It can be tough to cover all the bases when it comes to house cleaning. Time is short, cleaning routines are inconsistent, things get overlooked. Some people just don’t notice fingerprints on walls and streaks on windows. Cobwebs that are visible only when the sunlight hits them at a certain angle are easy to miss on cleaning day.
Professional housecleaners establish routines which ensure all areas of each job get cleaned regularly. This is why I recommend that anyone who does their own house cleaning set up similar schedules to make sure everything gets cleaned from time to time.
Many people subscribe to the belief that if you can’t see it, it isn’t dirty. Unfortunately, areas that accumulate dust are often out of sight, and because settled dust will sooner or later get stirred up and redistributed, any large settlements of dust in your home are potential trouble spots.
For this reason it is important to dust those ceiling fan blades and the top of the refrigerator and under the bed to remove these accumulations while they’re quietly resting and before they have a chance to get stirred up and recirculated into the air. You can’t count on the “cleaning only what looks dirty” style of housekeeping to keep your home in good shape.
Plus it’s frustrating to spend a whole afternoon cleaning your house only to later notice half a dozen things you overlooked. So, I’ve compiled a list of some of the tasks that are likely to be overlooked when you’re cleaning your house. Hopefully it’ll be helpful to you.
Offense number one: cobwebs. These nuisances form along the edge where walls and ceilings meet. They form on light fixtures. They form in corners. Cobwebs appear along the bottom edges of furniture.
The trouble with cobwebs is that they’re often really hard to see, which is why it’s a good practice to periodically dust all the areas where they tend to form without regard to whether you think they’re there or not. I assure you, they’ll sudden become visible the moment some VIP houseguest appears at your door.
Hidden dust is offense number two, and it has lots of hiding places. Some are tough to reach, but many are just beyond your line of sight.
Ceiling fans are a primary culprit. Think of your ceiling fan blades as dust traps. A surprising amount of dust builds up on top of these, so attend to them frequently in order to reduce the amount of dust circulating in the air in your home. A simple dusting tool or even a broom or dust mop will remove the lion’s share of buildup from your fans.
Other areas to work into your dusting rotation:
- The top edge window treatments and wall hangings.
- Chair rails and baseboards often have an invisible line of dust on top.
- Ridges on doors.
- Leaves on plants.
- Under beds and other furniture.
- On top of kitchen cupboards if they don’t meet the ceiling.
- Sides of furniture and along any edges or ridges.
- Back side of televisions and other electronics.
- On top of books.
- On light fixtures.
- On top of medicine cabinets.
- Along the top edge of shower enclosures.
- Top edges of doors and door frames.
Offense number three is dirty finger and hand prints. Areas where they tend to turn up:
- Glass doors.
- Entry doors.
- Cabinet doors.
- Switch plates.
- Hand rails and banisters.
- Appliance handles.
- Glass tables.
Fingerprints can easily be eradicated with a damp cloth and application of a small amount of all-purpose cleaner or glass cleaner. Sometimes they’re invisible but you’ll feel their sticky residue.
Offense number four is sometimes almost completely invisible until you sit down on something covered in it wearing black pants: pet hair. If you have animals that shed, their fur is on your upholstered furniture. Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes not. So be sure to vacuum your sofa, chairs, upholstered ottomans and cushions, pillows on your upholstered furniture and anything else that pet hair sticks to. And don’t forget to once in a while vacuum under the sofa cushions, too.
While we’re on the topic of pets, offense number five is dog and cat nose and paw prints on glass doors and windows and window sills. If your dog likes to sit by your glass door and look outside, odds are he’ll leave some evidence on the glass. The same can be said for areas on windows next to which your cat perches to watch birds and squirrels frolicking outdoors.
Remember, just because you don’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. The best way to ensure that you’re never caught with an embarrassing mess under the dining room table in the middle of dinner is the two-pronged approach of maintaining a regular cleaning schedule that includes a rotation with attention to all areas in your home as well as honing your eye for detail.
Practice makes perfect. In time you’ll be quick to spot Spot’s doggie drool on the windowsill and the smudges left on the kitchen door frame by dirty little fingers. Cleaning pros notice this stuff because we’ve seen it all time and time again and because we do it every day. You can acquire the same skills, all it takes is practice.
Want more house cleaning tips and ideas? Check out my book Clean Like A Pro: Tips and Techniques for Cleaning Your Home Like a Seasoned Professional, available on Amazon.