For as much as we tidy up around our homes, how often are we really giving our place a good old-fashioned deep clean?
We called on housecleaning expert Jennifer Gregory, Brand Manager of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company, for suggestions on what tasks you should absolutely cover to consider your clean a truly thorough one. From wiping down ceiling fans to sanitizing your garbage can, here are nine things a pro-housecleaner says make a deep clean, well, deep—and how often you should do each one.
1. Clean Your Faucets
Gregory suggests you should "de-scale faucets and showerheads throughout the home with vinegar monthly, if necessary, or at least every other month." You can try the lazy plastic bag trick, or dig in with a brush, as Gregory recommends, to get a really thorough clean: "Clean out aerators by removing the aerator carefully to avoid damage and disassemble. Use an old toothbrush and water to gently scrub parts, being careful not to bend the screens. Reassemble and reinstall when complete."
2. Wipe Down Ceiling Fans
Your ceiling fans don't get a lot of attention, but they're an important part of a deep clean, according to Gregory. "Wipe down ceiling fan blades after turning the fan off and using a pillowcase to ensure the dust and debris is contained as each blade is wiped clean," she says. "Do this twice a year, ideally in the summer and winter—or more frequently if your place gets dusty often."
3. Clean Out Cabinets and Drawers
A deep clean means getting literally deep into your storage areas. "Empty cabinets and drawers throughout your home one at a time and give them a vacuum and wipe with a clean wet rag or your favorite cleaning spray," Gregory says. "Wipe down all cabinet faces as well. Do this at least monthly, especially in your kitchen where food particles can quickly accumulate."
4. Sanitize Garbage Cans
Washing your waste receptacles is an easy task to add to any deep clean, with Gregory's method: "Wipe out and sanitize garbage cans, recycling bins, and wastebaskets. Take it outside, squirt dishwashing detergent inside the can and let the power of your hose provide the elbow grease. Do this task annually, maybe during spring cleaning, and as needed."
5. Wipe Down Electronics
"This is a great seasonal habit to do four times a year, or more if your household is plagued by colds and flu," Gregory advises. "Clean keyboards with canned air and disinfect between keys with a cotton swab dipped in cleaning solution or rubbing alcohol. Use a microfiber cloth with plain water or a small amount of cleaning solution and wipe the computer mouse, phone, tablets, and remote controls." And don't forget to clean your computer screens.
6. Clean out the Refrigerator and Freezer
It's a process, but Gregory recommends you need to tackle this important task often: "Twice a year, go through the process of unplugging and defrosting your freezer—or when the frost accumulates to a half-inch thick," she says. "Don't forget the rubber gasket around the door seals; clean these with warm soapy water and then disinfect. Use this time to throw away expired items. Don't forget the drip pan and the interior shelves, drawers and walls of the fridge and freezer. While unplugged, use a vacuum cleaner attachment and a long-handled brush to clean the dust and dirt from condenser coils in the bottom grille and kick plate."
7. Scrub Down Your Stovetop
Your range is a regular focus of everyday surface cleaning, but depending on how often you use it, Gregory suggests you target this area more often. "Remove the pot grates from the stovetop and soak in hot soapy water once a month if you cook a lot. If you have an electric oven, you can remove or unplug the coils to make cleaning easier," she advises. "Some ovens and cooktops have a slide-out tray beneath the burners to catch food—don't forget this! Scrub down all surfaces and control knobs with a soapy sponge and then a clean wet rag. Don't forget the hood fan and the hood fan filter."
8. Deep Clean Your Dishwasher
Yes, you have to clean this cleaner. Gregory's method is simple: "Use baking soda and vinegar to clean your dishwasher to remove soap residue and build up that accumulates over time. Just run it empty with a cup of vinegar and ½ cup baking soda. This cycle can be done during your annual spring-cleaning routine, or to prep for the busy holiday season in the fall. Of course, you can do it more often, if needed."
9. Don't Forget the Grout
"White grout can really brighten the appearance of a bathroom," Gregory says. "Use this simple DIY grout cleaning technique of one part bleach to 10 parts water and let the solution sit for five minutes before scrubbing, rinsing, and wiping clean. Tackle this deep cleaning task at least twice a year—or more if necessary. Also, consider investing in a bathroom vent and run it during each shower or bath to reduce humidity and moldy buildup."