37 Gross Mistakes You're Making That'll Freak You The Eff Out

Here’s how to make your home cleaner, safer, and more pleasant to live in.

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No matter how much of a clean freak you are, there are surely areas of your home that you’ve overlooked. That’s not an insult to your fastidiousness but merely a comment on the sheer number of tasks there are to do around the house at any given time. Taking care of a home can be a full-time job, and especially if you rent, it’s important to be on it with your cleaning schedule to make moving out easier and guarantee you’ll get your security deposit back. As a young adult currently living in my first real, non-college apartment, I’ve come to realize how much I’ve been inadvertently neglecting — like, did you know that you need to periodically clean your washing machine? Because I did not until much more recently than I’d like to admit.

It can feel overwhelming, but taking back your home from some gross mistakes isn’t impossible. There are tons of resources out there to help and products that can assist along the way too. Maybe you’ve become hyper-aware of your cleanliness due to the past few years, or maybe you’re looking to get your living space back on track or prepare for the upcoming holiday season. These 38 things will help you realize — and correct — the errors of your ways. You’re allowed to freak out for a moment, but then it’s time to strap your rubber gloves on and get to scrubbing (you can start with your plates and then move on to the hardcore stuff, like your garbage disposal.) There’s no time like the present to make your home cleaner, safer, and more pleasant to live in.


These Airtight Containers That Keep Food Fresh For Longer

From lentils to pasta, there’s a better way to keep your food fresh than leaving it in its original packaging. In these food storage containers, dry foods remain sealed with an airtight lid. They keep your food fresh and also prevent pantry bugs from getting to them before you do. The set of seven comes in various sizes for different types of food and includes 24 reusable labels.


If You Never Wash Your Washing Machine, You Need These Cleaning Tablets

You might think that because your washing machine cleans your clothes, it doesn’t need to be cleansed itself. But without regular cleaning, your washing machine accumulates layers of residue that cause unpleasant odors and grime that can transfer to your clothes. The fix is easy: Use these Affresh washing machine cleaner tablets once a month (or after a particularly grimy load of laundry) to deeply clean your machine. Just drop it in your empty washer and set your machine to its self-cleaning cycle. They have over 100,000 five-star ratings.


This Vacuum Attachment Clears Lint From Deep Within Your Dryer

A different sort of risk applies to not deep cleaning your dryer’s lint trap regularly: It can start a fire. That’s the last thing we all want, so stock up on this affordable vacuum attachment that reaches deep inside your dryer to remove all traces of lint. If your lint trap is dirty, you can practically guarantee there’s more built up within the inner mechanisms of your dryer. This attachment is extra long, flexible, and fits on most vacuum hoses. You’ll be shocked at how much lint and debris comes out.


These Tablets Clean All The Gunk Out Of Your Daily Water Bottle

I know I’m guilty of not washing my everyday water bottle nearly as often as I should, but it’s so easy with these bottle cleaning tablets. All you have to do is fill your water bottle with warm water and drop a tablet in, then allow it to stand for up to 30 minutes while it does the hard work of removing stains and odors for you. After that, empty the water and give it a quick rinse — absolutely no scrubbing required. You can also use it with your to-go coffee mugs, camping coolers, and any other reusable liquid container.


This UV Light Box For Sanitizing & Charging Your Phone

Your phone goes everywhere with you (and I mean everywhere), and can quickly become home to a host of germs and bacteria. For something that regularly touches your hands and face, that’s pretty gross to consider, so every household should be equipped with a phone sanitizer box. It uses ultraviolet light to thoroughly sanitize every nook and cranny of your phone, and it also works for other small objects like smartwatches and pieces of jewelry. It also acts as a power bank with 5,000 mAH available to top off your phone’s power.


A Cleaning Kit Just For That Removes The Build-Up Inside Your Keurig Machine

Um, has anyone ever cleaned out the inside of their Keurig machine? That’s exactly what I thought, but coffee machines are prone to the buildup of lime scale and mineral and you can easily take care of it with this cleaning and descaler kit. Over time, this can affect the flavor of your morning cupful. It’s ridiculously easy too: Just run a large cycle on your Keurig with the cleaning pod inside to take care of that grimy build-up.


This Combination Shoe Rack & Bench Will Encourage Everyone To Remove Their Shoes At The Door

One of the easiest ways to keep your floors cleaner is to make your home a shoe-free zone. Encourage your household and guests to remove their shoes at the door with this handy bamboo shoe rack and bench combo, which offers two generous racks for storing shoes. It can support up to 220 pounds and fits in neatly in any entryway or closet.


