How to Clean Baseboards the Right Way

This often overlooked area is a magnet for dust and dirt.

Despite the fact that we don't use our walls for any specific day-to-day activities, they see quite a bit of action. Chances are, you have a few fingerprint smudges near electricity switches—or lower, where curious little palms use the wall as a prop. Between unnoticed food splatters or dust bunnies, the walls in our homes can become grimy relatively quickly, and this is especially true if you have baseboards.

These panels—they run along the bottoms of your walls and are most often installed in kitchens and bathrooms—are notorious dirt and dust magnets. If you just rushed to examine yours (when was the last time you did that?) and were less than pleased with what you found, it's time to give them a much-needed once-over. Luckily, it's easy to make them pristine again.

broom leaning against clean interior wall
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How to Clean Baseboards in 3 Steps

If the first thing that caught your attention was the 1/4-inch-thick line of dust coating your baseboards' upper lip, you likely know where you need to start.

1. Vacuum

Break out your vacuum and apply the machine's crevice tool (the long, skinny one) to the main nozzle. Modern-day stick vacuums, like the Dyson V8 Animal Cord-Free Stick Vacuum, come with a slew of these add-ons, so you can customize your machine for the job at hand. Beginning at the top edge (work from the top, down, so you don't have to go over each section twice), slide the attachment along the rim before doing the same on the floor.

2. Gently Scrub Baseboards

Unfortunately, if your baseboards haven't been tended to in a year (or two or three), a vacuum sweep is unlikely to thoroughly remove all that built-up debris; some mild elbow grease may be necessary. So, be sure to wipe away any remaining surface grime and buildup using a damp microfiber cloth and a gentle detergent, such as Dawn dish soap, says Erin Bishop-Murray, chief learning officer at house-cleaning service The Maids.

3. Tackle Stains and Scuffs

And if any lingering nicks or scuffs remain? Tackle any scuff marks with a Mr. Clean MagicEraser and then dry the base-boards with a clean microfiber cloth.

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