Even the best housekeepers sometimes forget to clean areas of the home, or put it off for spring cleaning. Unfortunately, dark and dirty corners of your home can quickly be filled by bugs and rodents. Here are 6 areas that you may forget to clean, and why it’s important to do so.
In the kitchen:
Most people clean something in the kitchen daily, whether it’s washing the dishes, cleaning the counters, or sweeping. There are a few places that are easy to forget, because they are out of sight, and usually out of mind. Specifically, under the refrigerator and around the bottom of the oven.
Moving the refrigerator can be challenging, but thankfully you don’t have to. You can easily remove the grill at the bottom of the fridge and use a long brush or broom to clean nearly all of the dust that has gathered. A vacuum cleaner will take care of the rest of the dust. Doing this monthly will deter any spiders or rodents who would otherwise build a home in this space.
Similar to the refrigerator, moving the oven can be challenging. You may not need to. Take a flashlight and shine down on any sides of the oven that are close to a wall or cabinet. If there are food scraps stuck in these spaces you will need to pull the oven out and clean them. If not, you’re in luck! You can clean under the oven quite easily. Simply remove the drawer or broiling tray at the bottom of the oven and vacuum up any food scraps, dust, or other debris. Rodents love the warmth and food supply that the underside of an oven provides, and regularly cleaning this space will prevent them from moving in.
Humans aren’t the only ones who enjoy the natural light that windows offer. They are a common entry and exit point for flying insects such as flies, beetles and boxelder bugs. Sealing windows is an important step to preventing pests in your home. As far as cleaning goes, regularly cleaning window sills can be a good indication of how many bugs are in your home. Flying insects will try to get out of the windows, and once exhausted they will die on your window sills. Using a 50/50 water and vinegar mix when cleaning window sills will not only clean off any dead bugs, but also repel future bugs that want to get in or out.
Houseplants are a staple in the modern home. Offering pleasant greenery and improved air quality, everybody has one, some have hundreds. Regardless of the level of your houseplant obsession, or if most of them are just plastic, houseplants are something we rarely think about cleaning. Houseplants can be home to many types of bugs, from gnats to spiders to spider mites. Always check your houseplants for signs of bugs when you first buy them, and regularly clean them to prevent future bugs. Spider mites will spin nasty looking webs in your plants, and can be removed by taking the plant outside and spraying it off. Fungus gnats will appear if you have dead leaves, or are overwatering. Despite not being harmful to humans, they can ruin the appeal of a nice houseplant. Avoid overwatering to prevent an infestation. Spiders will take up residency under large leaves, and a simple dusting can take care of their webs, forcing them to relocate.
Basements, especially unfinished basements, are something we put off cleaning. Ants, roaches and small rodents will often make their way indoors and take up home in your basement. Small ants can be removed with baits and traps, but if you have carpenter ants, they may have burrowed into your home. Roaches will hide in dark corners or near the ceiling and are typically nocturnal, making them hard to spot. Mice and other small rodents, as we covered, like dark warm spaces, and can be removed with traps and poison. Cleaning your basement corners will prevent them from becoming a problem in the first place.
Garbage cans in and outside the home can be particularly gross to clean. Usually we avoid cleaning them unless there is a spill or they start to smell. Garbage cans that have food waste or sweet substances in them can be very enticing for ants and flies. If you have ants in your home, they will find their way into your garbage and bring the food back to their colony. As long as they have food, ants will stay in your home and continue to multiply, which can quickly create a problem.
Outdoor garbage cans are an ideal place for flies. Typically there is decomposing food, and plenty of it. Flies will lay their eggs in moist areas where decay is present. These eggs will hatch into maggots and cause an infestation if not removed quickly.
To prevent this, regularly spray out garbage cans with water and soap. Particularly in summer, any waste in outdoor cans will decompose quickly, and will become overrun with flies. Keep garbage cans closed and remove them weekly when possible.
Bookshelves are great multipurpose storage and display areas. Filling them with your favorite books and knick knacks can help your home feel dignified and cozy. However, they can be a serious pain to clean. The thought of cleaning around each item is daunting at the very least. Not to worry, you don’t need to clean them every week. A monthly cleaning should suffice. Using a vacuum cleaner and a wet cloth is more effective than a dusting wand, cleaning faster and deeper. Not only will this remove dust, but it will deter silverfish, who will eat the starchy book spines, and spiders, who will build their webs and crawl around in the dark spaces at the back of bookshelves.
None of these areas need to be on your daily checklist of cleaning, but keeping them clean can help prevent pest infestations in your home. If you simply don’t have the time to clean everywhere, or the idea of bugs in your home is frightening to you, a pest home protection plan may be right for you.