These Are the Best Tools for Cleaning Hard-to-Reach Areas

Sharon Brandwein
Written by Sharon Brandwein
Updated April 19, 2022
clean white kitchen appliances
Photo: Raymond Forbes Photography/Stocksy/Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Disposable dusters are great for tackling ceiling fans.

  • Vacuum hose attachments are ideal for high and low spots.

  • Sometimes your hands are the best cleaning tools you have.

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For some areas in your home, out of sight is out of mind. Not to be the bearer of bad news, but dirt and dust won’t stay hidden for long. At some point, you’ll look up (or look under) only to find an unwanted trove of grime lying in wait for you. 

Understandably, high ceilings, the space under your refrigerator, and the tops of your kitchen cabinets are not on your weekly house cleaning checklist. But every so often, you have to face the music and tackle these tough cleaning jobs. If you’re a little rusty on what you need to clean and how to clean it, here are some tips on cleaning hard-to-reach areas in your home.

Under Major Appliances and Furniture 

The space under large—and heavy—appliances is notoriously neglected, and understandably so. If you wanted to bench press, you’d go to the gym, right? But those areas can and will accumulate plenty of dirt, dust, and debris, not to mention an interesting assortment of crumbs, toys, and whatever else your family can muster. 

Fortunately, your vacuum often comes with a few good cleaning tools for hard-to-reach places. But while crevice tools and extendable hoses can be helpful, they may not do a thorough job. To effectively deep clean under large appliances like your fridge or your stove, you might have to do some heavy lifting.  

To clean behind your fridge, for example, you will need to unplug your refrigerator and pull it away from the wall leaving yourself enough room to get back there and clean it. Once you've freed up your space, you can start by using your vacuum brush attachments or a broom to tackle the dust and debris accumulated behind your fridge. Once you sweep away the dirt, you can follow up with a mop or cleaning rag dampened with a mild cleaning solution to thoroughly clean. 

Safety note: It’s important to be careful and know your physical limitations when it comes to moving big, heavy objects. You can call a local handyperson to come help you with this type of task. 

Refrigerator Coils 

Speaking of cleaning behind your fridge, refrigerator coils are notorious dust collectors. Over time, the buildup of dust, debris, and maybe even pet hair can impede proper ventilation, ultimately affecting your refrigerator’s performance. So, while you’re cleaning under your fridge, you might want to have a go at your refrigerator coils while you’re back there. 

While your fridge is unplugged and away from the wall, cleaning the coils is as easy as dusting them with a brush. Alternatively, you can use the brush attachments on your vacuum cleaner to clean the condenser coils. It’s worth noting that if you use your vacuum’s brush attachments, you’ll make quick work of the task and keep the mess to a manageable minimum. 

Ceiling Fans and Light Fixtures

man cleaning ceiling fan with rag
Photo: ittipol/Adobe Stock

Ceiling fans are another part of your home where the fixture is out of sight, so the dirt and dust on them are typically out of mind. But while it's not in your face, you can be sure the dust is there. As your ceiling fans work tirelessly to keep your home cool in the summer months or to redistribute the warm air during the colder months, they tend to accumulate plenty of dust on their blades. 

Not only are dirty fan blades far less efficient at moving the air in your home, but they're also a good resting place for pollen and other allergens. And when you flip the switch on, those fan blades make a pretty good delivery system for those particles. 

A disposable duster with an extendable handle should do the trick to properly clean your ceiling fan. Ideally, you'll want to use something like a Swiffer Duster that traps and locks the dirt on the duster itself as opposed to a feather duster that just sprinkles the dirt and dust all over your room. 

To deep clean your fan blades, you will need a ladder and a microfiber rag dampened with a bit of all-purpose cleaner. Once you've secured your ladder in place, use the pre-moistened rag to wipe away any dirt and dust accumulated on your fan blades. Remember that ceiling fans are not exceptionally robust, so take care with the amount of pressure you apply. 

Behind the Toilet

Toilet bowl cleanings may be on your weekly to-do list, but the space behind the toilet is often neglected. Over time, as you might have guessed, that area of your bathroom tends to become pretty dirty. 