A Double–Layer Litter Mat For Messy Kitties

If you have a cat, then you know how they can scatter litter all over the floor upon exiting the litter box. Spreading cat poop around your house probably isn’t your idea of cleanliness, so stop it before it starts with this specially-designed litter mat. It has two envelope-style layers: The top one with a mesh honeycomb design so that litter falls through to the waterproof bottom layer. Simply tip the rug over the trash to empty it, and hose and vacuum it as needed for a deeper clean.


This Sink Attachment Helps Keep Your Dish Washing Tools Cleaner

When you leave your dirty dish brush and sponge to dry on the side of your sink, they sit in their own filthy water until it’s time to use them again. The simplest solution is this sink caddy, which attaches to the wall of your sink with suction cups and has slots for all your dish washing supplies. Silicone drains at the base of each slot allow them to drip into the sink and dry faster, minimizing the growth of bacteria and saving some space on your kitchen counter.


This Silicone Dish Scrubber Will Get Your Dishes Peachy Clean Without Getting Stinky

As we’ve established, your standard dish sponge can get pretty gross, so it’s better to swap it out for this silicone scrubber that dries quickly. The scrubbers in this three-pack are anti-microbial and mildew-resistant, and they repels odors so it’s safe to use it until it literally falls apart. It even smells like fresh peaches, and won’t scratch your pots and pans.


This Sticky Gel Is Perfect For Cleaning Hard-To-Reach Spots

There are some places that present a unique challenge to clean, like your computer’s keyboard or the vents of your car. This cleaning gel is a sticky cleaning device made from flexible, biodegradable gel that slides neatly into every nook and cranny to collect dust and dirt. It smells lightly of lavender and is reusable over and over until it loses its sticky texture. Just tear off a small piece and knead it into a ball, then roll it over the surface you wish to clean until no trace of dirt remains.


A Wooden Shower Mat That’s Way Cleaner Than Your Old Fabric Mat

If you can’t remember the last time you replaced your bath mat, then it’s time to upgrade to this bamboo shower mat. Not only does it look better than your average fabric mat, it’s also safer and more sanitary because it dries faster and is equipped with non-skid rubber stoppers. Make sure to tip it on its side after each use to help it dry out and last longer.


A Plant-Based Shower Spray That Prevents Mold & Mildew From Forming

Your shower is obviously a moisture-intensive environment, which makes it ripe for the growth of bacteria, mold, and mildew. Prevention is key, and this Method daily shower spray makes it easy to keep up with daily cleaning. The plant-based formula smells of delightful ylang ylang, and you’ll find heavier cleaning days are much easier if you use this regularly.


A Hypoallergenic Shampoo Specifically For Washing Your Makeup Brushes

Regular cleaning of your makeup brushes not only helps them perform better but can also help alleviate acne and the spread of bacteria. The Ecotools makeup brush cleansing shampoo is super effective at removing product from your brushes. It’s gentle and won’t damage the soft bristles, and the formula is vegan, dermatologist-tested, and free of parabens, phthalates, and fragrance. Use it once a week to keep your brushes in prime condition and ready for your next look.


This Pumice Stone Removes Calcium Deposits, Rust Stains & More From Your Toilet

Perhaps you’ve scrubbed your skin with a pumice stone before, but have you ever thought to scrub your toilet with it? This pumice toilet bowl cleaner is an innovative way to remove hard-to-clean stains in your toilet, sink, shower, and more. It’s odorless, chemical-free, and requires nothing but water to activate it. Store it in its case when you’re done using it and allow to dry until it’s cleaning day again.


These Fast-Acting Fruit Fly Traps That Blend Right In With The Fruit Bowl

Fruit flies quickly become the bane of your existence and are tough to get rid of once they appear. Terro’s fast-acting fruit fly traps are one of the easiest ways to combat these pests, and the colorful apple-shaped trap blends in with your fruit bowl so they don’t suspect a thing. Each one lasts up to 45 days, luring the flies into a sticky trap. Each one has a built-in window so you can keep an eye on the flies you’ve caught.


These Refrigerator Mats That Make It Easier To Keep Your Fridge Shelves Clean

Lining your refrigerator is something you might not immediately consider, but it can do a lot to prevent messes and make cleaning out your fridge a little less painful. This nine-pack of colorful, rubber-like mats are food-grade and can be cut to size to fit each of your shelves and drawers. They wipe clean with ease, and they’re waterproof, oil-proof, and even recyclable.


