On a scale of one to tidy, we’d give ourselves about a seven. We put used socks in the hamper. When we spill coffee grounds all over the floor, we generally sweep them up. But is there more we could be doing? Yes. Always.

We checked in with Donna Smallin Kuper--certified house cleaning technician (yes, that’s a job), author and all-around organizing super-person--for some tips on the places we’re probably missing.

Read on… disinfectant in hand.

Toilet

The Walls Behind the Toilet

Spray from flushing makes this one of the grossest spots in your house--and one you might not notice if you don’t, well, stand to pee. Make this part of your regular cleaning routine by spritzing the area with all-purpose cleaner, allowing it to sit for a few minutes and then wiping with a microfiber cloth or paper towel. And get into the habit of closing the lid in general, because with every flush of the toilet, particles of water (and E. coli) can spray and land up to 20 feet away. (Commence cringing.)

Faucet

Faucet Aerators

Water from your kitchen and bathroom taps flows through what’s called an aerator, and if you haven't cleaned this before (which, let’s be honest, you probably haven’t), you’ll find a little layer of black, mildewy ick-inducing grunge. Every couple of months, remove the aerator and soak it in vinegar for at least 15 minutes. Gently brush all parts with a toothbrush to remove any remaining residue, then screw it back on and drink your tap water mildew-free.

 

Silverwaredrawer

Silverware Drawer Organizer

Under those neat little piles of “clean” knives, forks and spoons is a serious layer of dust and crumbs. Remove everything and wash the organizer periodically--and vacuum the drawer while you’re at it.

KitchenCounters

The Kitchen Counter

In a misguided attempt at cleanliness, most people routinely wipe their kitchen counters with sponges and dishcloths that are teeming with germs. (According to a University of Arizona study, the average sponge has as many as 7 billion germs on it.) To keep your favorite cleaning tool hygienic, dip it into sudsy water, squeeze the suds through, then rinse and place it in the microwave on high power for three minutes. Then go to town on those countertops.

LightFixtures

Light Fixtures

Look up. Could your chandelier pass for an Addams Family extra? Clean indoor and outdoor light fixtures every season. And don’t forget to give the (cool) bulb a wipe with a damp cloth. A clean bulb emits 20 percent more light than a dirty one does.

FridgeDoor

Refrigerator Door Handle

Unless you just cleaned it, it’s dirty--not just from fingerprints, but also with bits of food. Make wiping it down part of your daily routine.

CoffeeMaker

Behind and Underneath Your Coffee Maker

Hey, cleaning the counter in front of small appliances is only half the battle. Under and behind is where you’ll find the real gold: dust, crumbs and dried-on spills.

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