You might be able to use your vacuum's hose attachment to clean the space behind your toilet, but it's a rigid tool in a pretty tight spot, so you'll only get so far. In this case, the cleaning tools you need for hard-to-reach places are your hands. 

If it's been a while since you've cleaned the space behind the toilet, you might want to start with a stiff brush to break up and remove any dust and grime that's accumulated back there. To keep the mess to a minimum, use your vacuum crevice tool or brush attachment to pick up that dust and debris. After you've tackled the dry dust and debris, follow up with a cleaning rag dipped in warm water (you might want to break out the disinfectant for this one, too) to wipe down the area behind the toilet. While you're back there, you may want to give the base of the toilet a thorough wipe down as well. 

High Ceilings and Moldings 

High ceilings are nice out-of-the-way spots for spiders to set up shop. If you haven't looked at yours in quite some time, you might look up to see a few more webs than you bargained for. Lucky for you, breaking up the party is as easy as using your vacuum hose and extendable attachments to get into the far reaches. You can also use a duster with an extendable handle to get up there as well. 

Angi Tip: A word to the wise, you may want to tackle the ceilings in your room first so that you can pick up any dust and debris that falls to the floor on your final pass with the vacuum.

Window Blinds

woman cleaning window blinds with rag
Photo: Khaligo/iStock/Getty Images

Windows sit unobtrusively in the corners of our home. From day to day, they do the heavy lifting to ensure your privacy, and if well-insulated, they can really help you save money on your electric bill. And while window blinds don’t make it onto most weekly cleaning checklists, they tend to attract plenty of dirt and dust. 

When it’s time to clean your window blinds, disposable dusters are your best option as a cleaning tool because they effectively clean your blinds by trapping the dust instead of just moving it around. When cleaning your blinds using disposable dusters, remember that you’ll need to close them to clean one side and then reverse the direction to clean the other. 

If your motto is working smarter, not harder, you could tackle both sides of the blades at once by wrapping two microfiber cloths around each end of a pair of tongs (secure them with rubber bands to keep them in place) and sliding the tongs along the slats to clean both sides with one swipe. 

Angi Tip: Do not use water when cleaning your window blinds. The combination of dirt, dust, and water will lead to a muddy mess on your window blinds. In addition to making your chore exponentially more difficult, the “mud” you create will likely make its way onto the fabric of the cords and stain them forever. 

Sliding Door or Shower Door Tracks 

Whether they're for a sliding patio door or your shower, door tracks are dirt and dust magnets, and cleaning them is never at the top of anyone's list of favorite chores.

When you can't ignore dirty door tracks any longer, the best cleaning tool to start with might be your vacuum's crevice tool. After you've vacuumed the tracks to remove any dry dust and debris, you'll want to follow up with a flexible but stiff bristle brush dipped in a solution of warm water and a multi-purpose household cleaner to get into the nooks and crannies of the track. Once you've scrubbed away the grime, follow up with a damp microfiber cloth to wipe away any residue.

Tops of Kitchen Cabinets

Not only do the tops of kitchen cabinets tend to gather plenty of dust, but anyone who's ever taken a look up there will tell you that they can also get pretty gunky in a busy home kitchen.  

The first step in cleaning kitchen cabinets is to assess the situation. If you don't have an especially active kitchen, you might find that the dust is relatively dry, and a disposable duster with an extendable handle will suffice when cleaning the tops of your kitchen cabinets. 

If you have an active kitchen, however, you may find that there is plenty of grease that accumulates up there as well. To properly clean the tops of your kitchen cabinets, in this case, it's probably best to skip the duster altogether and go right to a cleaning rag dipped in a homemade cleaning solution of warm water, vinegar, and a splash of dish soap. The vinegar and dish soap will pack a nice one-two punch to cut through the grease on top of your kitchen cabinets. 

After you've wiped away the grime with your vinegar soap water solution, follow up with a cloth dipped in plain water, and then be sure to wipe the cabinet tops and dry with a clean microfiber cloth. 

If you’re not too jazzed about cleaning under your fridge or buying even more cleaning tools for hard-to-reach places, you can always hire a cleaning pro in your area to do it for you.

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