A 10-Pound Bag Of This Non-Toxic Pesticide Is All You Need To Get Rid Of Unwanted Insects Anywhere

Problems with pests will be a thing of the past once you coat your garden, your home, or even your pets with a thin layer of this food-grade diatomaceous earth powder. Bed bugs, aphids, fleas, cockroaches, and other insects will be banished in a safe, non-toxic way that doesn’t harm you or your family (including pets). It’s less than $30 for a 10 pound bag, so you’re also getting a much better deal here than on other pest solutions.


Use These Modern Hooks To Air-Dry Your Towels & Avoid That Mildewy Stench

Never let your towel stay damp on the floor again once you install these matte black stainless steel hooks. They come with all the hardware you need to screw them into the wall, and each one can hold about 11 pounds. They’re waterproof and rustproof, so they can withstand even the moisture-rich environment of your bathroom or laundry room.


These Toilet Gels Help Keep The Bowl Clean For Longer

Cleaning your toilet is a loathsome chore, but you can help the results last longer with these Scrubbing Bubbles toilet cleaning gels. Each gel stamps onto the inside of a clean toilet bowl and activates with every flush, releasing a delightful scent, freshening the bowl, and preventing stains and build-up. It installs touch-free and lasts up to 12 days — and you just can’t beat the price.


A Sweet Welcome Mat For Indoors Or Out

I live in rainy Oregon, so a doormat is an absolute must to prevent everyone who enters my home from tracking in muddy water. Welcome guests and residents alike with this adorable home sweet home doormat, which works both indoors and out and is made from one of the strongest natural fibers in the world. It measures 17 by 30 inches and has a non-slip backing so it won’t slide around even on slick floors.


These Clever Covers Fill In That Gap Between Your Stove & Your Counters

If you haven’t already noticed that pesky gap between your countertop and stovetop, you’ll probably find a lot of crumbs, lint, and spills that are difficult to clean out without moving your oven. Prevent more from happening with these stove counter gap covers, a set of two heat-resistant silicone covers that slide in perfectly to cover the cracks. And when spills happen, you can wipe them clean with a damp cloth or stick them in the dishwasher.


A Mini Vacuum To Clean Your Desk Up

If you eat at your desk (guilty), then there are almost certainly crumbs, dust, and other debris that have accumulated. Clean it up easily using this desktop vacuum cleaner, a cordless, mini vacuum made for small messes. At just over 2 inches tall, this little machine packs a punch but is quiet enough to run while you’re busy doing other things. It’s battery-powered and rotatable 360 degrees to get those hard-to-reach corners.


These Tablets Thoroughly Clean The Inside Of Your Dishwasher For Cleaner Dishes

Just like your washing machine, your dishwasher also needs regular cleaning sessions, and these Affresh dishwasher cleaning tablets make it a ridiculously easy task. They’ll powerfully remove any limescale and mineral build-up from the inside of your dishwasher and leave you with cleaner dishes as a result. Run your dishwasher with or without dishes inside, and place one to two of these tablets inside for a monthly deep clean.


This Mix Will Nix Mosquitoes On Your Property Before They Even Hatch

When your backyard is plagued by mosquitoes, use the mosquito bits’ proven formula for getting rid of them within a day. The quick-acting formula is deposited into standing water, such as ponds, pools, bird baths, and flower pots, and eliminates mosquito larvae starting within 24 hours and for up to 14 days. The 30-ounce bag is more than enough for household use, and you can rest assured that it’s safe to use around kids, pets, plants, and other animals.


These Mini Lens Wipes Help Keep Your Electronic Devices Clean & Smudge-Free

You use your devices every day, so show them a little love with these lens and screen cleaning wipes. The pack of 210 individually wrapped, pre-moistened wipes work on practically any screen or glass surface, including phones, tablets, computer screens, cameras, and even eyeglasses. It’s one small way to make your electronics a little more sanitary and remove smudges and dirt easily and gently. Toss a few in your bag so they’re handy wherever you go.


A Super-Powerful Cleanser For All Kitchen & Bathroom Surfaces

It might be called Bar Keepers Friend, but this powder cleanser for all bathroom and kitchen surfaces will also become your best friend. It cleans and polishes nearly any surface in these rooms, from porcelain to stainless steel. Rust, mineral deposits, and other tough stains will be banished with way less work on your part. One reviewer wrote: “The 40 year old shower stall in the home I inherited presented me with a huge cleaning challenge...I tried a small test section and was absolutely shocked at how quickly and effectively it took away the rust stains I had unsuccessfully approached before.”


