Whether you like to tidy on a daily basis or do a once-a-week deep scrub, keeping the house clean almost always includes some head-scratching moments. Trying to dust a sky-high bookshelf without toppling it, or reaching behind the toilet touching it, can often feel like your own little version of household Jenga.
Stocking a few specialty tools (and regular household go-tos) will make tackling those hard-to-reach spots so much easier: An easy-to-maneuver vacuum, a swivel mop, and a microfiber feather duster are just a few to have in the closet.
Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most typical housecleaning conundrums you’re likely to encounter—and solutions that’ll make checking them off your to-do list a breeze.
Crown molding—a decorative finishing detail most often seen wrapping around ceilings—can be beautiful, whether it’s rendered in a clean line or features more detailed motifs.
Cleaning it, on the other hand, can be a hassle, especially when it comes to high, hard-to-reach corners. A stick vacuum like the Roborock H6, named one of Good Housekeeping’s best stick vacuums of 2020, was made for jobs like this. It’s only three pounds, so lifting it won’t put too much strain on your arms, and the powerful suction capacity will work to pull dust out of even the tightest nooks and crannies.
High shelves can be tricky not only because of their placement, but because the items on display — books, pictures or other treasures — can be too delicate for the suction of a vacuum cleaner. Your best bet here is to lightly go over the shelves and their contents with an updated version of the classic feather duster: look for one made from microfiber so you can throw it in the washing machine when you’re done.
Under, and behind, the fridge
“Out of sight, out of mind” can be a useful principle in other areas of life, but it’s not one you want to apply to underneath and behind your refrigerator. These areas are, unsurprisingly, prime for grime that you might miss during a kitchen clean-up.
To start, wiggle the fridge away from the wall—the goal here is to create enough space to allow you to hit the parts of the wall and floor that are usually covered up. A stick vacuum can also be helpful here, especially when it comes to the floor space between the wall and the fridge.
For the refrigerator itself, look for a brush designed specially for fridge coils. This will dislodge any dust or build-up on the coils underneath the fridge, which can save you time and money later, since dirty coils can cause your refrigerator to work harder and use more energy. Then, vacuum up the dust that falls to the floor — a stick vacuum used in a handheld configuration would work well here.
Behind the toilet
Cleaning the toilet is an essential part of any bathroom cleaning routine, and the area the toilet should be no different. It can be a magnet for germs, and because it can sometimes be hard to reach, it can also be easy to forget about.
Hit the area with a slim, maneuverable vacuum first, which will loosen debris. And then: Enter the swivel mop. Designed to get into hard-to-reach corners, it works on virtually any kind of surface, and with the right cleaning solution, will have the area behind your toilet gleaming (and germ-free!) in no time.
Around the faucets
Faucets, especially smaller ones in the bathroom, pose a challenge because they seem accessible—you can clean most of a faucet the way you would anything else in the kitchen or bathroom. But usually there’s a part of it—often near the base on the back, maybe close to a wall—that is just out of reach, and therefore a place that probably needs some extra attention.
The humble toothbrush is your friend here. Grab one (purchased new for this purpose!) and use the bristles to scrub the parts of the faucet too small to be cleaned by hand. If you want to do an extra deep clean, soak a washcloth in vinegar and wrap it around the faucet to loosen hard water mineral build-up that may be in difficult-to-access areas.
A/C filters and air vents
Air conditioning and heating vents, as well as filters in window A/C units, can build up a lot of dust, which means you’ll want to make cleaning them part of your regular routine. A stick vacuum like the Roborock H6 can really come in handy here. On a low setting, run the vacuum’s dusting brush or crevice tool around the vents. The dust should come right off, giving you cleaner, cooler air.
Remotes, keyboards, and alarm systems
You might not immediately think of remote controls, keyboards and alarm system keypads as things that need to be regularly cleaned, but if you live in a home where these objects are in high use, it’s likely time to start! Oils from fingers can linger, and you’ll want to pay special attention to high-touch surfaces during cold and flu season.
Try a product that has been a staple of many office for the last several decades: canned air. It will loosen crumbs and buildup in between remote control buttons and keyboards, making it easy to swipe away the rest with your microfiber cloth or old toothbrush. Then, finish the job with a disinfecting wipe.