12 Surprisingly Dirty Places You're Forgetting To Clean

12 Surprisingly Dirty Places You're Forgetting To Clean

When it comes to cleaning, it's easy for the big jobs to take over. We all remember to clean things like countertops, the toilet and shower, but what about the smaller, easy-to-miss spots?

Throughout your home - in the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom - are some often-neglected spots that are dirtier than you might imagine.

Today we're sharing some surprisingly dirty places you're forgetting to clean so you can get your home more spotless than ever. You'll be shocked what dirt you find lurking in these secret spots - discover them now!

1. Cabinet doors

dirty cabinet doors kitchen
They're surprisingly dirty!

Wiping down the countertops is all well and good, but what about the surfaces beneath them?

Just because cabinet doors aren't horizontal, it doesn't mean they can't accumulate dirt. Spillages from food regularly find their way onto cupboards doors, and any ledges or grooves in the door will gather dust and be a shelf on which grime can gather.

Be sure to wipe your cabinets down every couple of weeks using a cloth dampened in hot water and washing up liquid (just be sure to wring it out thoroughly), or a general household cleaner, to keep them looking clean and free from bacteria.

2. The underside of surfaces

When cleaning, don't just concentrate on those things at eye-level - think up high and down low too.

The undersides of surfaces can get extremely dirty. This includes under cabinets, breakfast bars, and tables too - anything that has a top will also have a bottom.

Spills can unknowingly make their way underneath surfaces, causing a sticky buildup which can lead to ants. There are also dirty hands to consider - many of us put our fingers under surfaces without realising.

Clean under as well as on top of surfaces during your next clean - you'll be amazed (and possibly disgusted!) by what you find lurking there.

3. Don't forget to clean your fridge handle

fridge door handle
Disinfectant is key!

Many of us clean the inside of the fridge, but what about the outside, and, in particular, the fridge handle.

Bacteria is easily transferred in the kitchen. Coming in from a long day and heading straight for the fridge without washing your hands will mean germs are left on the handle.

It's also worth remembering that food itself contains a surprising amount of bacteria. Meat can have traces of faeces, and fruit and vegetables are often covered in dirt.

All of these things can lead to germs being transferred to and from the fridge handle. Get into the habit of disinfecting it daily to keep your kitchen germ-free.

4. Behind the wardrobe

Out of sight, out of mind?

Perhaps, but you might get a shock when you finally move your wardrobe and other heavy furniture. When you do, you're likely to find a thick layer of dust on the back of your wardrobe, and also the skirting board behind it.

For this reason, we recommend moving furniture and cleaning behind it every few months or so. If you, or someone in your household, has dust allergies, you might want to do this more often.

5. How dirty is your bath mat?

bath mat cream
When was the last time you cleaned yours?

Be honest - when was the last time you washed your bath and pedestal mat?

For obvious reasons, pedestal mats can become dirty extremely quickly, and the more people using the bathroom, the filthier they'll become. Your bath mat, whilst 'cleaner', is often left damp - providing the ideal breeding ground for germs and bacteria to thrive and multiply.

Both your bath mat and toilet mat should be washed weekly, at 60ºC with your normal detergent.

6. Inside the window sill

You may be cleaning the inside and outside of the window pane, but what about the inside of the window sill?

When you open your windows during the cooler months, leaves and other debris can soon gather here. This will make your windows more difficult to open and close, and also looks pretty untidy!

We recommend cleaning them a few times a year with hot soapy water to keep them nice and clean.

7. Don't forget your sofa!

Has your sofa seen better days? With so much time spent on it, it's no wonder really.

You can keep yours looking fresher and smelling better for longer with a quick baking soda treatment. It will deodorise and clean your fabrics gently - and it takes just 20 minutes! 

8. Cleaning kids' toys

Calling all parents! You don't need us to tell you how grimy and sticky your little one's fingers can get - and that's without mentioning they never seem to notice this themselves!

Unless you're on hand to make sure they're washing their hands every 10 minutes, we recommend giving toys a wash every once in a while. If you're feeling particularly courageous, you could even try and get the kids involved in this too.

The good news is, most plastic toys can be washed in the dishwasher, or, in the washing machine on cold in a large net bag.

