There is so much in your home that requires cleaning and sanitizing, and you’ve only scratched the surface. As much as you think you’ve covered everything in your home, there are some sneaky items and areas you can easily overlook.

Even when you’re a perfectionist and keep cleaning schedules, it is not uncommon to miss certain areas. Although it seems like extra items on your cleaning list, you can sigh with relief knowing that most only require occasional attention. If you’re ready to see what they are, let’s get into the 14 things you forget when cleaning and sanitizing.

5 Importance of Cleaning and Sanitizing

Aside from obvious health reasons, cleaning and sanitizing agents in your home improve freshness and overall appearance.

○ Cleaning sessions can be therapeutic. A mess-free home will make you feel more relaxed and ready to have productive days.

○ Sanitizing your home reduces the risk of encountering disease-causing microbes, thus, providing a healthier living environment. It also helps reduce contact with allergens, such as mold spores and pet dander.

○ Reduces the chance of unwanted smells.

○ Allows you to regularly get rid of items in your home that you no longer need.

○ Improves comfort in your home.

Things You Forget to Clean and Sanitize

So, which item must be cleaned and sanitized? Here is the list you’ve been waiting for or perhaps dreading…

1. The Gap Between Stove and Counter

If you don’t have gap covers, let’s say you have a surprise waiting for you. When cooking, food is likely to get into that space and accumulate over time. Therefore, you’re probably ignoring that area if you don’t usually move your stove for cleaning purposes.

Although moving the stove can feel time-consuming, adding it to your to-do list on deep-cleaning days ensures you target everything.

cleaning and sanitizing the stove

2. Dishwasher Filter

Most dishwasher models are not self-cleaning, so you’ll need to clean some compartments by hand.

The filter should be in clear view when you remove the bottom rack of your dishwasher. Cleaning your filter ensures your dishes are properly cleaned and prevents unwanted odors in your dishwasher.

3. Pillows

Pillows are heaven-sent for great support while sleeping but carry many bacteria. Although you protect your pillows with pillowcases, they are still not immune to germs. This is not surprising because you use them daily. You’ll be happy to know that most pillows can be cleaned in the washing machine. In-between use, consider refreshing with a sanitizing agent.

4. Air Ducts

Happen to smell a musty odor in your home? This might be mold from your air ducts, and you should clean it as soon as possible. Air ducts are not something to add to your routine cleaning schedule, but there are circumstances in which you should clean them. The EPA only recommends duct cleaning when experiencing excessive debris, vermin infestation, and mold growth in your cooling & heating systems.

5. Ceiling Fans

Ignoring this area of your home can cause respiratory problems and allergy flares. Ceiling fans can accumulate dust and debris, causing these pathogens to disperse into your breathing air.

The accumulation of dirt on the blades also prevents the adequate function of your ceiling fan. Clean your ceiling fans regularly. Additionally, your ceiling fan’s pull chain and motor parts should not be omitted during your cleaning process.

Frequently dust and wipe your blades. Use a cloth with your preferred cleaning solution to wipe the blades and surrounding parts.

cleaning and sanitizing ceiling fan

6. Refrigerator Coils

You’re probably already deep cleaning your crisper drawers and refrigerator shelves, but you’re missing something. While some refrigerator coils are on the back, others can be on the bottom of your appliance. No wonder it goes unnoticed.

Cleaning your refrigerator coils helps it run smoothly, so you’re saving on your energy bills and increasing the lifespan of your refrigerator parts.

7. Outside Doorknob/Handles

This is one of the most touched areas of your home and sometimes even by guests that visit your home. Bacteria and foreign dust particles are likely to accumulate on this surface. While the interior doorknobs are easier to access, don’t forget about the ones on the exterior of your home.

Contact transmission of frequently transmitted microorganisms can result due to improper cleaning or lack of sanitization of doorknobs.

First, eliminate the dirt with warm water and soap. Follow up with a sanitizing solution or disinfecting wipes. Ensure it is not harsh on the material of your doorknobs to avoid damaging its integrity.

8. Plants

Houseplants are not something that crosses your mind when doing your cleaning, but they can accumulate dust. Periodically, dust and wipe with a damp cloth. Doing this improves sunlight absorption, so your plants can grow fully. If artificial plants are in your home, you should also clean them regularly, as they can collect dust and grime.

cleaning houseplant leaves

9. The Slit Between the Toilet Base and the Floor

Depending on the installation, you may have a toilet-floor gap. Sometimes, it isn’t as noticeable until you get closer. Most people leave it alone if there are no stability issues. If you have this, you should be cleaning that area when you clean your bathroom. There is a high chance of fluid, such as urine, making its way down there, which increases the likelihood of smells in your bathroom.

10. Trash Cans

Frequently changing your trash bags is a great habit to develop, but so is cleaning the trash can. Because spills can happen within your trash can, cleaning and sanitizing them effectively is important.

Make it a habit of regularly cleaning the exterior of your trash and lid with disinfecting wipes. Clean your trash can’s interior with warm water and dish soap. You can let it soak in your preferred sanitizing solution after cleaning. After drying, place some dryer sheets at the bottom of your trash to preserve freshness longer.

11. Toilet Brush and Holder

You need to clean these items. Although it will be used again, it harbors a lot of germs. Stop treating it like the black sheep of your bathroom cleaning essentials.

Spray some disinfecting spray onto your brush and let it soak in hot water within the holder for preferably an hour. Wipe the brush handle with some disinfecting wipes. Clean your toilet holder with some bleach. Let both items thoroughly dry before placing the brush back into the holder.

12. Shower Curtains

Mold and mildew can easily grow on your shower curtains because of their constant contact with water. To prevent this, you should frequently wash your curtains.

Your cloth and plastic shower curtains can be thoroughly cleaned in your washing machine or by hand. Read the label to ensure your specific cloth is machine washable. Add some baking soda and drops of peppermint oil for some deodorizing and scent-boosting effects.

13. Mats and Rugs

Some people own washable mats and rugs, which makes them easier to maintain. In this case, ensure they are completely dry after washing to avoid moisture retention, which can cause mold growth.

Depending on the area of the home you keep your rugs and mats, they can encounter stains and can also hide some food crumbs. Additionally, dirt tracked from your feet could be dragged onto these decorative pieces in your home. Vacuum regularly and frequently shake off your rugs & mats to remove debris.

vacuuming rug

14. Washing Machines

Regular cleaning of this appliance can prevent mildew and mold formation, which can occur because of the moist nature of your washing machine. By cleaning your washing machine, you also get rid of detergent residue likely to stain your clothes on subsequent washing cycles.

Check your manufacturer’s instructions to ensure you employ proper cleaning strategies for your specific washing machine. Some washers may have options for self-cleaning cycles. Also, don’t forget to clean the exterior of your machine.


With so much to clean in the home, there is a chance that some areas go unnoticed. It is not too late to start if you have not been dedicating your cleaning days to these items or areas.

For those who don’t enjoy cleaning, adding these new things to your to-do list can be a headache. Consider incorporating some fun into it. Light your favorite candle, listen to your new playlist, tune into that podcast you did not have time for during your busy week, or get lost in happy thoughts. It can also be motivational to remember all the benefits of cleaning and sanitizing