Spring Cleaning

You Can Make Your Living Room Feel Cleaner in Just 15 Minutes

published Mar 26, 2021
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

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I’m sorry to tell you that the reason your home gets dirty is unfortunately, you. (And whatever people and pets that you live with.) Any area of your home that’s unclean is because you cooked there, or worked there, or just lived there. And the more time you spend in a space, the dirtier that space gets.

Nowhere is that relationship more apparent than your light switches and door handles. The more you reach for them, the dirtier they get. And you probably reach for them a lot. They get smudgy and dirty right under your nose — and by just giving each of these surfaces a quick wipe and scrub, you’ll notice an immediate impact in how clean your living area looks and feels.

Cleaning pros like to call these high-touch surfaces, and they should be cleaned (and disinfected!) on a routine schedule.

If it’s been a while since you’ve targeted your doors, door handles, and light switches for cleaning, that’s OK — we’ll make sure today is the day they get cleaned! On the other hand, if you’re on top of your high-touch cleaning, think of today as a moment to go a little deeper.

Here’s what I mean…

Credit: Grace Cary/Getty Images

Day 12: Clean doors, door handles, and light switches in the living room.

There are three steps to this workflow today: clean, deep clean, then disinfect.

First, we’ll clean: Grab an all-purpose cleaner and a cleaning cloth and walk around your living room. When you see a door, spray and clean the surface of the door top to bottom, then clean around the door handle area by spraying your rag and wiping all around the doorknob or handle. When you come upon a light switch, lightly spray your rag and wipe it down. Make a note of any areas that need a deeper clean for the next step. The initial cleaning should be quick, so it’s OK to move fast.

Next, deep clean: You might have come upon areas that need more attention. For this step, you’ll want something abrasive, like a magic sponge, scrubby sponge, or powdered cleaner. Go back to the dirtiest spots and scrub away at any stubborn dirt that was left behind. (I always have to use a magic sponge on the surface of my front door near the handle.)

Lastly, disinfect: Cleaning and disinfecting are two different things, so even if you used an antibacterial cleaner, come back for another pass with a disinfectant. Take your disinfecting wipe or spray and apply as directed to the doorknobs, handles, and light switches around your living area. (It’s important to follow the directions on the disinfectant to ensure it’s able to work as promised.)

If you feel like your living-room-proper doesn’t have enough doors or switches to make a difference, then feel free to expand this assignment to other areas of your home (or often-touched items like the remote control). Don’t get too caught up in the “what” and the “where” of the assignment here: The goal is to make an impact by cleaning dirt and smudges from the spots in your home that get touched many times a day.

Taryn's Tips

Deadbolts, light switches, and face plates can have intricate details and labels. Use a toothpick to dig and get those crevices clean.

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