9. Deep clean your dishwasher

dirty dishwasher cleaning tips

B-b-b-ut...dishwashers are clean, they must be!

We understand your logic, but, just like your washing machine, the constant damp state of your dishwasher can lead to mould and hard-water build up.

Head over to the appliance experts, Which? to discover the best way to clean yours today.

10. Clean your oven buttons

oven knobs buttons
What did you touch before the oven knobs?

We all hate cleaning the oven. In fact, most of us hate it so much, we're so eager to get it over and done with that we forget to clean all the knobs and buttons that make it function flawlessly.

Luckily, cleaning your oven buttons is much easier than cleaning the oven itself, which is more reason to do it more often!

Sticky hands will soon make them dirty, so try to give them a wipe after every use, or at least a good clean once a week to keep them bacteria-free.

11. Cleaning the inside of cabinets

inside bathroom cupboard
A haven for spills!

Emptying the cabinets isn't a job many of us have time to do all that often, but that's not to say we should forget about them completely.

Bedroom cabinets are one thing, but kitchen cabinets containing condiments, and bathroom cupboards containing lotions and potions are a different ball game entirely.

The longer you leave spillages from such products, the more difficult (and messy) they'll be to remove. To make things more manageable, why not break your rooms down and set yourself the task of cleaning the cupboards in each over the course of the year.

12. Mouse mat


Next time you're at your computer, take a look down.

Yikes - that mouse mat looks pretty dirty, right? Dirt and germs from your hand will rub off onto your mat when in use, hence its discolouration. If you eat at your desk too, it's likely to be even dirtier.

Watch the video above to get your mouse mat spick and span in a flash - your desk will be the envy of all your colleagues in no time!

Is there anything that surprised you on our list? What will you be cleaning first? Let us know in the comments below! 

Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author N. Kerswill on June 8, 2018 at 9:30 am

    Yep I do all these every week.

  2. Author jay on June 8, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Get rid of toilet mats! They are probably the most unhygienic thing in your house. DISgusting things.

    1. Author Harmony Hoang on December 24, 2019 at 9:43 pm

      Agree completely! I have never had one.

    2. Author Joanne A on January 3, 2020 at 12:41 pm

      If you wash them regularly on a high enough setting, you shouldn't have any problems.

    3. Author Josephine Suckling on November 21, 2020 at 9:03 am

      Surely better to have a wipe-clean surface space all around the bottom of the toilet as those pedestal mats must be so unhygienic each time they’re stood on? Also, I always hang up the bath/shower fluffy mat to dry for the next person over the shower door/curtain rail; am NOT perfect though yes, water and grime daily equals mouldy grime build-up! 😳

    4. Author Joanne A on April 26, 2023 at 11:00 am

      While pedestal mats can provide a soft surface and aesthetic appeal, they can become unhygienic if not cleaned regularly. However, if they are cleaned and washed as regularly as a wipe-clean surface would be, they can be considered hygienic. It is important to ensure they are cleaned thoroughly and regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and germs. Choosing between a pedestal mat or a wipe-clean surface around the bottom of the toilet comes down to personal preference and cleaning habits.

  3. Author Doreen Ross on June 8, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    i buy mouse mats that have a shiny or Matt but cleanable surface. i use a cloth wrung out in washing up liquid and hot water and wipe the top side.dry with kitchen paper then turn it over and because i have a pet, i find i still get pet hairs somehow underneath the mat. use sellotape wrapped round your hand to pick up all the hairs. then wipe over with your cloth. leave upside down till it dries completely.otherwise it will damage your desk if its a wooden varnished one.

    1. Author Stephanie C on June 11, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Hi Doreen. Buying 'filmed' mouse mats as opposed to sponge is a great option - they're much easier to keep clean. We love the sellotape tip - it sounds like your mats are really spotless. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Author stephanie eebb-morris on June 8, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    No one seems to clean around the taps either in the kitchen or the bathroom. I just spray with a good quality cleaner and scrub the base of the tap and all other parts with a used toothbrush. Leave for 5 minutes, rinse well and dry off with kitchen roll. Repeat once a week. Works every time.

