Whether they're located high or low, vents sit off most homeowners' cleaning radar. It's worth bringing them into the fold with regular cleanings, though, because your home's air often passes through them before you breathe it. (For the record, it's wise to have your ducts cleaned every five years, too.)
Where is the dirt hiding in your kitchen? Find out and how to get them clean.
Those in the bathroom and dining room seem to be the most commonly overlooked, ranking them right up there with the top offender: ceiling fans. "The fixture that we rely on to mix up our stale air is also one of the heaviest dust collectors and is often ignored," says Jill Roth of Magic Mops Housecleaning.
That band of wood running along the base of your walls works as a mini landing strip for dust. Accumulation tends to be highest in the areas of your home that see either the most traffic, such as the entry, or the least, such as behind beds and in the closet.
Many homeowners forget to give their doors any cleaning love. Most neglected: The well-used knobs, the ledges created by indented panels, and the entire side that opens to the wall. "I've found that almost no one ever notices the dust collecting behind their doors," UpperCrust Maids co-owner Cathy Green says.
We wash the sheets but not the bed skirt, says Mary Findley of GoClean.com, a former pro cleaner and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Cleaning. The poor mattress, too, rarely sees the business end of a vacuum. And then there's the bed frame itself. "Dust and dust mites build up and cause all kinds of allergy issues where we sleep," Findley says.
Many among us find it's easier to pretend dirt doesn't exist than to grab a stepstool. "When we clean the top of the refrigerator, we'll often see a swipe mark toward the front, but mounds of dust and grime covering the rest of it," says Kate Buehler, co-owner of Golden Maid Services.
It doesn't matter if they're made of fabric, plastic, or wood -- that unified collection of flat surfaces draws dust, yet seems to repel the duster. (FYI: Most home stores carry a specialized, inexpensive blind-dusting tool that makes the job as simple as wiping off a countertop.)
While cleaning the entryway is a no-brainer, the door that most people actually use often holds an impressive, longstanding collection of fingerprints and boot marks. You look at it so often, you don't really see it. "It's in one of the most visible, high-traffic places, but it's often the most neglected," says Magic Mops' Roth.
Food particles cling to the rubber splashguard, the blades, and the disposal wall, which harbor bacteria, says Findley of GoClean.com. Even the cleanest kitchen doesn't feel that way with the smell of decaying food coming from the sink.