FARGO - Spring cleaning is a rite of passage for many homeowners, and its roots reach deeper than a drain-cleaning snake ever could.

The tradition of deep-cleaning a house in the spring stemmed from the historical practice of heating a closed up house with coal, oil or wood.

After months of keeping doors and windows as sealed as possible, spring offered a welcome respite from the dingy winter as entire families scoured the home from top to bottom, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica blog.

Though the tasks and time available for such cleaning have evolved, families still use spring as a great opportunity to take on chores not part of the weekly cleaning routine.

Susan Strasser, author of "Never Done: A History of American Housework" noted in a 2010 Washington Post article that the tradition of spring cleaning transcends time.

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"I think the tradition has carried on because life really does seem to open up in the spring with the lengthening of days and warmth," Strasser said in the article. "Our bodies respond to the change in seasons."

Checklists are a great help when it comes to taking on major house cleaning projects, but even some of the best lists may overlook a few areas of a home that deserve attention.

Here are five of the most overlooked - yet most important - home cleaning chores not to miss this spring.

Refrigerator and stoves

Ease those appliances away from the wall so you can clean under, behind and beside them. For the refrigerator, use a ladder or chair to clean the top.

And don't forget to clean the refrigerator coils - doing so can boost the appliance's energy efficiency by making it easier for the machine to keep food cold, according to a 2015 Electric Choice article.

Don't just clean around the stove, either; be sure to clean inside the oven (no matter how old those drips may be) and the drawer below (which is a great catch-all for crumbs).

JoAnne Halvorson, owner of Dust Busters Cleaning in Moorhead, said most people don't clean around larger appliances.

"You'll do it and think it's just gross, but who really pulls out their stove and refrigerator? I don't know anyone who does, unless they're moving," she said.

Worried that you might scratch your floor by moving that heavy appliance across it? Don't. Those appliances are built to accommodate movement, Halvorson said.

Still anxious? Spray some furniture polish on the floor so it moves easier, she suggested. Or, lay down a bathmat with the carpet side down and ease the appliance on to it for easier moving.

Ceiling and bathroom fans

It's easy to ignore things above your head, but clean fans and vent covers can drastically improve air quality.

"Many people forget to clean their ceiling fans, but when those are running, the dust is blowing right down on you," Halvorson said.

Once a year, remove the blades and wash them. The rest of the time, just use a duster with an extension to wipe them down.

Having a properly cleaned bathroom vent will keep mold and mildew at bay. If you've noticed an increased amount of either in your bathroom, chances are your fan is overdue for a good scrub down.

Carpets harbor a variety of germs, so steam clean them at least once a year, in addition to regular vacuuming.
Carpets harbor a variety of germs, so steam clean them at least once a year, in addition to regular vacuuming.


Microbiologist and author Philip Tierno, Jr., estimates that carpet can likely contain about 200,000 bacteria in every square inch. That's 4,000 times more gross than a toilet, according to a 2015 Men's Health article. That bacteria lurks in tiny fibers no matter how often you vacuum.

Do yourself a favor and give your carpets and rugs a thorough shampoo or steam clean this spring.

Everything hands touch

It may seem like a broad category, but it's easy to forget to wipe down light switches, door knobs and remote controls after spending several hours scrubbing floors, cabinets, counters and more.

Don't forget about appliances handled regularly, like coffee makers, toasters and blenders.

Taking the time to clean these items means eliminating one of the likeliest candidates for germ-spreading in your home.

Cleaning machines themselves

While deep cleaning, don't forget about the machines themselves. Washing machines and dishwashers need routine cleaning to keep clothes and dishes fresh.

Many new appliances have a cleaning setting already, but a simple mixture of vinegar, baking soda and hot water does wonders.

Halvorson also said many people forget to clean around their dishwashers and inside the door; you'd be surprised by how much food collects there.

As a nine-year owner of a cleaning business, Halvorson understands the demands on families today.

"Kitchens and bathrooms are the most neglected areas of the home because people just don't have the time to clean them," she said.

Spring is a great time to refresh your home and start anew from a clean slate - literally. Regardless of how much time you have to spend cleaning, starting with these often-ignored areas will rid your home of the layers of dirt and grime you didn't even realize were lurking nearby.

Cleaning checklist

Need more items for your cleaning checklist? Here are a few other areas you might want to pay special attention to during your next house cleaning, Halvorson said.

• Blinds

• Above kitchen cabinets

• Garbage cans

• Window tracks and frames

• Soap dishes and toothbrushes

• Behind the toilets and the walls around them (especially if you have small children learning how to use the toilet properly)

• Edge of rooms (use a hose attachment to vacuum between floor and trim)