11 Things You Can Deep Clean Yourself and How to Do It

Before you call in the pros, read through these easy, step-by-step instructions.

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When it comes to basic cleaning and maintenance in your home, you probably have a standard routine down pat. But what about a deep cleaning strategy? Are you tempted to call in the pros when it's time to get down to the nitty gritty areas of your home? Well, you can save your cash, because we're bringing you the ultimate guide to deep cleaning those spots that don't get daily—or even monthly—attention. Contrary to what you may have previously assumed, it's not only possible but also downright easy to deep clean the following 11 things in your house. We'll tell you how.

1. Washing Machine

Cleaning washing machine with cloth
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You're not alone if you didn't realize that your washing machine needs its own deep clean sometimes. All sorts of gunk builds up in it while it's doing its job. So about once or twice each year, it's a good idea to give your washing machine a scrub down.

Step 1: Run a cycle.

Empty the machine and run a hot cycle using a washing machine cleaning agent.

Step 2: Clean the filter.

Find the filter and clean all built-up gunk out of it. You may want to wear gloves for this.

Step 3: Clean the detergent drawer.

If the detergent drawer is removable, hand wash it or put it in the dishwasher for a thorough cleanse.

Step 4: Clean the drum.

Pull back the lip of the rubber drum and check for mold and mildew. This is especially prevalent on front-loading washers. If there's mold, scrub the drum with a mixture of bleach and water.

Step 5: Clean the outside.

Wipe down the outside of the machine. Detergent and dust can make it look dingy.

2. Refrigerator

Woman cleaning inside refrigerator
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A regular deep cleaning keeps your fridge looking and smelling fresh. And since you store your food in there, a regular refresh is a good idea. Here's how to do it:

Step 1: Clear your fridge.

Remove all items, including food in the doors and in the crisper.

Step 2: Wipe down the main sections.

Starting from the top, clean the shelves and sides with a cleaning solution of your choice. Warm water and vinegar work well and prevent your food from coming into contact with harsh chemicals.

Step 3: Don't forget the smaller spots.

Take out anything that's removable, such as produce drawers and door shelves, and wash by hand or run them in the dishwasher.

Step 4: Dry

Dry all surfaces with a soft cloth.

Step 5: Prevent odors with baking soda.

Set an open container of baking soda on the top shelf to absorb odors until the next cleaning session.

3. Stovetop

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Oil and grease can cake up on your stovetop, so it's definitely an item that should be on your deep clean list. For a gleaming cooking surface, follow these steps, courtesy of Bailey Carson, head of cleaning at Handy:

Step 1: Check your stove.

Before cleaning, make sure your stove is completely cool from the last time it was turned on.

Step 2: Clean the burners.

Remove the burners and scrub them with soap and the rough side of a sponge or steel wool to remove any cooked on food remnants.

Step 3: Use a de-greaser.

Spray a good degreaser or multipurpose cleaner liberally on the cooktop. Before using, ensure you've chosen one that's safe for your particular cooktop. Many surfaces, especially flat, electric cooktops, can scratch easily.

Step 4: Scrub.

Gently scrub any stubborn messes with a sponge (again, be sure it's safe to use on your cooktop).

Step 5: Dry.

Dry everything with a soft cloth.

Step 6: Don't skip the nooks and crannies.

Wrap a butter knife with a damp paper towel or soft cloth and use it to clean hard-to-reach places like the space where the cooktop meets the back of the stove and any spaces where the cooktop meets the oven. Try a cotton swap for can extremely tight spaces.

4. Carpet

Steam cleaning carpet at home
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Even the dingiest carpet can be brought back to life with a good steam cleaning. If you don't have your own steamer, not to worry. You can rent one from most grocery stores. Then follow these steps:

Step 1: Fill the steamer.

Fill the machine's reservoir with hot water.

Step 2: Add hydrogen peroxide.

Add about a cup of hydrogen peroxide to the water.

Step 3: Add dish liquid.

Now, add a tablespoon of Dawn dish detergent to the mixture.

Step 4: Add a fragrance. (Optional)

Add several drops of an essential oil, if you prefer.

Step 5: Test your carpet.

Test your carpet for color fastness in an inconspicuous spot, like behind the couch.

Step 6: Leave it to dry.

After cleaning, leave the windows open and run a fan in each room to help your carpet dry faster.

5. Microwave

Cleaning microwave
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Your microwave gets a lot of use and abuse every day. You may wipe it down periodically, but you should still hit it with a deep clean every once in a way. Carson shares these steps:

Step 1: Create your cleaning mixture.

Fill a bowl with about a cup of water. Cut a lemon in half and place it into the water.

Step 2: Run your microwave.

Place the bowl in the microwave and run it on high for about three to five minutes or until you see the water boil or the window steam up.

Step 3: Let it sit.

Let the bowl cool inside your microwave for about 15 minutes.

Step 4: Wipe the microwave down.

Remove the bowl and wipe the inside of your microwave with a paper towel or sponge.

6. Sofa

Cleaning between couch cushions
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All those snack-fueled Netflix marathons are bound to catch up with your couch at some point. Luckily, you can deep clean it without having to call in the pros. Just follow these instructions:

Step 1: Strip it down.

Remove all cushions if you're able to, sprinkle them with baking soda, and set aside.

Step 2: Vacuum with the nozzle attachment.

Vacuum the surface below where the cushions sit, along with all crevices.

Step 3: Spot clean.

