Weekend Projects

One Thing (Right Under Your Feet!) That You’ve Probably Never Cleaned Before

published Mar 5, 2021
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Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you’ve always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.

I love finding new things to clean. I realize that sounds sarcastic but I really mean it! Having my eyes opened to a new (maybe a little horrifying) mess is certainly humbling, but taking care of it satisfies me to my clean freak core. It’s like my very own before and after, like the ones I love to watch on Instagram and TikTok.

This weekend, let’s clean one of these often-forgotten things. Get your cleaning supplies ready because you’re turning your attention to one item (you might have a few of them) in your home that you quite possibly have never cleaned before: your step stools!

In our house, we have step stools for our children in two of our bathrooms as well as one in our laundry room, one in our pantry, and another in the garage. I’m short, so I use them regularly to reach things that are stored up high. We also use them when our kids are helping us cook as well as for reaching the sink when they wash their hands and brush their teeth.

Between dripping toothpaste water, pancake batter splatters, and the general build-up of the dirt that’s tracked around on our feet and shoes, step stools can get pretty dirty. We rarely take a closer look at them because we’re preoccupied when we reach for and step on them, and put them away. But they are dirtier than you think.

Credit: Scott-lee/Shutterstock

This Weekend: Clean your step stools.

First, gather all your step stools from around the house and put them in one area. If weather permits, take them outside to clean.

Next, collect your cleaning supplies and tools. A microfiber cloth and a solution of dish soap and warm water might be enough. You might also choose to use an all-purpose cleaning spray and a scrub brush. For scuffs, which especially show on white plastic stools like the IKEA ones we have, a Magic Eraser or a scrub cloth and a bit of Bar Keeper’s Friend might be necesssary.

Once you’re done loosening and scrubbing away years of caked-on dirt, it’s time to rinse. Use a rag with clean water, or if you’re outside, hose them down. Let them dry completely before you put them away. Jump-start the process by toweling them off, or leave them out to dry, and get even cleaner, in the sun.

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You can catch up with weekend projects right here. Share your progress with us and others by posting updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #atweekendproject.

Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.