10 Things You Should Clean in the Spring (but Probably Don’t)

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You love to keep your house clean.

And even if some call it old-school, spring cleaning gives you a chance to really sanitize your house, just like Mom might have done.

But chances are you have some household items Mom didn’t have when you were growing up. And chances are good you forget to clean them.

Consider these 10 often overlooked items and the best way to deal with them as you do your spring cleaning.

1. Reusable grocery bags

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Those grocery bags you consistently use for meat, seafood, vegetables, milk and more could be filled with bacteria, mold and yeast. That’s true even if you follow the recommendation of using separate bags for similar foods. Examine the bags and look for cleaning instructions, recommends the American Cleaning Institute. At the very least, wipe out insulated bags with disinfecting cloths (especially along the seams) and discard bags that are worn or dirty. Tip: Don’t store those bags in the trunk. The warm, dark environment promotes the growth of bacteria, notes the ACI.

2. Window tracks

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Dirt, bugs and more collect on your windowsills and window tracks. Before wiping them down with window cleaner, vacuum up all the dust and debris you can. If your vacuum hose attachment is too wide to fit in the track, try this trick: Fit an empty toilet paper roll over the end of the hose and run it along the edges and into those hard-to-reach spots, recommends Good Housekeeping.

3. The walls

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Yes, you vacuum and scrub the floors, but your walls collect dust and dirt too. Run a dust mop along them or vacuum with a soft brush attachment. Tackle tough stains by washing them. Walls painted with latex paint should be washed with warm water and non-abrasive all-purpose cleaner, according to Better Homes and Gardens. Walls covered with oil-based paint should be washed with a mixture of 1 teaspoon of liquid dish detergent and ¼ teaspoon of white vinegar in a quart of warm water. Let the solution sit on the stain for 10 minutes and then blot, suggests BHG.

4. Window screens

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Yes, you should spray down the screens. That gets rid of the bugs, dust and debris. But you can go a step beyond by taking a scrap of carpeting and rubbing it across the screens, recommends HGTV magazine. The carpeting makes a “powerful brush that removes all dirt,” the magazine notes.

5. Grout

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Light-colored grout is easily stained and doesn’t seem to come clean no matter how hard you scrub. However, mild stains can be removed with a solution of half vinegar and half warm water. Put the solution into a spray bottle. Apply it to the grout and let it stand five minutes, recommends Bob Vila, the host of “This Old House.” Then take a stiff brush (such as a toothbrush) and scrub the grout.

6. Garbage disposal

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Sure you run hot water down the garbage disposal and routinely grind up all the garbage that goes in there (and if you don’t, do!). But don’t forget to occasionally grind up ice or citrus peels to clean the blades and remove odor, recommends Good Housekeeping.

7. TV remote

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You grab the remote control when you’re watching TV, eating snacks, cooking dinner and all other times — so it’s understandably dirty. Of course you want to wipe it off regularly using a sponge and cleaner. But go beyond that. Remotes are made differently, but they are all cleaned in basically the same way, according to Men’s Journal. The magazine recommends removing the battery and disassembling the two halves. Dip a toothbrush in warm, soapy water and clean the rubber keypad. To clean the reverse side of the keypad (it has the contacts that connect in the charger) and the surface of the circuit board, use cotton swabs dipped in isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Dry the entire remote with a microfiber cloth. Make sure the remote is completely dry before you reassemble it.

8. Appliance tops

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Dirt, dust and grease collect on the refrigerator and cabinets, and not just where you can easily see it. After you clean the front, grab a footstool and climb up with paper towels and cleaner. Scrub the tops with warm water and soap or cleaner. It will make your whole kitchen fresher.

9. Mattresses

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Dust, hair, skin cells and more collect on your mattress. Use the upholstery tool on your vacuum to clean it, recommends Good Housekeeping. Press the vacuum tool firmly on the mattress especially along the sides and seams. Tip: If possible, to remove more dust and dirt, use a garment steamer before vacuuming, GH recommends.

10. Oven racks

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If you have a self-cleaning oven, you pay a price — the mechanism harms the racks over time, Bob Vila says. You can help prevent that damage by cleaning the racks independently. Let them soak in soapy water overnight, and in the morning scrub, rinse and dry the racks.

If you want a truly clean house, take your spring cleaning to the next level with these ideas. Investing the time now will make cleaning easier through the rest of the season.

What do you include in your spring cleaning? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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