Things around the home I should be cleaning but never will

Life’s too short to clean the coils on the back of your fridge.

I have always subscribed to a basic minimum approach to cleaning.

But according to a lot of lifestyle cleaning gurus, there are many things I should be cleaning that don’t seem to be on my list of round-the-house must-dos.

Here are some cleaning tasks that are never going to happen in my house.

1. The coils on the back of my fridge


This one blindsided me because I was all ready to defend myself for not cleaning the inside of my fridge. And then all of a sudden we’re talking about back coils. Suffice to say, I didn’t even know they existed.

2. Outdoor bins

I do clean my kitchen bin pretty regularly. But the bins outside the house are a ‘death by garbage fumes’ situation for me.

I’ve never cleaned them, which means they’ve built up a toxic miasma of rubbish residue that is life-threatening to anyone who lingers too close for too long.

Taking the rubbish out in my house looks like this: open the lid, chuck another bag in and quickly slam it shut again before you smell it and die.

I’m not saying I’m proud of it, I’m just saying, it’s a safety issue

3. Tap aerators


I didn’t even realise this was a thing that could or should be cleaned. But according to websites like Buzzfeed and The Spruce, we should all be taking our taps apart and cleaning them.

This, to me, would be like the time I took my stove rangehood apart in order to clean it and then couldn’t put it back together again. I had to buy a new one.

I cannot afford new taps, therefore I cannot afford to pull them apart to clean them.

4. Laundry baskets

I have never seen the bottom of my laundry basket, so I have no idea whether or not it needs to be cleaned. I’m just going to assume not.

5. Outdoor furniture

This is a very good point. I really should clean my outdoor furniture.

The truth is, I’ve only ever done this once, by accident. A storm blew two of my outdoor chairs into the swimming pool and they came out as clean as a whistle.

I honestly felt like throwing the rest of the outdoor ensemble in there for good measure

6. Walls

This makes perfect sense. Walls are filthy. But the truth is, the only time I have ever cleaned walls is when I was moving out of a rental and wanted to get my bond back.

As my renting days are over, so too are my days of wiping walls.

7. Mattress

Its true. I really should be vacuuming my mattress because … dust mites and a whole host of microscopic bugs that are living and breeding in there and having parties.

However, until someone can show me this microscopic horror show with a magnifying apparatus, it’s easier for me to assume it does not exist.


Good list @PennyFlanagan . I’m the same about cleaning except the fridge coils and mattresses . I keep a an Aerosol Can of Bosistos Eucalyptus oil and give the mattresses a hit with about every 6 months .


The tops of the ceiling fan blades and body, and the evaporative cooling vent louvres in the ceiling. Once per annum for each, for me. In a good year :wink:


Some good reasons for cleaning those often forgotten things:

Back of fridge:
Keep free of dust to avoid overheating and problems to fridge.

Outdoor Bins:
Breeding ground for flies and blow flies.

A good wash with sugar soap could eliminate need of painting the wall.

If you can see dust on your bedroom furniture there’s dust on your mattress,
breeding ground for dust mites .

Sorry, no one likes house work, but it needs to be done. ( I’m sounding more like my mother every day ):frowning:


Gosh! I just did the shower head and tap aerators in the last 5 minutes! Then sat down to look at “New” posts.

Due to drought we are conserving our drinking water supply (on tanks) and plumbed in a “suspect” tank for toilet, laundry and shower. Suspect because it disgorges algae which gets stuck to the outlet mesh. The pump surges, which might be a combination of pressure not regulated properly and partially blocked outlets. So, I cleaned the crud out of the various outlets.

Fridge coils - fully sealed on our 5 year old fridge. Whew!
Air con filters - done! Outside Units - Done
Grease trap - done
Grey water pump pulled up and serviced, grit & crud removed from tank.
Septic pipes inspected and cleaned - serious leak in one due to ground movement (drought?)
Kitchen cupboards emptied & contents washed, and mass slaughter of cockroaches - done last week
Drinking water filter about to be replaced - real slimy, gunky, messy job as it is above head height and rains down upon me while I try to get the last thread to let go.
Cleaned bathroom pipes while the green frogs were out croaking. 5 of them live in the bathroom & laundry and patrol the house at night in search of insects (I clean the walls where the frogs drag damp dust up) I really should sweep more often…

I must try the outdoor furniture in pool …


Horrible job…


In some more modern fridges and freezers you can’t safely access the coils anyway. Making this an impossible task for the normal householders.

Depends on the state of our neighbours, if they look like they have breathing difficulty on opening our bin it gets a hose, if not then leave well enough alone.

We only clean them when flow issues occur eg no aeration or visible lack of flow.

Ditto re your level of enthusiasm.

AC Filters seem to be forgotten by some as are fan blades as @PhilT notes do need cleaning if only to hide the growing tendril of gunk and fluff.



Our Fisher & Paykel fridge is devoid of these. The heat exchanges are located in the side walls instead.

Never done these. The outside gets a wash when it rains on the same day as the bin collection (bins are otherwise stored under tte house).

Only done once about 15 years ago when stream became uneven.

Never, gut check it is ckean before bringing inside just in case it was dirty.

Weekly with a damp microfibre cloth.

