It’s spring cleaning time again! My favorite time of year! Ok, not the cleaning part, of course, but I am pretty excited about the spring part. Although I must admit, I do love when the cleaning part is all done and everything is nice and fresh and dust-dirt-grime-free! But there are some household items you just might be neglecting, so I’ve put together a little checklist for you so you can be sure your entire house and everything in it gets a thorough scrubbing!

The first thing on the list….

1.) Your top-loading washing machine  Some of you might think that since this appliance regularly has a whole lot of sudsy water constantly running through it, it should be pretty clean, right? Well, not necessarily. In fact, everything that has water running through it on a regular basis definitely gets build-up that needs to be cleaned and flushed out of all the pieces-parts.

Start by filling the washtub with hot water but instead of detergent, add 4 to 5 cups of white distilled vinegar. Close the lid, turn the machine to the normal wash cycle and let it agitate for a few minutes. Then you want to add 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda and let it run again for a few more minutes. Next, turn the machine off, open the lid and let it soak for at least an hour.

In the meantime, put your best rubber gloves on, dip a cleaning cloth into the vinegar mixture and wipe down the entire machine. Remember to really get into all the little nooks and crannies around and inside the lid. You might need to take a toothbrush to clean in and around your detergent and fabric softener dispensers.  Also, don’t forget to clean the top part of the wash drum, the whole area south of the lid and north of the water line. (While you’re at it, use the vinegar water to wipe down your entire clothes dryer. Give the lint trap a thorough wiping, too, and you can even use the hose attachment on your vacuum cleaner to really get all the lint from around the lint trap opening)

Once the entire washing machine is sparkling clean, it’s time to turn it back on and let it run the rest of the way through the normal wash cycle.

I repeat this entire process about every 6 months since I live alone, but if you have a family and do more than a few loads a week, you’ll probably want to do it every 3 to 4 months.

**I’ve provided instructions for a top-loading machine because that’s all I’ve ever used. If you have a front-loading machine, you can hop on over to (one of my favorite sites!) and learn how to give your front-loader a thorough cleaning.

2.) Dishwasher   This appliance needs the same kind of attention and thorough cleaning as your clothes washer.  After wiping down the outside, you can clean the inside by filling a dishwasher-safe container with the white vinegar and a few drops of lemon oil, then place it in the top rack of the machine. Sprinkle about a half cup of baking soda in the bottom, close the door, and run it through an entire hot-water cycle.

3.) Brooms and mops   This one might seem kind of obvious, but maybe not to everybody! So I thought I would include it. Every time I use my broom and dustpan, I like to take both of them outside and clean the broom bristles (is that the right word?) on the little cleaner doo-hickey located along the side of most dustpans:


But also, every few months, gather all the brooms, dustpans and mops in the house and give them a good soak. All you need to do is fill your sink with another water/vinegar/baking soda mixture (I also like to add a few drops of dish soap), stand all your tools up with the bristles in the water and let them soak for a good while, probably about half and hour. Then you can put your rubber gloves on and use your hands to really work the cleaning solution through all the bristles and mopheads, rinse thoroughly and let air dry.

8 Household Items You Probably Aren’t Cleaning (but should be!)

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