3 Things You Need to Know How to Clean Before You Can Call Yourself an Adult

published Aug 20, 2020
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By the time you hit your mid-20s, you’ve learned to clean the basics. You might own a broom and a vacuum, and can force yourself to scrub the bathroom to an acceptable level of cleanliness. Along with basic bathroom cleaning, sweeping, and taking care of any day-to-day messes, most adults can keep their homes looking tidy enough.

But in the course of living your life and achieving a clean home, it’s easy to forget about the nooks and crannies that get dirty. And yet, these are the things that guests sometimes notice first. Though it might be annoying when your mom comes over and comments on the dust on a bookshelf or baseboard, we thought it might be a little easier to hear from actual household maintenance experts.

So if you’re looking to level up your cleaning expertise, we asked for advice from the pros: What are the things at home that every adult should know how to clean?

Whether you’re looking to keep your home as clean as humanly possible, or you get anxious at the idea of a guest noticing a less-than-perfect corner of your home, here are three things that you should learn how to clean ASAP.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

1. Baseboards

Raise your hand if you’ve never cleaned a baseboard in your entire life (*slowly raises hand*). Raise your hand if you have no idea how to clean baseboards (*raises hand again*). Cleaning the baseboards of your home might seem painfully tedious, but according to Allison Evans, co-founder of non-toxic cleaning supplies company Branch Basics, it’s necessary.

“Many adults don’t clean the tops of baseboards, and it’s so important since dust collects there and chemicals ride on dust,” Evans says. “Plus, a dirty baseboard just looks gross and is a giveaway that you don’t deep clean your space.”

If you’re looking for some guidance on how, exactly, to make those baseboards sparkle, there are several baseboard-cleaning methods you can try: Magic Erasers, dryer sheets, even just good old fashioned elbow grease with a rag and cotton swabs. But no matter what, you should get ready to spend a lot of time squatting. Hey, there are worse ways to spend a Saturday than getting in a glutes workout while deep cleaning.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

2. Buildup in the Shower

Showers are often hidden behind curtains and doors, making it oh so easy to forget about cleaning every part of them. But they are also one of the first places that limescale can show up, either on the tile inside the shower or its glass door. As Brad Roberson, president of Glass Doctor, a Neighborly company, explains limescale is a “hard, crusty deposit that ranges in color from white to green.” If your home has hard water, it’s even more common. “It clings to glass, tiles, and fixtures,” Roberson says, explaining how when the water evaporates, the limescale remains, coating surfaces. If there’s one thing most of us can agree on, it’s that a crusty shower sounds… not great.

According to Roberson, the trick to removing a buildup of limescale is to cut through the minerals without anything too abrasive. His method involves using hot white vinegar (you can boil it on the stovetop) and paper towels:

  1. Wearing gloves, dip paper towels into the hot vinegar and stick them to the glass. The slightly acidic nature of vinegar allows it to soak into and loosen the mineral deposits.
  2. Let the vinegar sit for 30 to 60 minutes, then remove the paper towels. To keep the glass wet during this time, spray the paper towels occasionally with vinegar from a spray bottle.
  3. Sprinkle a damp rag or sponge with a generous amount of baking soda, and wipe down the shower door gently. Avoid vigorous scrubbing, which could scratch the shower door.
  4. Pour distilled water over the glass to rinse off the vinegar and baking soda. If limescale remains, repeat the baking soda scrub until all buildup has been removed.
Credit: Rikki Snyder

3. Ceiling Fans 

If you like a cool breeze or some white noise at night, it’s hard to imagine your life without a fan. But it’s also hard to reach it—and therefore pretty hard to clean the blades. But you’ve gotta do it. 

Mary Hromadka, brand manager Aire Serv, a Neighborly company, says that whether you’re actively using your ceiling fan or not, you should be aware that dust will accumulate on the blades. And when you do turn on the fan, the dust will swirl around the room. All in all, this isn’t ideal for cleanliness. Hromadka recommends cleaning the blades of a ceiling fan as often as weekly during the hotter months of the year. 

“To clean the blades, safely reach up with a microfiber duster (extendable ones are available if you’re unable to get on a ladder or stool) to remove the loose dirt particles lingering on the blade. If you notice the blades need a deeper cleaning, wet a microfiber towel and wipe the blades down,” Hromadka says. “Repeat this action with a dry towel to remove any remaining dirt. Lastly and if you haven’t already done so, make sure your ceiling fans are rotating in the right direction.” Counterclockwise helps keep you cool in the summer, while clockwise spinning is better for pulling hot air off of you in the winter.

If you now feel ready to take an entire weekend to deep clean your home from your baseboards to your fans, you’re not alone. Even though it can be tedious and time consuming, keeping your home clean is a great way to help you feel your best, both mentally and physically. So it’s worth putting the energy into—whether you consider yourself an expert housecleaner or not.