Admit it: It's easy to get a little "Judge Judy" inside someone else's home. We notice gunk on the floor, cobwebs in the corners, and dust on the overhead fan. But guess what? You've probably got some gunky places that your friends notice, but you don't. (Sad trombone.)
This is why we tracked down a domestic guru to help us with this article. No matter how hard it is to find dirt hideaways on your own, a little expert advice can make it alllll OK. Jan M. Dougherty, author of "The Lost Art of House Cleaning: A Clean House Is a Happy Home," revealed the seven spots you're likely to miss — and the best ways to make them presentable, stat:
#1 Light Fixtures
Look up. Your light fixtures are loaded with dust and dead bugs.
Take them down, spritz with a cleaning solution, and wipe clean. Dougherty uses a solution of five parts water and one part Krud Kutter, a non-toxic odorless all-purpose product. (Handy tip: When making the Krud Kutter solution, put the water in first. “Otherwise it'll bubble over," she says.)
#2 Toilet Body
You probably clean your tank fairly often, but what about all the bits and pieces that surround the tank, and the floor itself?
For porcelain thrones, Dougherty recommends Soft Scrub with bleach to clean the minuscule cracks that form in the glaze over time. For any non-porcelain parts, she says vinegar will do. Start with the top of the tank and spray all the way around — the lid, under the lid, the seat, down to and on the surrounding floor, and even the walls behind the toilet.
#3 Dust Collectors
The TV mount, picture frames, computer printer, keyboards, and remotes are great dust collectors. Use a microfiber rag that you've sprayed lightly with vinegar to banish it all. Vinegar isn't electrostatically charged, so dust will take longer to return to that spot.
#4 Drawer Organizers
Crumbs and dirt love those little compartments. Suck them up with a handy vac, or spray with vinegar and wipe away with a rag.
Don't wait until the crumbs are three inches deep and have taken root in the drawer. If that's the case, break it down and clean with the Krud Kutter solution.
#5 Ice Maker
Old ice absorbs food odors, so it's a good idea to clean and sanitize the whole system every once in a while. Stop the machine from making more ice, pull out the ice bin, and dump the ice.
Wash the bin and ice maker with vinegar, or put the bin in the dishwasher if your manual says it's safe to do so. Wipe the ice maker with a dry rag to remove moisture.
#6 Appliance Handles
You touch them so many times every day. And you never think about it. Spray them all down with the Krud Kutter mix and then wipe.
"One night a week, I take the knobs off the stove, remove the dish and the grease screen from the [over-the-range] microwave, and take the bowl with utensils that sits next to my stove and put them all in the dishwasher," Dougherty says.
"Do this before bed and by the morning you've cleaned half your kitchen, yet touched nothing."
#7 Glass and Mirrors
Dougherty washes dull, smudged glass and mirrors with straight vinegar. Be aware that if you've been using commercial cleaners it may take "four, five, six, maybe seven cleanings with vinegar to get all the wax off the glass," she says.
Bonus tip: "When you go into a room to clean you shouldn't have to think. You should be able to turn up the music and rock and roll your way around the room," Dougherty says. She uses a method she calls “The Path" — start in one corner, progress around the perimeter, and then head to the middle. Clean everything in your path as you go around the room.