this is cleaned, the better it will clean your dishes for you (and anything else you put inside to clean!). See below in #29 for link to cleaning ideas…

Loading or emptying the dishwasher

#29 – Washing Machine

For the same reasoning as #28 – the washing machine will perform better for you if it’s clean.

For these, there are lots of methods that can work – I tend to use specific products that can be put into the washing machine or dishwasher and then run on a cycle – but there are more natural alternatives out there.

29 things you should be cleaning - but probably aren't!

Has this list of things you should be cleaning been an eye opener for you?

They were for me! lol

Some things I clean regularly – but others I am guilty of leaving more and more often. It’s a case of adding them to your schedule however often you can and making it a little more of a habit.

If you haven’t been cleaning any of these regularly – then any extra cleans is a bonus!

Don’t panic – it’s not the end of the world. But adding these to your cleaning list (however frequently you can) will make a massive difference to how healthy those things you touch and use frequently are for you, and that can’t be a bad thing!

As you can see – the most regularly forgotten items you should be cleaning are things in three categories: –

  • Those we use for storage
  • Those we use to clean other things
  • Items we use daily and get handled by most of the family

So keep this in mind when you next clean your home – and be aware of what you miss.

P.S are you ready for getting your cleaning sorted, once and for all? I’ve written a step by step guide to creating a cleaning schedule that works for you, so this is the article to read next…


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This article was written by Chrissy

Hi - I'm Chrissy... Having run my own business for 12 years as a Professional Organiser and Interior Designer, I know what works (and what doesn't!) when it comes to setting up a home that works both functionally and aesthetically. Now you can mostly find me in a coffee shop or at home, working full time on (which I setup back in 2011) sharing all my tips and ideas. My mission is to help you create a home that you love to live in every day...


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