5 Forgotten Places
a Man Should Clean
Don’t wait for spring to start cleaning
After more than two years of living and working at home more than ever, our interiors are definitely more utilized these days. Which means they could probably use a good scrubbing. And while the CDC has long since updated its guidance on disinfecting everyday household surfaces, one good thing the pandemic taught us was the importance of keeping things clean. You'll no doubt tackle the big stuff around the house, but there are several often-overlooked areas that could use your attention too. The good news is that you don't need a lot of specialty cleansers or tools to tackle these areas—a simple cleaning spray of your choice and a few rags will be fine. Give your home a thorough cleaning and you'll find there's an added level of contentment when you relax. Plus, whenever you invite people over, your sparkling and fresh-smelling place serves as a gentle reminder that you're a gentleman who takes care of himself and his things.
Cleaning your vents at the start of each season will help promote a stronger airflow—with cleaner air to prevent allergies from acting up as well. Use a vacuum (or a can of compressed air) to remove the outer layer of dust. Then remove the vent register or grate and use a wet cloth to wipe down the outside. Wrap the cloth around a butter knife to get in between the vents to clean out any dust. If you have multiple vent registers, you can also fill the sink with warm soapy water and submerge them all at once to help loosen the grime. Repeat this with all of your vents—from air conditioners to exhaust vents in the bathroom and kitchen.
The Top of ...
Everything. When you look at the top of anything—your TV, your refrigerator, bathroom light fixtures—you're likely going to find a surprising layer of dust. The same can be said for hard-to-reach areas like kitchen cabinets, ceiling fan blades, door frames, bookcases and anything else tall that can go months without ever seeing a dust rag. Your mother probably has a special duster with an expandable arm, designed just for this task. But really, a damp rag and a step stool is all you need.
You wash your clothes regularly, and you vacuum your rugs. Maybe you even vacuum your furniture with that special attachment. But other fabric items require cleaning to prevent them from becoming allergen magnets. That means curtains, and the accent pillows on your sofa, as well as throw blankets and pet beds. These trap dust, dander and other allergens if not cleaned seasonally. Be sure to check the manufacturer's recommendations on the best way to clean these items.
If you notice a particular smell when you vacuum, or feel like it doesn't pick up as much as it used to, then it's time to clean your vacuum's canister and filter. According to Merry Maids, canisters can be washed in the sink using warm soapy water. First, disconnect the canister from the vacuum cleaner, wiping it inside and out with a dry cloth. Then wash it out with soap, letting the canister dry completely before reattaching it. Check to see if the filter on your vacuum is disposable or washable. For washable filters, remove dust and debris from it by tapping the filter against a hard surface over a trash can. Rinse it thoroughly with water (soap typically isn't recommended) and then let it dry completely overnight before reinstalling.
& Recycling Cans
Here's a hard truth: Your trash cans are disgusting. So are everyone else's. The one in the bathroom gets dried floss (and who knows what else) stuck to the inside. The one in the kitchen has remnants of old takeout around the lid and your recycling bin no doubt has spills dried on the bottom. That can leave a rancid smell that's tough to shake. Wash the sides and insides using an all-purpose, disinfecting cleaner. Let it dry out completely before putting in a new bag.
Clutter usually starts out with good intentions—clothes you might wear, papers on your desk you’ll get to later—but it affects us more than we realize. Here’s how to clear the clutter in your life.