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Look up and look underneath, and you’ll find plenty of dirt, dust and grime. Make this the year you clean hard-to-reach areas on a regular basis so filth doesn’t built up.  

Take a look at these neglected areas of the home:  

Attic crawl spaces. Imagine how your service technician feels when he shimmies through this uncleaned space to check on your air conditioning system. Do him a favor and crawl through it yourself once a year to remove anything that might be in his way. While you’re there, notice any rodent droppings or loose insulation. Repair or replace the insulation, and call in a pest-control pro to deal with the mice.  

Celings. Use a step ladder to get as close to the ceiling as possible, and check every corner and crevice for cob webs. If you have a long enough vacuum cleaner attachment, use it to suck the dust and cob webs away. For extra-high ceilings, stand on the ladder with a duster made from fibers that attract dust, like the Pledge Duster Plus or a Swiffer duster with a pivoting head.  

Ceiling fan blades. The dust up there is probably thick enough to write your name in with your finger. Vacuum your blades with a brush attachment on an extended arm. Don’t use water; a dab of shoe polish will cover spots.  

Cabinet tops. Nobody sees the tops of your cabinets or the surface of your highest shelves—and so nobody remembers to clean them. Stand on a stool or step ladder and peer downward. You’ll see plenty of dust.  

Molding. You probably dust your chair rails because they’re at a height that makes them easy to see. But the molding around the top of the walls or over the doorways collects dust that rarely gets removed. Stand on a stool and dust them off regularly.  

Behind the toilet. You scrub the bowl and the seat, but do you get on your hands and knees to clean the back of the base and the floor behind it? If not, you’re inviting mold and mildew. Use a stiff broom to sweep behind the toilet and then wipe it down with an antibacterial cleaner.  

Behind the refrigerator. Chances are, you never pull your fridge away from the wall and sweep the floor behind and under it. Now is a good time to start doing that once a year. Sweep and scrub, and if your refrigerator coils are exposed underneath or on the back of the unit, clean them thoroughly while you’ve got it pulled away from the wall.  

Under the couch. If you can, recruit someone to help you move the couch so you can vacuum under and behind it. If you’re on your own, use a broom handle to fish out anything that’s hiding under there and then reach your longest vacuum cleaner attachment underneath to pull away the dust.  

Around wires and cables. That tangled mess behind your entertainment center or computer desk is a dust magnet. Unplug everything and clean it with a dry dusting cloth every couple of weeks. Use the same cloth to wipe down the computers, stereos and TV sets while you’re at it.  

Under the kitchen sink. You keep your cleaning supplies here—but when is the last time you cleaned it? Take it all out, wipe it down with a damp sponge and put everything back.

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