It’s no secret that a commitment to cleanliness can protect your home from being overrun by bugs. Cleaning dirty dishes after meals, routinely washing soiled laundry, and wiping down kitchen counters and appliances are a few cleaning tips that can help your home smell fresh and appear bug-free. However, even the most committed homeowners can still overlook areas that are major draws for harmful pests. Any amount of collected dust, lint, and clutter can attract bugs to the nooks and crannies of your home. Even if you have a dedicated cleaning routine, make sure you’re aware of the most common places you forget to clean in order to prevent a surprise pest infestation.
Common Places You Forget to Clean
The underside of your bed is likely one of the most common secret problem areas. While it’s important to clean your bedding each month to deter pests like bed bugs and fleas, it may be even more important to keep an eye on the underside of your bed and other furniture. Considering these surfaces go untouched for most of the year, they can quickly become breeding grounds for spiders to spin their webs and lay eggs. To remove any present webs, spider eggs, or dust bunnies, give the bottom of your bed and other furniture a light dusting every month or two with a vacuum or feather duster.
Above Cabinets, Appliances, and Decor
There’s a reason the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” holds so much weight. If we can’t see the mess, does it really exist? For surfaces like the tops of cabinets, kitchen appliances, and picture frames, unfortunately, it does. These areas often collect dust, bacteria, and allergens, which can attract spiders and other bugs, and may exacerbate allergy symptoms if left uncleaned. Wipe these areas down with a microfiber cloth and an all-purpose cleaner every few weeks to avoid scratches and keep these surfaces spotless.
Closet Corners and Floors
It may seem like your closet gets limited use compared to other rooms in your home, but it can still collect just as much dirt and bacteria. If your closet tends to run on the cluttered side, any piles of clothes or other items may be putting you at risk for a roach infestation. Likewise, leaving damp shoes and clothes on the floor of your closet can cause mold and mildew to grow in the carpet. This mold then attracts bugs, like termites and certain beetles, to the surface.
To protect your closet from a pest infestation, vacuum the floors at least once every two weeks to remove any dirt or mold that’s collected on the floor. We also recommend clearing your closet of any unworn clothing or shoes that may be cluttering your cabinets, drawers, and other surfaces. At the end of every season, remove any items that were rarely or never worn and donate these items to a local charity. These cleaning tips will help you do good and keep your closet clutter-free.
Inside the Vacuum
During all of your cleaning efforts, don’t forget about the one place that gets the dirtiest: the inside of your vacuum. After it’s picked up endless dirt, dust, webs, and potentially bug eggs, it may continue to spread this grime around your home unless properly cleaned out. Make sure you empty the contents of the vacuum’s inner bag in your outdoor trash cans after every use. We also recommend doing a deep clean of the inside of the vacuum each month. Wipe down with hot, soapy water to kill any remaining bacteria inside of the vacuum.
Air Filters and Vents
Unless you live in a temperate climate, it’s likely your air conditioner and/or heater runs throughout the year. This continuous flow of air can cause dust, hair, pollen, and other allergens to circulate through your home, affecting the quality of the air you and your family breathe. The air filters in your HVAC unit should be changed regularly, and the vents should be wiped down to prevent a buildup of dust.
How often you need to replace your filters depends on the type you use. Cheaper, lower quality filters made from fiberglass should be changed out every 30 days, while higher quality filters only need replacing every 6 months. If not routinely replaced, these filters can cause a buildup of dust around your house, which then attracts unwanted bugs, like dust mites and spiders.
The cleanliness of your baseboards can have a major impact on the overall cleanliness of your home. It may take getting down on your hands and knees to see the buildup of grime that lives along your baseboards, but when you do, cleaning these surfaces will likely become a priority. A few cleaning tips for making these surfaces spotless: start by running a feather duster along the length of the room. Once all loose particles have been picked up, wipe the baseboards down with a damp, microfiber cloth to remove any scuffs or trapped particles from the wall.
A weekly watering isn’t enough to keep pests away from your houseplants. Bugs like aphids, whiteflies, and spider mites can all find a way onto your indoor plants. While these insects don’t pose any harm to humans or pets, they can ruin the plants and leave your home crawling with unwanted bugs. This is why we recommend giving your houseplants a light shower twice a month to remove dust particles and any lingering bugs. However, this isn’t always enough to keep pests off your plants. It may take a more serious solution to prevent pests in your houseplants.
It can be difficult to draw your attention away from the floor, but your ceilings can collect almost as much filth as your baseboards. House spiders, in particular, are notorious for building their webs along ceiling corners and the top portion of walls. With ceiling fans, air conditioners, and heaters pushing dust particles through your home year-round, these surfaces can easily collect a layer of dust, as well.
Don’t let this commonly overlooked area become the reason your home hosts a family of spiders. To clean these surfaces, mix a cup of warm water with five drops of dish detergent and two tablespoons of white vinegar. Use a mop or a cleaning tool, like a Swiffer Sweeper, to wipe these areas free of webs without having to climb on a ladder.
These cleaning tips will help you remember important places you forget to clean that can have a major impact on your home’s overall cleanliness. Cleaning the highest-traffic areas isn’t enough for keeping pests at bay; it’s important to deep-clean these hard-to-see areas, as well. If you do notice your home is housing unwanted pests during your clean, give our team a call. Your local Aptive Environmental branch can send an expert pest control technician to rid your home of pesky bugs and keep it looking spotless year-long.