Maintaining a clean house is important if you care about health, hygiene, or general comfort. Most of us commit to at least some regular cleaning, usually spending at least one session a week hitting the high points. We consistently wipe down our kitchen counters, clean up the bathroom, and address any messes or spills we might have missed initially.

However, this weekly cleaning regimen isn’t quite enough to make sure your house remains clean and healthy. Most of us have several neglected household cleaning tasks – and it’s important to recognize and address them routinely.

The Dangers of Neglected Cleaning Tasks

Why is this so important? Does anyone really care whether there’s dust behind your refrigerator?

The real answer is that your neglected cleaning tasks can lead to both health complications and property deterioration, if left to develop long enough. For example, in environments with high levels of moisture (like bathrooms and kitchens), a lack of regular cleaning could lead to the development of mold and/or mildew. Not all species of mold and mildew are directly harmful to humans, but if you allow a harmful species to propagate, it could cause severe health complications. On top of that, if anyone in your household is allergic to mold or mildew, they may experience debilitating symptoms once exposed to it.

Also, some types of neglected cleaning can eventually lead to damage. For example, if you refuse to regularly clean your appliances, it could eventually impair their ability to operate efficiently, and shorten their lifespan.

The Most Neglected Household Cleaning Tasks

These are some of the most commonly neglected household cleaning tasks:

·       Baseboards and corners. When was the last time you cleaned the baseboards? Have you ever dusted the corners of your ceilings and floors? Do you remember ever cleaning the dusty area behind the toilet? These nooks and crannies need your occasional attention.

·       Behind and under appliances. Similarly, appliances tend to generate dust and debris underneath and behind them. It’s especially important to clean around appliances that need proper ventilation, like refrigerators.

·       The shower curtain. Your shower curtain is probably nasty. Sometimes, a simple wipe-down will suffice to clean it. Other times, it’s better to fully replace it.

·       Blinds and curtains. It’s a good idea to regularly clean your window treatments. Blinds can be wiped down, while curtains can often be washed in a washing machine.

·       The oven. Ovens aren’t exactly self-cleaning, even if they have a self-cleaning setting. It’s still important to periodically clean the inside.

·       The refrigerator. It’s recommended that you deep clean your entire refrigerator at least every quarter (every three months). Most people don’t come close to this.

·       The washing machine. Washing machines accumulate germs from load to load, so wipe down the interior and run occasional empty cycles with hot water and vinegar.

·       The dishwasher. Clean out your dishwasher filter and use cleaning tabs to keep the dishwasher clean and functional.

·       Cabinets and drawers (inside and out). Dust and wipe down all your cabinets and drawers at least once a year to keep them in good shape.

·       Light fixtures. Your lights are brighter than you imagine; you just need to wipe off the dust occasionally.

·       Mattresses and pillows. Even if you change your sheets weekly, you’ll eventually need to clean your mattresses and pillows.

·       The showerhead. Don’t forget to occasionally soak and descale your showerhead as well.

Obviously, you don’t have to complete these tasks every day, but all of them should be addressed at least once a year, and sometimes much more frequently than that.

Preventing Future Neglect

Tackling these neglected household cleaning tasks can restore your house to proper order. But how do you prevent this type of neglect in the future?

·       Organize your cleaning tasks. Sit down and write out all your cleaning tasks, including ones you’ve potentially neglected in the past. Then, organize them by location and urgency. What tasks need to be done every day? Which ones can afford to wait?

·       Get on a set schedule. Creating a custom cleaning schedule could be a viable solution. The idea here is to make lists of tasks to be done on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis. With separate checklists that you consult at predefined intervals, it’s a lot harder for necessary cleaning tasks to get lost in the shuffle.

·       Consider a chore wheel. Some families may benefit from the introduction of a chore wheel. This concept allows you to divide responsibilities evenly across different family members, again ensuring that nothing gets dropped or lost.

Developing a more robust, more comprehensive cleaning system can help you ensure you never neglect these cleaning tasks again. They may not be your highest priorities, but they should be on your list of objectives if you want the cleanest, most hospitable environment.