Cleaning baseboards: you may not love it, but you need to do it. Dirty baseboards can make a whole space feel unkempt and uncared for, so cleaning them is an important (if annoying) chore. Thankfully, with the help of a few experts, you can easily clean your baseboards and keep them clean longer. Keep reading to find out how.
Meet the Expert
- Kevin Geick is a manager at Bio Recovery, a nationwide deep-cleaning service, with over 20 years of experience in the field.
- Chris Alexakis is a home expert and the co-founder of CabinetSelect.
How Often Should You Clean Baseboards?
Baseboards are usually not on the list of things to clean, so it's no surprise that they're often a dirty part of the home. "People often forget to clean them regularly, collecting a lot of dust and grime," says Chris.
To keep your baseboards in tip-top shape, they need to be cleaned regularly—ideally at least every few months. This frequency keeps built-up dirt away without having to do too much frequent cleaning.
Things You'll Need
Before you clean your baseboards, you'll need to gather your supplies. Here's what you'll need.
- Vacuum with hose attachment or angled duster
- Microfiber cloth
- Warm water
- Dish soap
- Cotton swabs
- Optional: white vinegar or Magic Eraser
- Optional: fan
How To Clean Your Baseboards
Step One: Move Furniture Out Of The Way
First things first: you need to be able to access your baseboards! Start by moving any furniture that sits against the wall out of the way. If any furniture is too heavy or cumbersome to move, leave it be—a dirty baseboard that hides behind a giant bookshelf is not the end of your home's cleanliness.
If you're cleaning your baseboards alongside the rest of your space, work from top to bottom, dusting and wiping shelves and walls before starting on your baseboards. This order helps you clean all the falling dirt as you work your way down.
Step Two: Dust
Next, you'll need to dust off your baseboards. Thanks to their nooks, crannies and ledges, baseboards can collect all kinds of dust throughout your home. It's important to get rid of some of the surface-level dust before you start wiping down baseboards so that you're not merely rubbing in dirt.
Baseboard dusting can be done a number of ways: you can use a vacuum attachment and suck the dirt up, or you can use an angled duster with a long handle. If you don't have either of these, a dry microfiber cloth does the trick in a tight spot too.
Step Three: Make Your Cleaning Solution
Technically, you can wipe down your baseboards with a damp cloth and still get some dirt off. But a little extra prep before you start cleaning can go a long way.
"Applying a homemade cleaning solution is typically enough to fully clean baseboards," says Kevin. To create this, combine half a gallon of warm water with a few drops of dish soap in a large bucket for an easy, sudsy combo.
Step Four: Wipe Down The Baseboards
Time to really get cleaning! Dip a microfiber cloth or gentle sponge into your soapy water and wring out excess moisture. Then, take your damp cloth or sponge and gently scrub the baseboards as you move down the wall.
Make sure your sponge isn't too wet, as a dripping sponge can bring moisture damage to your baseboard or surrounding floor. Once the sponge or cloth is dirty, wring it out and dip it again into the cleaning solution.
Step Five: Spot Clean Any Hard-To-Reach Spots or Stains
After you've gently scrubbed all the baseboards in a room, look for tricky spots that still have dirt in them, or stains that have yet to disappear. Corners are often a big culprit here.
To clean these spots, dip cotton swabs into your cleaning solution and use them to clean out tight corners or tricky crevices. If your soapy water isn't cutting it, Kevin recommends trying something a little stronger, like a Magic Eraser.
Step Six: Let It Dry
Once your baseboards have all been dusted, cleaned and scrubbed, let them dry. Wait until the baseboards are completely moisture-free before moving any furniture back, as trapped moisture can lead to mold. You can speed up the drying process with a fan pointed at the baseboards.
How To Keep Your Baseboards Clean Longer
Cleaning baseboards is one of those chores you want to put off as long as possible. And with good reason too: "Because of their location, scrubbing away at baseboards for prolonged amounts of time could be an express ticket to lower back pain complications," says Alexakis . "The best way to avoid this is to clean them once a week, so you don't have to spend a lot of time focusing on them."
A little bit of work now = a lot less work later. To keep your baseboards in pristine shape longer, use an angled duster or vacuum attachment to quickly dust or suck up any dirt and grime regularly, so that deep cleans are only needed once in a blue moon.