The Bits You Don't Think About...But Should

A wise aunt once said, "Clean baseboards, clean house." Attention to detail makes a huge difference. There are some small cleaning details that you may miss until it’s time to move out, but after a year of neglect is very difficult to clean well. Might as well make these things regular cleaning to-dos…


Dust is sneaky. It clings to baseboards, blinds, shelves, and anything else even vaguely horizontal. Luckily dust can be vanquished with a duster, dust cloth, or plain old paper towels. Using a little all-purpose cleaner on a cloth or paper towel helps grab dust off most surfaces.


Trash should be taken out every few days. Food and residue that is left in a trash can or bag attracts BUGS. Do not let something as simple as taking NOT out the trash cause an infestation. On a sensory level, nothing says, ‘please don’t come in’ like smelly garbage. The worst part is that your senses can adjust to the stink quickly, so sometimes you may not realize the true off-putting nature of your trash. It’s best to just make the take-out-the-trash-every-3-days-rule happen.


Cobwebs and spiderwebs are eye sores and should remind you to clean anytime they appear. Smite the stringy dust motes with a duster, broom, and/or rag. 

 This  is no good.

This is no good.

To Wield a Plunger

Little known fact: The 11th commandment (of the Apartment Dwelling Bible) states, ‘Thou shalt own a plunger.’

Why is owning a plunger so important? Because they are terribly useful in terribly inconvenient situations. Plungers are the only immediate remedy to a blocked toilet and/or drain.

Where do I get a plunger?

Any home improvement store, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot will have them, as well as Target or Walmart. We recommend getting the no-nonsense black rubber plunger with wooden handle.

Your ideal sink plunger, on the left, & toilet plunger, on the right.

Your ideal sink plunger, on the left, & toilet plunger, on the right.

How do I use a plunger?

The art of plunging is simple to master:

  • Turn the water to the toilet off by turning the valve behind the toilet clockwise (to the right).
  • Place the plunger over the drain opening, creating a seal over the drain.
  • With some force and speed (you might get a little splashed, so be ready) push the handle down so that dome shape of the plunger caves in. 
  • Repeat until your drain is unclogged. You can often hear the drain unclog.
  • Turn the water back on by turning the valve counterclockwise (to the left).
  • For more visual advice: Plunging how-to video

But I Don't Have a Plunger & My Toilet Is Blocked

No fear! There is a method of unclogging a toilet called the Water-Gravity Method, which does not call for a plunger. 

How you do it:

  • Grab the biggest container you have and fill it with water.
  • Position your container a few feet above the toilet bowl, poised to pour out the water.
  • Simultaneously flush the toilet while pouring the water quickly into the bowl.
  • The force of the extra water will typically take care small to medium clogs.

Water is Very Corrosive.

Water can do incredible damage to apartments. And we're not just talking about flooding. It's sneakier than that...

Areas of your apartment where water is commonly used —bathroom, kitchen— are often more susceptible to damage. Water that lingers on walls, trim, and floors can cause staining, mildew, and rot. Apart from evoking a general ick factor and smell, these damages permanently degrade the quality of the flooring, caulk, wood trim, and paint.



Golden Rule: As much as you can, keep walls and wood trim free of moisture, and do not leave puddles of standing water on vinyl flooring.

How do I prevent water damage?

  • Make sure your shower curtain is totally closed so that water isn’t making it on to the floor or wall outside the shower.
  • Dry off before stepping onto the bathroom floor. This reduces puddling on the bathroom floor.
  • Invest in a shower mat to place outside your shower.
  • Turn on the bathroom vent while you shower to help reduce humidity.
  • Immediately clean up an puddles that form in the bathroom or in the kitchen.
  • Clean your bathroom and kitchen regularly.

Vacuuming & Mopping, Why and When?

When living in an apartment (or really anywhere with a floor), it is necessary to purchase both a vacuum cleaner and mop, and use them regularly. We strongly recommend vacuuming and mopping once a week.

Mopping 399x445.jpg

How often should I vacuum or mop?


  • Check that the vacuum’s filter and dust bag/chamber is clean before you begin vacuuming.
  • Pick up large pieces of trash—pieces of paper, paper clips, hair pins, etc.—before vacuuming
  • Empty dust bag/chamber after vacuuming


  • Always use hot water.
  • Always wring out your mop well. Excess water can damage your floor.
  • Have clean water available to rinse your mop of mopping solution as you’re mopping.
  • Here is a useful, step-by-step guide to mopping that elaborates on what we have here.

Cannot WAIT til Moppin' Mondays...

Cannot WAIT til Moppin' Mondays...

Why should I vacuum and mop once a week? 

When dirt is ground into the fibers of carpet and isn’t cleaned regularly, it can be impossible to get clean. Damage from oil, especially cooking oil, often results in full replacement of carpet.

Vinyl flooring can stain from caked on dirt and oils if not cleaned regularly. Keep up regular habits and you'll be thanking yourself later.