6 Corners Of Your Apartment That Are WAY Dirtier Than You'd Think

Photo: Julia Robbs.
Chances are, when it comes to cleaning, you’ve got the basics down: a quick sweep here, a little wipe-down there, and voilà — all’s looking spic and span. But as four New York City experts point out to us today, you may be overlooking a few key items and areas that are quick to accumulate grit and grime. Think: When was the last time you cleaned your doorknob? Replaced your pillows? Peeked under the living room rug? If it’s been months or years — or, worse yet, if the answer is "never" — don’t panic.

We’ve asked said experts for tips and tricks to tackle six of your apartment’s dirtiest, dustiest, and most-forgotten corners and crannies. In the end, you’ll be cleaner, healthier, and happier for it.
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Photographed by Michelle Drewes.
The Tops Of Kitchen Cabinets
“Unless your cabinets go all the way up to the ceiling,” says New York-based professional organizer Laura Cattano, “it’s likely pretty gross up there. Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve cleaned, you’ll find not only dust but layers of grease from cooking, too.” To de-gunk most effectively, Cattano recommends two drugstore staples. “For grease, there’s nothing better than Goo Gone Kitchen Degreaser, which is gentle on skin but tough on dirt and buildup. Another favorite is the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. They’re not kidding — it’s magical.”
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Photographed by Winnie Au.
Your Pillow & Comforter
You may wash your duvet cover and pillowcases regularly, but how often do you think about what goes inside them? “Even if you use covers, your pillows should be washed at least twice a year,” Cattano says. “And your comforter should be cleaned at least once. Keep in mind: Down can be put in the washing machine, but takes a long time to dry. For other materials, check the tag for washing instructions. Pillows should be replaced every four to six years. And if either of these things — pillows or comforters — are yellow, stained, or lumpy, get new ones ASAP.”
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Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh.
The Inside Of Your Closet
Many of us live in climates that require us to rotate the contents of our closets by the season. This, Cattano says, is the perfect opportunity to do a deep closet-clean. “Dust gets everywhere over time, including the insides of closets. Use a damp cloth to wipe down everything: the rod, the shelves, baseboards, the floor, even the hangers.” Adds Sabrina Fierman of New York’s Little Elves, “It’s nice to clean closet floors monthly or quarterly, if possible. If that’s too much to handle, then definitely twice yearly. Don’t forget to dust shoes, bags, and other items, too, before returning them to their places."
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Photographed by Julia Robbs.
Doors & Doorknobs
Another often-forgotten area that may need some extra TLC? The tops of doors — and doorknobs, too. “People don’t normally look at the tops of their doors, but many times, you’ll find that no one’s ever cleaned up there,” Fierman says. “For higher areas, you can use a canister vacuum with a hose and an attachment brush, or a duster with an extension. And if you need to use a ladder, make sure you have help!” As for doorknobs: “It’s best to clean knobs, which can get greasy and covered in fingerprints — weekly or monthly. Use a clean dust rag, dipped in warm water, with a few drops of liquid Ivory soap. You can also use this solution to clean the walls around the door, which you’ll notice are often stained with built-up fingerprint dirt.”
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Photographed by Aaron Wojack.
Under The Rug
“You’d be surprised how much dirt accumulates under area rugs,” says Marla Kabashima, a coach at NYC home-organization company Maeve’s Method. “Fine dust particles sift through the fibers and pile up, so do a thorough sweeping whenever you have a broom out. We’re always shocked at how great rugs are at trapping dirt.”
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Photographed by Erica Gannet.
Your On-Display Electronics
“Your electronics are probably some of your most-used items, but how frequently do you actually clean them?” Kabashima wonders. “They’re often covered in dust and dirt. Next time you deep clean, wipe off your TV and computer screens, dust off your speakers, and clean your record player stylus. Don’t forget tiny areas, too — keyboards, phone screens, and buttons can all use a quick wipe-down with a Q-tip.”
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