We have spots and items in our usually tidy home that we often skip over while housekeeping because they are difficult to reach or just plain hard to clean. Here are a few of those problem spots and how we (eventually) clean them…

Handheld can opener: This tip involves one of our favorite multitaskers…apple cider vinegar! It works wonders on can-opener gunk. Simply pour about one-half cup in a shallow bowl, and dunk your can opener into the vinegar so that the gunky mechanism is completely covered. Let it sit for at least two hours (we’ve soaked it for longer). You’ll see the icky matter at the bottom of the bowl. Remove your can opener from the vinegar, hold it over a sink or large basin and carefully pour some just-boiled water over the mechanism (throw out the vinegar…the smell will soon dissipate). Then take a clean toothbrush to brush away any debris that still is on the opener. Dry it as much as possible (be careful around the sharp cutting surfaces), and your opener is ready to go.

Computer or laptop keyboard: Slide the sticky side of a Post-it note between the keys to remove dirt, dust, pet hairs and crumbs.

Glass light fixtures: Put glass light fixtures in the dishwasher on the top rack. Make sure to leave enough space to avoid potential breakage. Run on the gentle cycle.

Cloth lamp shades: Remove dust on cloth lamp shades with a lint roller. Roll on the inside and outside of the shade until the dust is gone.

Hard-to-reach ceiling corners: Spend money on a special cleaning tool is the LAST thing we want to do, so we put a sock on it! Cover a broomstick handle with a sock, and secure the sock opening to the handle with some duct or masking tape. You also could use a golf club, yardstick or hockey stick. Reach up, then swipe away the webs and dust. When finished, remove the sock (throw out the tape), shake it out and chuck it into the washing machine. We sometimes spray the sock lightly with hair spray to pick up heavy ceiling crud, but usually the sock is enough. You also can use duct tape (without the sock) wrapped sticky side out on the broom handle (or golf club, yardstick, hockey stick), but we usually just put a sock on it.

Butter up your fridge: Want to clean behind the refrigerator? If you need to move something big and heavy, smear butter or other shortening on the floor right in front of the appliance. Then, with someone helping you, you should be able to slide the heavy appliance forward. Be sure to clean the floor when you’re done! Be aware that butter should NOT be used on marble floors—it can stain. Also, consult your manufacturer’s instructions if you are cleaning refrigerator coils, and be sure to disconnect any electrical sources before you proceed.

Thanks to Julie Edelman, known as “The Accidental ­Housewife,” for help with these tips. She is author of The New York Times best seller The Accidental Housewife: How to Overcome Housekeeping Hysteria One Task at a Time. JuliesTips.com

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