Oil about every 6-8 years to protect timber (furniture is located outdoors and undercover).

Only times was after the timber floor was sanded for polyurethane coating…and just before painting.

We use an underlay instead which gets washed…maybe annually.

Some additional ones…

  • Ceiling fans…do these twice a year (spring and autumn) as they become dust traps
  • Ceiling of the microwave…being tall, hardly ever see the ceiling unless I bend down. If I don’t bend down, it doesn’t need a clean as it isn’t seen.
  • Glass/plastic light covers - insects seem to accumulate after a year or two and cleaning does make the rooms brighter. The only downside is one needs steady legs when climbing on a chair/small ladder.

Are you guys kidding? I’m flat out just getting the floors vacuumed and washed and dusting done never mind fridge coils, if my fridge even has them (and I’m not about to look) and wall washing.



There is some good reasons to clean the fridge coils where they exist and there has been an accumulation of dust on these coils…

Whirlpool for example suggest

There is typically no need for routine condenser cleaning in a normal home operating environment. However, if the environment is particularly greasy or dusty, or there is significant pet traffic in the home, the condenser should be cleaned every 2 to 3 months to ensure maximum efficiency.

If one’s house is not overly dusty, then there may not be a need but it is still worth checking (as a reliable fridge may be around for a decade or two collecting dust) to ensure that they are clean and can do their job as a heat exchange.


After our piece-of junk US made Amana fridge, sold by Kleenmaid, at our previous home needed repairs, I bought the parts online from the US including a couple of coil cleaning brushes.

The coils were incredibly dirty.

Next time it broke down, we bought an LG which we sold with the house, and bought a second one for our current home.

It does not appear to have any accessible coils and I suspect that they are under the bulge on top of the fridge.


OT? The folks who originally built our house had the kitchen fridge cavity designed around a 'Kleenmaid Amana BX-518V . It was not a standard Aussie size and nothing else of the capacity fit the space, so when we moved in we bought ‘The’ Amana.

17+ years on it has had one problem, a defrost temperature sensor split open and needed replacement. The part was generic. Today the thermostats are on the original settings from 2002, it keeps pretty constant temperature as evidenced by the fridge and freezer thermometers, its cycle rate does not seem to have increased suggesting its compressor is still good, the door seals have yet to show perceptible wear, and it seems far from a ‘piece of junk’.

OK, I had to re-level the ice maker after the defrost sensor was replaced, but that was a workman missing it more than a failure.

The house is low maintenance, low dust. The coils are under the unit and we brush and vac them once every year or three when there is a seriously boring day and even being bored is too much. We also pull it out of its cavity to vacuum inside the cavity just because it seems like a right thing to do while we are at it.

I guess what is or is not a ‘piece of junk’ may be in the eye of the beholder, or the luck of how good or bad a specific box one has may be. Even some Jeeps are reliable :wink:


Our experiences included a water leak which damaged part of the kitchen walls and cupboards, the wiring loom from the fridge door to the fridge shorting out and destroying the control board, the compressor cooling fan failing whilst we were away on holidays resulting in a can of pasteurised crabmeat exploding and covering everything inside, and I don’t recall the final insult prior to it being relocated to its proper home at the tip.

We had to get the overhead cupboard modified for the LG as we also had to do at our current home as the original owner had a GE fridge.

They wanted to know if we were interested in buying it.



Seems you had a real ‘jeep’ :laughing:


Didn’t see exhaust fans in the list, every couple of years seems the buildup is enough to become visual.

Smoke detectors - for us the hardwired detectors began false alarming some years after install, consult Google and then vacuum cleaner with brush head around the slotted openings in the detector and issue resolved.

And if you are really bored there is the tops of the roller doors (when they are in down position) that you can see as the door starts to revolve when opening.


Off topic but I just searched “window cleaning” and was surprised it appears no dedicated thread as there are some newer, but maybe gimmicky, devices like vacuums and steam cleaners for domestic applications.


Not mentioned is the range hood. The filters need regular cleaning as do the gutters inside the hood, all of which builds up oily fats, and other detritus. These can potentially be fire hazards, and I have seen one catch light in a commercial kitchen.

Also don’t forget behind (and underneath) the cushions on the sofa. You can find all sorts of forgotten treasures there.

Finally, If you have a cupboard above the fridge, there is a gap between it and the wall where the heat rises, along with all the lint and dust. It is a favoured haunt for spiders and other creapy crawlies. That needs a clean too.


Also, if you have a pelmet over you windows, it needs a good cleaning at least once a year as it gathers dust and it’s a favourite “let’s go and die there” place for moths.

I hate to do mine because it means getting onto a ladder to reach the top and shifting the position of the ladder as I move along the window, and my windows take almost all of the wall width.


That’s assuming we do the right thing and not make our bed very soon after getting up.
Ideally, we should open the bedroom window, and remove all bedding (mattress protector included) and let the mattress air and breath and dry off.

Dust we can vacuum off but moisture leads to mould and all its nasty consequences.

I feel there’s a correlation between
good housekeeping and healthy eating
for our overall health.


How many clean their bed cover - this would collect much dust? As a side issue I saw clip from the UK where someone cut their childs bathtime rubber ducky open and it was full of crap - breeding ground for all sorts of bacteria.