Spring cleaning for forgotten spaces: Tips for tidying up unconventional spots at home

Brandon Pleshek 'comes clean' about how to handle the forgotten spots around the house or apartment

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Fresh air and new beginnings in springtime are enough to give anyone the spring-cleaning bug — but there are some spaces that most homeowners and renters don't normally think about tidying up and probably should. 

Wisconsin-based cleaning expert Brandon Pleshek, a third-generation janitor, TikTok creator and founder of Clean That Up, shared helpful tips and tricks with Fox News Digital for getting into the nitty-gritty of forgotten spaces around the home that most likely need a little TLC.

So make a clean break from "dirty" — and grab rubber gloves, shop vacs and cleaning concoctions to refresh some of the oft-forgotten but important spots around the house or apartment.

Refrigerator vents

Most people are unaware that the trim at the bottom of the refrigerator is fully detachable — and most likely collecting dust bunnies. While not all refrigerators have this detachable vent, those that do can be vacuumed out with a brush-head attachment.

A woman is shown deep-cleaning the inside of a refrigerator. Brandon Pleshek shared some secrets for sprucing up forgotten areas around the home. (iStock)

A woman is shown deep-cleaning the inside of a refrigerator. Brandon Pleshek shared some secrets for sprucing up forgotten areas around the home. (iStock)

In addition, Pleshek advised cleaners to pull the refrigerator away from the wall, clean the now-exposed floor (which most likely needs a good vacuuming or mopping itself) — and locate the smaller vent at the back or on the side of the fridge. 

This vent is also prone to attracting dust and can be vacuumed clean with the same brush attachment.

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The inside of the refrigerator should not be ignored either. Now is a good time to take out all food items and detach drawers and shelves to give the interior a good wipe-down.

Dryer vent

Cleaning out a dryer’s lint filter after every (or a few) loads of laundry is a must — but what about the gunk that’s stuck in the machine’s vent tubes? 

To reach down the long tubing, a dryer vent cleaning brush attached to the end of a drill is the best tool to use. The nylon rods that lock together can reach deep into the vent from the outside of the home to pull out stuck lint and residue.

The use of a shop vac or garbage bag to catch dust remnants outside will prevent from having to pick up small pieces off the ground later. 

Pleshek also shared another cool tip for homeowners or renters: Push out any lint from the vent on the inside of the home with a leaf blower.

Dishwasher filter 

Not every dishwasher has one of these, but newer models have a secret filter located on the bottom-middle of the machine. And yes, it needs to be cleaned!

A dirty filter is shown pulled out of the inside of a dishwasher. (iStock)

A dirty filter is shown pulled out of the inside of a dishwasher. (iStock)

The cylinder-shaped filter will twist and pull out of its base — and it can then be scrubbed or soaked in the sink with dish soap and warm water. For any odors, rinse and soak with vinegar. 

In the case of a stinky dishwasher, Pleshek broke the news that this filter is most likely the culprit. Placing a cup of vinegar inside the machine during a cycle can also help neutralize odors.

Mattresses

There might be a few different methods to the mattress-cleaning madness, but there’s no doubt hydrogen peroxide works just like magic, Pleshek advised.

Misting the top of a mattress with some hydrogen peroxide and wiping it down with a microfiber towel will do the trick for a full clean, he said.

Leaving spots on the mattress is inevitable, but a little hydrogen peroxide will lift most stains right out. (iStock)

Leaving spots on the mattress is inevitable, but a little hydrogen peroxide will lift most stains right out. (iStock)

As we sleep, we’re bound to leave spots on our mattresses from sweat, drool — or maybe some other (better-not-to-mention) yellow spots from little ones or pets. 

Pleshek’s best tip for spot-cleaning stains is to spray hydrogen peroxide and then lift the stain with a spotter machine.

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"It’s kind of amazing, hydrogen peroxide," he said. "You spray it on a drool mystery spot on your mattress — you’ll just kind of watch it over a minute just start to disappear."

Curtains (the window and shower kind, that is)

Depending on the type of textile they’re made from, cleaning curtains can be tricky. 

For the most part, window curtains will be dusty, so taking a vacuum with a brush head and sucking up any dust and debris is a good start.

Brandon Pleshek of Wisconsin, who runs the popular Clean That Up, shared an array of spring-cleaning tips with Fox News Digital in March 2022 — the perfect time to remember all those forgotten spots around the home.

Brandon Pleshek of Wisconsin, who runs the popular Clean That Up, shared an array of spring-cleaning tips with Fox News Digital in March 2022 — the perfect time to remember all those forgotten spots around the home. (Fox News Digital)

For a deeper clean, Pleshek suggested filling a bucket with a drop of dish soap and water and soaking the curtains, since not every kind can be thrown in the washing machine. 

If your curtains have a tag, check the cleaning instructions first before submerging them in water.

In the shower, your plastic curtain liner can also be thrown in the washing machine with a cup of vinegar to knock out mildew spots. Then, re-hang to dry.

Toys and gaming devices

Toys around the house (whether they've been lying on the floor or "tasted" by a toddler) are almost certainly in need of a deep clean. 

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The simplest tip is to throw any plastic or rubber toys into a mesh laundry bag and soak the entire bag in dish soap and water in the sink. 

The bag can then be rinsed off and air-dried in the sun outside. 

A little rubbing alcohol thrown into the mix will take care of sanitizing, but be sure it doesn't erode certain toys like Legos, advised Pleshek.

Some toys can be thrown right into the dishwasher onto the top rack for a deep, sanitized clean.

As for video game controllers, they can get gunked up from being held by lots of greasy hands. 

Focused on game. Two concentrated young men playing video games while sitting on sofa. (iStock)

Focused on game. Two concentrated young men playing video games while sitting on sofa. (iStock)

Pleshek suggested combing out residue from the controllers’ crevices with a toothpick and spraying them down with a 50-50 rubbing alcohol-water mixture. 

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After that, they can be wiped clean with a microfiber towel.

For more spring-cleaning tips, watch the video at the top of this article, or click here to access it.