How to Clean Baseboards Quickly & Easily - Public Goods

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How to Clean Baseboards Quickly & Easily

See that layer of dust that’s built up on your baseboards? Yeah, it’s time for some TLC. Here’s how to clean baseboards without breaking your back or spending a lot of time.

Baseboards aren’t high on most people’s cleaning list. They likely don’t even make it onto your spring cleaning agenda. Baseboards are a part of the home that can go months, if not years, being overlooked until that day you notice a cringe-worthy amount of dust or a bunch of scuff marks. If you notice yours are looking dingy, here’s how to clean baseboards the right way so you can make them pop again. You might be surprised at the difference it makes to remove that buildup and see grime-free baseboards again.

The Best Way to Clean Baseboards

Over time, your baseboards not only collect dust, but they also get some wear and tear that leaves them scuffed, scratched, and generally not looking their best. With a little time and effort, though, you can get them back in shape.

What You’ll Need:

  • A vacuum with a crevice attachment
  • Sponge
  • Soap
  • Cotton swab 
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Dry cloth
  • Dryer sheets

Step 1

The best way to clean baseboards begins with vacuuming. Using your vacuum cleaner’s crevice attachment (or whichever attachment you think will work best for the design of your baseboards), run it along the top ledge and then where your baseboards meet the floor, making sure to get into the corners. No vacuum? Opt for a broom, or place an old sock over your hand and run it along the top.

Step 2

Next, mix together some warm water and a gentle soap. Use a sponge to wipe down the baseboards and scrub away any marks. Be sure to wring out your sponge so you’re not saturating the area with water, and do your best to avoid your walls. If you have particularly stubborn marks, you may want to use a sponge with some abrasion. Just be careful that it’s not so abrasive it takes the paint off. If you have trouble getting into the corners, enlist a cotton swab for the spots that are hard to get into. 

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Tip: If you have unpainted baseboards, mix a tablespoon of olive oil with your soapy water. This will add a bit of shine to the wood and bring it back to life. 

Step 3

Soap can leave a bit of residue behind, so dampen a microfiber cloth and wipe down the baseboards once you’ve cleaned them. Go behind it with a dry cloth to remove any moisture that could warp the wood or drip onto your floor. 

Step 4

To help extend the hard work you’ve done, grab a few dryer sheets. Rubbing a dryer sheet over your baseboards will create a barrier that repels dust and debris so you can reduce how often they need to be cleaned. 

How to Clean Mold Off Baseboards

Mold can grow just about anywhere, including baseboards. Maybe you’re moving into a home that’s been vacant and neglected for a while, or maybe you’ve had a water leak that resulted in baseboard mold or mildew. If you see signs of mold, follow these steps to remove it before doing a general cleaning like the instructions outlined above.

First, use a damp towel to wipe away any visible mold (be sure to wear gloves and a respiratory mask if you think you’re dealing with mold that’s toxic).

Next, lightly spray the areas with a solution of one teaspoon of dish soap to two cups of warm water. You don’t want to saturate the wood; you just want to apply the solution to the affected areas.

Then, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub away any remaining mold, and wipe down the area with a dry paper towel.

Lastly, spritz a mixture of one part white vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide on any affected areas. Again, don’t saturate your baseboards. Lightly spray the area to kill any lingering bacteria and help prevent it from growing back. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands once the job is done.

How Often to Clean Baseboards

How often you should clean your baseboards really depends on your standards of cleanliness and how you like to keep your home. If keeping things clean is a priority to you, or if you have allergies that require a dust-free home, shoot for cleaning your baseboards monthly. Despite your best efforts, dust will begin visibly accumulating again after four or five weeks.

The good news is that you shouldn’t have to get on your hands and knees and scrub down your baseboards that often. You can likely get away with just running your vacuum cleaner or a broom along the top ledge every month or so and save more thorough cleanings for once or twice a year to keep them looking their best.

Tips for Cleaning Baseboards

Keep these considerations in mind the next time you clean your baseboards.

  • Clean your baseboards last. If you’re dusting other surfaces around your home, dust and debris will inevitably land on the baseboards. Even vacuuming your floors will kick up some dust that will coat them. Save them for last so you don’t do any work in vain.
  • Pay special attention to the baseboards in your bathroom. It’s especially hard to keep bathroom baseboards clean because humidity makes dust stick to surfaces. If dust has collected in a humid area, you may notice that vacuuming doesn’t do the trick, and you’ll need to resort to scrubbing. Address the baseboards in these areas more frequently to prevent stubborn buildup. 
  • Stick to a gentle soap. Opt for a mild dish soap or Castile option. Harsh cleaners have the potential to eat away at the paint on your baseboards or cause discoloration.
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Public Goods Can Make Cleaning Easy…and Eco-Friendly

Public Goods is all about minimizing our harm to the environment while optimizing your health. Our collection of household cleaning products is made to be sustainable, effective, and free of harsh chemicals found in many other cleaners. They’re gentle but hardworking, so you can cut through grime without overpowering chemical smells or skin irritation. 

Want other tips for how to clean tough areas? Check out our post on How to Clean Fireplace Brick or this one on How to Clean a Burnt Pot

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