How clean is your house?

Commonly overlooked ways to make sure your house is clean and safe for your family


KNOXVILLE (WATE) – How clean is your house? Are there some things you might be overlooking that could be making your family sick?

The Cleaning Authority gave WATE 6 On Your Side a tour of what you might be missing. They started in the family room.

“Ceiling fans are often one of the most forgotten things in a home,” Pete DeLorme quickly pointed out.

If they are not clean you are just helping to spread dust around your home.

More online: The Cleaning Authority Blog

“It’s one of the reasons they say the air in the home has a higher concentration of pollution than you will find outside in most cases,” he said.

The Cleaning Authority gave WATE 6 On Your Side a tour of what you might be missing.
The Cleaning Authority gave WATE 6 On Your Side a tour of what you might be missing.

Fans aren’t the only concern. Something closer to the ground often requires the most attention the first time cleaning crews enter a home – baseboards.

“Baseboards are just something people forget about. They will vacuum their floors. They do general dusting, but rarely will people get down and hand wipe their baseboards, so dust builds up on those edge as well on edges of carpets,” said DeLorme.

DeLorme says the basic rule of thumb is to wipe these surfaces, and all horizontal surfaces that collect dust, every two to four weeks. He pointed out the most challenging areas for you to keep clean are almost always bathrooms and kitchens.

More online: Biological pollutants in your home

The Cleaning Authority believes proper maintenance can help keep the flu and allergens at bay and while they get paid to help with that, they did share some do-it-yourself tasks you will want to take note of. A squeegee will keep the hard water scale off tile and shower doors. This is a big problem for lots of homeowners.

"Ceiling fans are often one of the most forgotten things in a home," Pete DeLorme quickly pointed out.
“Ceiling fans are often one of the most forgotten things in a home,” Pete DeLorme quickly pointed out.

“If you don’t want to hire some to clean your bathroom for you this is probably the handiest tool you can have,” said DeLorme

He also had some advice for your shower head.

“A great little do-it-yourself tip is take a Ziploc or sandwich bag and fill it with 50/50 of white vinegar and water, and rubber band it and let it soak over night,” he said.

When it comes to your bed, sheets should be washed every week, rotate or flip mattresses every three months, and you should be vacuuming your mattress.

“I usually recommend people vacuum their mattress once every other month. It can help get rid of dust mites they may occur and help get rid of allergens.”

More online: How often you should clean everything in your home

More tips from The Cleaning Authority

Factors that affect how often cleaning might be needed

  • Pets
  • Number of family members and general activity in the home
  • The home’s location. Homes closer to water, forests or farms tend to have more environmental dust.
  • Decor can even play a part. The paper pages in old books for example can be an exceptional source of dust as the paper decays over time.

Areas that are commonly overlooked when cleaning

  • Ceiling fans
  • Baseboards
  • Tops of cabinets
  • Air return vents
  • Around sink fixtures and drains
  • Shower door glass
  • Window blinds, sills and ledges
  • Underneath beds and raised furniture

Without regular maintenance, these areas can tend to build up in just a matter of a few weeks.

Other areas to keep an eye on

  • Changing your furnace air filters. Depending on the filter type, inexpensive filters generally recommend changing them monthly. More efficient filters, which are more moderately priced, can last up to three months.
  • Changing bed sheets. Due to sweat and skin cells that shed when we sleep, it’s a good idea to wash and change your linens weekly. Every other week at the most to minimize dust mites and keep the bed surface clean.
  • Flipping or turning mattresses is something that commonly asked about. General consensus is to rotate or flip mattresses about every three months. Keep in mind that the newer memory foam mattresses and many pillow top mattresses don’t require any flipping. More importantly, however, if you do suffer from any dust mite allergies, it would be a good idea to vacuum the surface of your mattress every couple of months.

Additional handy tips

  • Using products that are ‘eco-friendly’ can help to minimize allergic reactions to chemicals that incorporate artificial scents or are aren’t PH Neutral.
  • Disinfecting key areas regularly will also help to keep colds and flu at bay.  Areas such as light switches, door handles, microwaves and counter tops are important to disinfect. Just be careful when using a disinfectant on natural stone (granite/onyx) countertops as the stone is somewhat porous, it can absorb the chemical and dry out the stone or cause a change in color.  Make sure the label states that the product is safe to use on those surfaces.
  • Use a lambswool duster as a natural alternative to a Swiffer. They can be cleaned so they’re reusable and you won’t have to keep buying replacement pads.
  • Microfiber dusting cloths are a great way to clean and dust without chemicals. The fibers are about 40 times thinner than a human hair, so they actual get up underneath dirt and debris to lift it off the surface and lock it on the cloth.
  • Use a zip-lock bag filled with a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water and secure it to a shower head with a rubber band. Let it soak overnight to remove hard-water scale build up.
  • Magic erasers can be great to remove calcium from glass shower doors.
  • Barkeeper’s Friend is also a great, natural product for polishing chrome fixtures, stainless steel and porcelain sinks and removing calcium and lime deposits.

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