    1. Author Stephanie C on June 11, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      Hi Stephanie, The taps can get dirty pretty fast - especially with hands covered in food and hard water - so they're important to clean regularly. You're right to leave the products to sit for 5 minutes - this will mean most of the hard work is done for you! Thanks for stopping by :)

  5. Author Sandy on June 8, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    Hi Steph - Some good, interesting tips there, as always. #6 - I find that the easiest way to remove build-up from window sills, the runners (if you have double or triple glazing) and rebates (a haven for spiders!), is with an attachment on the vacuum cleaner. Then you can clean it with hot soapy water. #8 - As well as kids' toys, don't forget your furry friends' toys, too. They can get even dirtier especially if they take them out in the garden or try to bury them! Carry on your excellent work. Best wishes, Sandy

    1. Author Joanne A on July 24, 2018 at 5:25 pm

      Thank you for sharing, Sandy! We're glad you enjoy our work.

  6. Author Audrie57 on June 10, 2018 at 9:06 am

    I have never thought of cleaning my mousemat, or the one that my partner uses with his computer, but I will do now , Thank you, I do know that my other half has used the nozzle on the hoover every now and again, but yours sounds so much easier, I shall give it ago. Many Thanks.

    1. Author Stephanie C on June 11, 2018 at 2:22 pm

      Hi Audrie, Mousemats are something most of us forget, so don't fret! Good luck with your cleaning - I hope it's a success :)

  7. Author Wendy Kershaw on July 31, 2019 at 7:31 am

    I have a wet room and even before that, got rid of pedestal and floor mats. I have been aware for years that they collect dirt and germs and not even once a week wash was ever enough. I do my cupboards inside and out once a month and rotate my food to keep them used within date order. My friends think I am mad and call me obsessive! I am not by any means but do like to keep things done properly and if done regularly, takes so little time! I bought wipes to keep my taps clean and use at end of every day. I wash my shower curtains every week. Do not have a mouse mat as use a laptop but do wipe keyboard and pad twice a week. Been wiping Fridges inside and out and door seals top and bottom every week. I thought most people did? Maybe I am just naïve! We have a very old Chest Freezer and I defrost it every 6 weeks to keep it running smoothly. After all, you look after your products and they will serve you for many years to come. Love receiving the Daily Tips in my Inbox! Great work and keep it going! Huge thanks Wendy

    1. Author Joanne A on July 31, 2019 at 9:09 am

      Hi Wendy! Thank you for your kind words. We're so glad you enjoy our tips. You're very right, if you look after what you have it'll last much longer. Add to that, your health will be much better as a result.

  8. Author R Smith on July 31, 2019 at 8:31 am

    Who uses a mouse mat?! Over quite annoyed by young women telling me to clean my taps and inside the cupboards etc.,it is so patronising..Try cleaning stinking pub toilets for a living,then you will be knowledgeable. And as for this modern usage of cleaning sprays,surfaces have to be clean first so try hot soapy water!

    1. Author Joanne A on July 31, 2019 at 9:08 am

      That can't be a pleasant job!

    2. Author Jacky Westoby on August 2, 2019 at 11:22 am

      R. Smith, no need to be quite so angry sounding, surely! And I would've thought lots of people use a mouse mat, myself included !!

    3. Author Sarahjane Lownie on August 6, 2021 at 6:20 pm

      Quite right Jacky👍

  9. Author Rosina Morgan on July 31, 2019 at 1:06 pm

    Hi my smoke alarm went off a few times over the weekend tryed changing the battery seemed ok as I thought but no still going off as I am on my own me being a pensioner I ask a friend for help she got the fire brigade to come out to have a look turns out it was dust inside the smoke alarm so they told each time you change your battery make sure you open the casing and check for dust

    1. Author Joanne A on July 31, 2019 at 2:33 pm

      How interesting! Thanks for sharing that, Rosina. I'm glad you found the solution.

  10. Author Dee Dawber on July 31, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Hi Wendy Why do people use a pedestal mat as a toilet mat? It is for the pedestal unit under your bathroom basin! Regards Dee

  11. Author Steve on July 31, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    The most unhygienic thing must be the toilet brush!!

    1. Author Harmony Hoang on December 24, 2019 at 9:55 pm

      Totally agree! I do not even keep a toilet brush. I clean my toilets with anti bacterial wet wipes & bleach because I find that works well. If I have to scrub a toilet, I use a cheap washing up brush, which I dispose of immediately after.

