GRIME around the home is not always obvious to the eye but can give off an unwelcome whiff, ranging from musty to downright horrible.
Much dirt is easy to spot but some nasties such as crumb-infested sofas or grubby bath mats can escape attention.
TV’s Queen of Clean, Lynsey Crombie, a regular on This Morning, reckons there is no time like the present to clean up your act.
She says: “We all hear about spring cleans but now is just as good a time to deep-clean. Small things you’d never think about, like toothpaste scuzz, can cause horrific smells.
“If you get a spare 15 minutes, bite off one thing at a time. That way, it doesn’t feel overwhelming.”
Here, Lynsey tells Emma Pryer some places where you may not expect to find muck, and gives tips on how to banish unpleasant pongs.
Blitz that manky mat
IT’S damp, it’s smelly, it often doesn’t get washed for six months – no, it’s not a teenager, it’s your bathroom mat.
All that water can leave musty pongs if it’s left on the floor and not getting any air flow around it.
I’ve had plenty of people tell me that they don’t clean their mat for a whole year – it gives me the creeps.
TOP TIP: CONSIDER washing your mat when you wash your towels, so it becomes a regular habit.
To get it back to its best, sprinkle some bicarb of soda on it, wrap it up and pop it into the washing machine.
Beware toothbrush cap
WHILE your gnashers might be sparkling after you’ve brushed your teeth, don’t neglect that toothbrush cup.
When brushing, the bacteria from your hands transfers on to the handle and drips of saliva will dribble down the handle.
Over time, this creates a gross, stinky sludge at the bottom of your cup or holder.
TOP TIP: IF your cup is safe for a dishwasher, stick it in. If not, you can regularly swill it with disinfectant.
Tackle walls behind toilet
HOW many people bend down and clean the walls behind the toilet? Not many.
But it’s one of the dirtiest places in the house as water and other fluids can splash there and, before long, it starts to smell.
Exposed pipes under toilets also gather dust and grime and get forgotten.
TOP TIP: FOR hard-to-reach places, use a flat-headed mop and change the size to the smallest you can get.
Around the toilet base, if you’ve got that smelly urine odour, spray white shaving foam (it has to be white to avoid staining) and leave it on for a day or so.
Rinse and the odour should go.
Suck up sofa crumbs
GUNK soon builds up in gaps in the sofa. Remove cushion covers if you can, do a cool wash and air-dry so they don’t shrink.
TOP TIP: VACUUM the sofa then suck dirt from cracks using an upholstery tool.
If you have a steam cleaner, hover it about 30cms above the sofa to kill germs.
Add a drop of laundry liquid to warm water, take a microfibre cloth and scrub.
Grab a fresh cloth and warm water to wipe off any residue product. Open a window to air-dry then use a fabric refresher spray.
Check for chair scares
YOU probably clean the tops of the chairs, but do you turn them upside down and wash bits that come into contact with the floor?
They’re dust magnets, as are the bases of kitchen bar stools.
And if someone’s spilled some ketchup and it’s been there for six weeks – or kids have rubbed their sticky, food-covered fingers around the base – that’s going to pong.
TOP TIP: WASH dining chairs with disinfectant. Ketchup is great for treating rust spots on kitchen stools.
Leave for 15 minutes and the results are insane.
Go hard on gunge
SOAP scum and hair can sit inside your bathroom plugholes for years, causing all manner of whiffs.
This matted web of dirt sits damp in the drain, letting off unpleasant smells every time warm water hits it.
It’s also likely to cause blockages that get worse over time. If your shower isn’t draining properly, chances are it’s full of gunk.
TOP TIP: USE a drain snake to dislodge trapped nasties from your plugholes.
It’s a bit like a big, white mascara brush and about as long as your arm.
You can clean them to use them again, but I prefer to bin them after removing all the gross stuff.
Soap sticky hoods
COOKER hoods are out of sight and often out of mind, too.
People don’t realise that hood filters capture all those smells from your cooking.
If you haven’t given them a little love lately, they will not only be discoloured, but they may stink too.
TOP TIP: TAKE them out and feel them with your hand. Any stickiness means they need a clean.
Soaking them in water, with vinegar, often helps.
Some of them are also dishwasher safe and they will come out looking like new.
Unblock dusty vents
DUST can clog up air vents, meaning smells can’t escape so easily.
Some houses have these in the bathrooms.
Others, especially older houses, have them in lounges and I’ve often found the remains of insects hanging out in them.
But a quick blast of air – or steam – will clear them.
TOP TIP: YOU can blow dust out with a hairdryer, or blast it with a steamer at a distance.
Eliminate hallway honks
WITH shoe racks heaving with smelly trainers, damp door mats and coats piled high on banisters, hallways can be a haven for pungent odours.
Well-trodden hall carpets get a tough time, too, and can soak up nasty stains and smells.
TOP TIP: CLEAN the doormat by popping it in the washing machine on a cool setting if suitable.
Alternatively, give it a good shake outside then hoover it.
Tackle any marks with a carpet-cleaning product and refresh with a fabric refresher.
Leave a basket by the door for guests to pop their shoes into and leave a space for coats. You could also use a scented candle in the hallway.
Rinse rogue radiators
AT this time of year when your heating is on full blast, make sure radiators are in good working order.
Kids often stuff bits of food like Wotsits and half-eaten sandwiches down radiators.
As they rot they give off a terrible whiff.
TOP TIP: USE a hairdryer to blast dust out of radiators. You can also buy radiator-cleaner brushes.
Get a large plastic tub and sit it under your radiator.
Make sure the heating is off and then you pour water from a jug (it doesn’t have to be hot) through the radiator to wash away all the gunk.