If necessary, spot clean any stains according to the manufacturer's instructions. According to the Molly Maid website, you may see one of the following instructions on your sofa's tag:

  • W: It's okay to use water to clean this material.
  • WS: A dry cleaning detergent or mild detergent can be used, along with a steam vacuum.
  • X: Vacuum only, no water.
  • S: Clean with dry cleaner detergent.

Step 4: Vacuum cushions.

Vacuum the baking soda off of the cushions, then go outside and beat them together to remove any that's left behind.

7. Kitchen cabinets

Cleaning cabinet
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There's a good chance that you wipe down your kitchen counter regularly. But kitchen cabinets are much more easily overlooked. To keep greasy buildup at bay (and to give yourself a chance to toss expired food), give them a good, deep cleaning a few times a year.

Cabinets can take a beating, especially those near the stove and oven, where food is cooked. Here, grease splatters regularly, and dust can settle in it, creating a hard-to-remove grime. Here's a deep cleaning process you can follow for just about any type of kitchen cabinet:

Step 1: Dust, using your favorite method.

Dust cabinets, especially the tops, to get rid of any excess dust before you begin.

Step 2: Make your cleaning solution.

Mix a solution of equal parts vinegar and warm water, then add a few drops of dish soap for maximum grease-cutting power.

Step 3: Wash your cabinets.

Give your cabinets a good wash down with this solution, inside and out, taking care to scrub the places where that grime has built up

Step 4: Dry.

Dry your cabinets with a soft cloth.

8. Dishwasher

Taking out dishwasher filter
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This simple, four-step process from Clean Cult is one of the best methods to clean a dishwasher that we've found:

Step 1: Check the drain.

All those bits of food you left on your dishes over the months (or let's face it—years) since you last cleaned your dishwasher can get clogged up in the drain, causing poor performance, or worse, exposing your dishes to dirty water every time they're in the wash cycle (gag). To inspect the drain properly, you'll need to remove the bottom, slide-out tray entirely and use a flashlight. Removing any visible debris should do the trick.

Step 2: Clean the filter.

Remove the filter and let it soak in warm, soapy water until it's free from gunk. Not sure where the filter is? Consult the manual if you still have it, or Google your model number.

Step 3: Add vinegar.

Place a coffee cup filled with vinegar on the top rack of the otherwise empty dishwasher. This eliminates build up and foul odors.

Step 4: Run it.

Run your dishwasher on a hot cycle so the vinegar can disperse.

Step 5: Add baking soda and run it again.

Sprinkle some baking soda all over the bottom of the dishwasher and run another hot cycle. This further serves to clean the insides of the machine and eliminate odors, just like it does in your fridge.

9. Blinds

Vacuuming blinds
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The best way to deep clean vertical blinds is to remove them from the window and immerse them in a tub full of warm, soapy water. This no-fuss solution basically does all of the work for you! However, many blinds these days are more decorative in nature, with fancy cords and tape that shouldn't be soaked in water. If that's the type you have, here's the best way to deep-clean them:

Step 1: Remove surface dust.

Vacuum or dust the blinds from top to bottom to remove any excess dust and dirt.

Step 2: Make your cleaning solution.

Mix a solution of a few drops of dish soap and two cups of warm water, then spray this liberally onto the blinds, being careful to avoid any decorative fabric that shouldn't get wet.

Step 3: Wipe down your blinds.

Use a damp microfiber cloth to clean each slat, paying extra attention to tight spots around the cords.

Step 4: Wipe down cords and knobs.

Run the damp cloth up and down the cords that don't have decorative fabric, along with any pull knobs.

Step 5: Dry your blinds.

Use a separate cloth to dry the slats. This prevents dust from settling on damp surfaces, which then becomes super difficult to remove.

10. Mattress

Vacuuming mattress
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It's too bad you can't simply toss your mattress in the washing machine or drag it over to the dry cleaner's. Luckily, deep cleaning it by hand is a simple process that only requires a few basic household items.

Step 1: Strip the bed.

Remove all bedding and wash in hot water.

Step 2: Vacuum.

Vacuum the entire mattress, including the sides

Step 3: Spot clean.

Spot clean any stains with either an enzyme cleaner or a mixture of dish soap and water. Use a very small amount of water to prevent mold growth.

Step 4: Add baking soda.

Sprinkle liberally with baking soda and let the mattress sit for as long as possible.

Step 5: Vacuum again.

Vacuum off the baking soda, making sure to get every spot.

Step 6: Use a new mattress cover.

Place a clean, dry mattress cover on the mattress to protect it from dust build up in the future.

11. Shower

Cleaning scrubbing shower floor
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A regular deep cleaning is certainly in order for the space you use to clean your body, right? While that may not sound like much fun, remember that regular attention helps prevent mold and mildew from collecting, which makes future cleaning that much easier. The following steps for cleaning your shower come from Jason Carpenter, founder of Modern Maids. For special tips on cleaning specific types of showers (marble, tile, etc.), check out our comprehensive guide.

Step 1: Clear out your shower.

Remove everything from the shower including soaps, shampoos, razors, etc

Step 2: Use a powder cleanser.

Sprinkle a powder cleanser such as Comet all over the floor, walls, and shelves. This will act as an abrasive to help remove tough stains.

Step 3: Let it sit.

Let the cleaner activate for five to ten minutes.

Step 4: Scrub it down.

Use a sponge to scrub the walls and floors.

Step 5: Remove the cleanser.

Use a spray bottle with water or a bucket and sponge to remove the cleaner. Wipe any excess away with a clean microfiber cloth.

Christin Perry
Christin Perry is a freelance writer covering health, lifestyle, and parenting. Read more
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