    2. Author Joanne A on January 3, 2020 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Harmony! You can purchase silicone toilet brushes which are far easier to deep clean. Wet wipes might be good for a quick clean, but they are really harmful to the environment. It's all personal preference, though!

  12. Author Angela Harris on July 31, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    I must admit I do change my bathroom mats as having a shower every day even 2 times a day, I often shake mine over the bath and it's unbelievable how much crap comes off them, they are fantastic tips though,

    1. Author Joanne A on August 1, 2019 at 11:30 am

      It surprises me too!

  13. Author Angela Harris on July 31, 2019 at 10:04 pm

    Does anyone have any good cheap tips for cleaning my black leather sofa & chair since I had damproof done in living room every few days I look over and can see a very thin layer on my sofa???? Thanks

    1. Author Joanne A on August 1, 2019 at 11:26 am

      Hi Angela! As it's leather, you'll want to be very careful. Did your sofa come with any care instructions? I know that you can buy leather cleaning kits especially for this purpose.

  14. Author Misty on January 15, 2020 at 9:53 am

    I've always found these newsletters helpful. Some ideas I use others I don't usually down to personal preferences. However, I was shocked to read the comments by reader No15. We all know, or I'd like to think we all know that these ideas are for us readers to decide if they are ones we want to use and try out. Yes nothing really beats hot water and cleaning fluids and a bit of elbow grease, but some might prefer the convenience of wet wipes, I know I use them in our kitchen and bathroom. But if you are against these ideas I have to say what is the point of reading them and then being so rude to the person running this site. In the words of the great Miranda RUDE.

    1. Author Joanne A on January 15, 2020 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Misty! Thank you for your kind words. I love the Miranda quote! I agree with you. Cleaning is all about personal preference and what works for some won't work for all. In principle, it would be great if we all opted for eco-friendly options, but this isn't always possible (for busy people, those on a budget or with disabilities). The most important thing is to keep your home clean and safe for all who visit and live there. I think it's great that we have the choice to use so many different kinds of cleaning products.

  15. Author Barbara on March 7, 2021 at 9:10 am

    It’s all “spring clean” stuff and instead of moving heavy furniture just get a feather duster behind it and then the end of the hoover Kitchen cupboards can be hoovered out before cleaning

    1. Author Joanne A on March 30, 2021 at 12:45 pm

      Great idea!

  16. Author Steve H. on November 8, 2021 at 11:37 am

    Why not use pedeatsl mats around toilets? They are much easier to clean than the carpet around a toilet if someone has missed the bowl.

    1. Author Joanne A on October 10, 2022 at 10:25 am

      That's a good idea!

  17. Author Wendy on November 9, 2021 at 5:41 am

    If you do a room at a time and work from top to bottom.so clean lampshade on ceiling first then any upper door ledges, then curtain poles, windows, casing, doors, light switches, paintings on the wall, handles, put curtains in the wash and keep working your way lower down and that way you are cleaning as they say from top to bottom with healthy cleaners to protect your health as well and you can tackle one full clean of each room each time you clean then if you work out how many rooms you have in your home then you will find each room gets a deep clean in my case every 8th clean you do and that makes it so much more manageable.

    1. Author Joanne A on October 10, 2022 at 10:24 am

      Top-to-bottom cleaning is the best method.

  18. Author Janet Saul on November 18, 2021 at 11:02 am

    I am a very thorough cleaner and always do these jobs. Also when cleaning windows I clean the window frames and sills inside and out. My outside doors get the same treatment. So many people don’t clean window frames.

    1. Author Joanne A on March 21, 2023 at 11:32 am

      It's great that you are a thorough cleaner who takes the time to clean the window frames and sills inside and out! Cleaning the frames and sills helps prevent the buildup of dirt and grime and improves the overall appearance of the window.

  19. Author Betty on April 16, 2022 at 9:42 am

    Don't forget your washing machine a good deep clean in side and out I've ....I've got a few of my friends onto this the same as the dish washer people think it's clean after washing it keeps it smelling nice too and works better

    1. Author Joanne A on September 27, 2022 at 2:40 pm

      That's a good one!


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