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  4. 8 Places You Forget to Clean That You Should
  • 8 Things You Should Be Cleaning—but Probably Aren’t

    Don’t let these everyday items become hotbeds for germs and grime.

    Most paints give off volatile organic compounds (VOCs), harmful chemicals that evaporate into the air, both during and after painting.

    You probably have a typical cleaning routine: vacuum the living room carpet, dust the office bookshelves, mop the bathroom tile. Even if you’re relatively tidy, you may simply forget to clean some home items. From appliances to décor, here’s a checklist of things to scrub more often—and how to do it.

    • How to Clean: Washing machine

      When your clothes come out smelling as dirty as when they went in, it’s time to clean your washing machine. On the hottest-water and largest-load setting, run a cycle with three to four cups of white vinegar and half a cup of baking soda. Whether you have a top- or front-loading machine, keep the door open when not in use to prevent mildew and prolong freshness.

      How to Clean: Dishwasher

      Buildup from leftover food can prevent your dishwasher from performing optimally. After inspecting the drain for blockages, fill a dish or cup with white vinegar and run a high-heat cycle. This will loosen any stubborn particles and eliminate odors.

      How to Clean: Coffee maker

      Dull-tasting java can be the result of a machine caked with mineral buildup. A simple cleaning solution? Fill the water chamber with equal parts water and white vinegar, then start a brew cycle. Run two or three additional cycles with just water to ensure no traces of vinegar remain in your next cup of coffee.

      How to Clean: Cushion covers

      Does a cloud of particles shoot into the air every time you sit down on your couch? Dirt, dead skin and dust all take up residence in our cushion covers. If they’re removable and machine-washable (check the manufacturer’s tag, if available), toss them in a gentle cycle with cold water. Pull them out of the dryer (set on tumble dry) while still damp to prevent shrinkage.

      How to Clean: Lampshades

      Lampshades are magnets for dust and cobwebs, not to mention they yellow with age. To make them appear brand-new, first remove loose particles with a microfiber cloth, lint roller or vacuum. Then soak in a tub filled with warm, soapy water, scrub any stains away and gently rinse.

      How to Clean: Doorknobs, light switches and TV remotes

      These are some of the most-touched items in your home, yet they probably aren’t getting the cleaning attention they deserve. At least every two weeks, wipe down doorknobs, light switches and TV remotes with a disinfectant-soaked rag.