There are many things at eye level in your home that need cleaning, so it's easy to ignore your baseboards all the way down there by the floor ... until one day, you notice just how dusty and grimy they are, and then it's all you can see. Cleaning your baseboards isn't something you need to dread or put off. Using a few simple cleaning hacks, deep cleaning your baseboards might be the easiest part of your entire spring-cleaning routine.
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1. Let There Be Light
Even when you're doing it efficiently, cleaning baseboards probably isn't your favorite job. Getting them really clean today could buy you weeks or months until you need to tackle this project again, so you don't want to discover tomorrow that you missed a big streak of grime in one section. It can be hard to see your baseboards clearly if the room is shadowy or if you can't comfortably kneel down in front of them. Prop up a flashlight (or your phone with its flashlight on) on the floor so the beam shines across the baseboard as you work.
2. Give Your Knees a Break
If you're able to get down and kneel on the floor, it tends to be easier to scrub at dirty baseboards than while you're bent over at the waist. However, what's good for your baseboards probably won't feel good for your knees. Grab a few towels, a gardening kneeler or a folded yoga mat to kneel on while you work.
3. Dust With Dryer Sheets
Has it been so long since your last deep cleaning that there's a visible layer of dust on your baseboards? First of all, there's no judgment. Second, there's a quick fix. Use dryer sheets to quickly dust neglected baseboards. The sheet should pull up a good amount of dust, pet hair and other large particulates.
4. Vacuum Before Cleaning
Your vacuum cleaner may have come with a brush attachment for its hose. Cleaning dirty baseboards is a good use for this vacuum attachment, especially if they still have dust and pet hair clinging to them after being wiped down with dryer sheets. Vacuuming the baseboards with the brush attachment should both loosen dried debris and suck it away.
5. DIY a Long-Reach Cleaning Tool
If you can't comfortably bend over enough to dust or scrub your baseboards, buy a bristle broom from the dollar store. Brushing the baseboards with the bristles should release some of the dust and debris clinging to them. Let it settle to the floor and sweep it into a dustpan.
You could also turn the broom into a long-handle duster. Wrap a dryer sheet or a microfiber cloth around the bristles and use large rubber bands to hold it in place. Running your DIY duster over the baseboards lets you pull up debris without bending over. You can also use this method to clean dirty baseboards by spritzing the microfiber cloth with cleaning solution and rubbing it along the dirty surface.
6. Clean With Vinegar or Dish Soap
Many people don't want to use harsh cleaning products in their home, especially if they have small kids or pets. Using white vinegar and/or dish soap makes a cleaning solution that works on your baseboards without posing a health risk to anyone in your home.
Mix about 1 cup of white vinegar into 1 gallon of warm water to make a solution that should be mild enough for even unpainted wood baseboards. Alternatively, put a few squirts of dish soap in a large bowl and fill it with warm water. Use a sponge or spray bottle to apply your vinegar solution or soapy water to the baseboards. Let them air dry.
7. Try a Toilet Wand
If you've used a toilet wand in the bathroom, you know how easy it is to scrub and clean with one of these handy tools. Buy a brand-new one just for cleaning baseboards and pull it out whenever you notice that a new scuff mark or dried gunk has formed there. Not only will the scrubber remove that dirt quickly but the long handle means you don't even have to bend over to clean.
8. Remove Stains With a Magic Eraser
It's one of the handiest cleaning tools in your cleaning routine for good reason. A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (or its generic alternative, a melamine foam sponge) is just abrasive enough to clean dirt and grime from baseboards yet not so abrasive that it's likely to scratch or damage the surface. Use a Magic Eraser to tackle any especially stubborn stains or scuff marks that remain after you've washed the baseboards.
9. Get in Crevices With Cotton Swabs
Naturally, dirt collects in the places that are hardest to clean. On baseboards, that tends to be in the corners and in the seam where the bottom of the baseboard meets the floor. Cotton swabs are the perfect cleaning tool for getting noticeable grime out of those crevices. Dip them in a vinegar or dish soap solution and scrub those nooks and crannies until dirt is gone.
10. Finish With Another Dryer Sheet
Clean baseboards will inevitably get dirty again, but rubbing them with a fresh dryer sheet could help them stay clean longer. The dryer sheet will give your baseboards a little of the same anti-static residue that coats your clothing in the dryer. That residue should repel dust, pet hair and other grime from adhering to your baseboards in the first place.