These Oven Liners Prevent Spilled Food From Ruining Your Oven

Once you spill food on the bottom of your oven, there’s no going back — unless you’re using these heavy-duty oven liners. They rest on the bottom of your oven or on the lower racks and act as a barrier for falling food. Made from durable fiberglass, they’re easy to clean and to trim to size. One reviewer wrote “My kids like to cook pizzas directly on the rack and the cheese used to melt on the bottom of my oven, stinking it all up and being hard to clean. Now the cheese falls on the liner and I shake it over the sink before I use the oven and have no problems with burnt cheese smell spoiling my next meal.”


This Portable Handheld Vacuum Is Perfect For Cleaning Up Everyday Messes

A handheld vacuum is a lot easier to use for quickly clearing everyday messes, and this one is a favorite with over 8,000 positive reviews. It’s cordless and lightweight but still powerful for cleaning dry spills in the car and around the house. It comes with a wall-mount base and charger and a crevice tool for reaching difficult spots.


This Gel Cleans Between Your Tiles With No Manual Labor Required

This fast-acting and powerful mold and mildew stain cleaner is one of the most low-maintenance cleaning products you’ll ever invest in. After applying between the tiles in your kitchen or bathroom, simply allow it to sit and do its thing for up to eight hours. Wash off, and see how much cleaner your grout looks with no scrubbing required.


This Kit Will Make Your Headlights Look Brand New

Over time, your car’s headlights become cloudier because of micro-scratching from the dust and dirt that hits them at full speed as you drive. Bring them back to their previous clarity and brightness by treating them with this headlight restoration kit, which requires a little elbow grease with results that will last for years. The kit comes with gloves, a chemical solution, and a terrycloth towel.


This Layered Cleaning Tool Makes Dusting Your Blinds That Much Easier

Your window blinds are probably a magnet for dust but also a huge pain to clean. This product, a slotted blind duster with microfiber sleeves, makes it so much easier to thoroughly dust them. You can use it with or without a spray, and clamp each blind between multiple blades to quickly sweep off all dust and lint. It cuts down on your time spent dusting, so you can do, well, literally anything else.


A Specially-Designed Brush That Fits Inside Your Water Bottle

The inside of your water bottle has seen some stuff, and this OXO bottle brush is specially designed to get it all off. It fits even in bottles with narrow necks with a soft, ergonomic handle that’s easy to hold. Scrub it up as needed because this brush won’t scratch and is even gentle enough to clean wine glasses and crystal.


These Capsules Clean Your Garbage Disposal & Deodorize Your Sink

If your garbage disposal is getting a little funky, then what you need to clean out the crud without taking it apart are these disposal cleaner capsules by Arm & Hammer. They’re ridiculously easy to use and will clean food particles out of your disposal throughly with their trusted baking soda formula, leaving behind a fresh citrusy scent. You get 24 capsules for just $10, which is more than enough for regular cleaning sessions.


These Cleaning Brushes Attach To A Cordless Drill To Help You Clean Your Tiles Faster

You might not have considered pulling out the power tools to clean your house, but when you’re cleaning tiles or other large or intricate areas, it just makes sense. This power scrubber brush kit attaches to a drill and cleans surfaces with ease. This kit is compatible with most cordless drills, and there are three brushes as well as an extended reach attachment included.


This Cleaning & Polishing Kit Will Keep Your Stainless Steel In Prime Condition

Stainless steel appliances are sleek and impressive-looking, so to keep them that way, invest in this stainless steel cleaner kit. The cleaner and polish spray works to remove fingerprints, watermarks, residue and grease from your refrigerator, oven, sink, and more, while the microfiber towel buffs it out without leaving scratches or lint behind. Even better, the spray is made from a plant-based formula that’s safe to use around kids and pets, and it smells of soothing lavender.


This Tray Turns The Arm Of Your Couch Into A Mini Table For Your Drink

The arm of your sofa becomes an additional table in an instant with this bamboo sofa arm tray, and you’ll be way less likely to spill or leave a mess when using this. It offers a flat surface for your drink or a small snack, and it protects your sofa from water damage. A finishing coat on the top means that water rings and other spills won’t leave stains, and it’s easy to clean as needed.

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