All the places you're forgetting to clean in a living room — expert tips for those easy-to-miss spots

From door handles to baseboards, check out these places you're forgetting to clean in a living room

Modern clean living room with sofas, chairs and a fireplace - for article on all the places you're probably forgetting to clean in your living room
(Image credit: Cavan Images/Getty Images)

Knowing all the places you're forgetting to clean in a living room is key to making this — the heart of your home – a fresh and inviting place.

In this article, our industry experts will guide you through 10 often-overlooked living room spots, with top tips to ditch dirt and dust.

When it comes to cleaning your home, there's no better place to start than the center of it all — the living room.

All the places you're forgetting to clean in a living room

Armed with the best cleaning supplies, follow our expert guide for a fresh living room that's fit for guests — or some evening relaxation.

Our industry pros will reveal 10 commonly-forgotten living room spots, with step-by-step guidance and product recommendations so you can tackle each one.

Where our pros have suggested products, we've sourced high-quality items from trusted retailers.

All prices were correct at the time of publication.

1. Under sofa cushions

Gray sofa with colored cushions, close up

(Image credit: Capelle.r/Getty Images)

Underneath sofa cushions is a haven for crumbs, debris, and hidden treasures. 

Start by removing the cushions and vacuuming their surface to remove loose dirt and dust. 

Wells Ye, founder of Fresh Tech Maid, says, "Use your vacuum's upholstery attachment to thoroughly remove loose particles. Observe the joints and nooks where crumbs like to hide."

If machine-washable, follow the instructions on the cushion label and allow to thoroughly dry before replacing.

Wells says, "Next, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the sofa base, avoiding the fabric. Let it sit for 15 minutes, allowing it to absorb any unpleasant smells, before removing it with a dry, microfiber cloth."

Baking soda is an excellent odor-remover (this Good & Gather Baking Soda from Target boasts more than a thousand 5-star reviews), while microfibers effectively capture dust and dirt without producing lint (these HOMEXCEL Microfiber Cleaning Cloths from Amazon come in a pack of 12, with a pleasing array of colors).

Wells adds, "If your sofa's upholstery is sensitive, consider using a spray bottle filled with deionized water (try SMPLY Deionized Water from Walmart) to freshen it up. DI water is perfect for delicate fabrics, removing dirt and dust without any trace."

Profile photo of Fresh Tech Maids founder Wells Ye
Wells Ye

Wells Ye is the brains behind Fresh Tech Maid — a respected, Chicago-based home cleaning service that boasts more than 10,000 happy clients thanks to more than 50,000 successful cleans. 

2. Behind the furniture

When you've spent all that effort finding the best ways to arrange your living room furniture, it's understandable that you won't want to move it. But dust bunnies love to hide behind and under furniture, so don't forget to clean beneath and around sofas, chairs, and coffee tables. 

Carefully move the furniture towards the center of the room, then reach for the vacuum, and clean thoroughly.

Wells says, "Make use of your vacuum's adapters, such as the lengthy hose extension or the flat nozzle, for those hard-to-reach spots. If the space under the furniture is too narrow for a vacuum, use an extended duster."

Lina DaSilva, founder of Toronto Shine Cleaning, says, "I'd recommend the Dyson V15 Detect from Wayfair because it has a slim nozzle to get right into those hard-to-reach places under furniture. Remember to switch settings according to the surface — for example for hardwood floors and carpets.

"Also, try furniture sliders to move heavy pieces easily without scratching your floors.  These Super Sliders from Amazon are suitable on several surfaces including high pile, low pile, and area rugs."


Lina DaSilva
Lina DaSilva

Lina DaSilva is founder of the award-winning Toronto Shine Cleaning. With over 10 years' industry experience, she specializes in residential cleaning and home organization. Lina's venture focuses on offering living wages and empowering homeowners to enjoy cleaner, more organized spaces.

3. Bookshelves

Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, filled with books, behind a plush sofa

(Image credit: Newton Daly/Getty Images)

The best bookshelves are not only home to your favorite reads but also to layers of dust and grime. 

Remove books and decorative items from the shelves and dust each surface with a microfiber cloth or duster, starting from the top and working downwards. 

Lina says, "Pay particular attention to the very top of your bookshelves, where a lot of dust can gather. To clean them, you'll want an extendable duster like the Swiffer Dusters Heavy Duty Extender Starter Kit to remove the bulk of the dust.

"For stubborn dust build-up, use a damp microfiber cloth or a mixture of water and gentle wood cleaner to wipe down shelves — this adds shine and keeps the wood healthy."

4. The TV

Black TV at back wall on a stand, with sofa in foreground

(Image credit: imaginima/Getty Images)

Your TV screen may be the focal point of your living room, but it's also a magnet for dust and fingerprints. 

Use a soft, lint-free cloth to gently wipe the screen, starting from the center and moving in circular motions. These S&T INC Microfiber Cleaning Cloths from Walmart and lint-free and machine washable. Avoid using abrasive or ammonia-based cleaners, as they can damage the screen. 

For stubborn smudges, dampen the cloth with water or a screen-cleaning solution designed specifically for electronics. This Screen Mom Store Screen Cleaner Kit from Amazon works a charm and comes with more than thirty thousand great reviews.

5. Remote controls

Your remote controls are one of the most frequently touched items in the living room and can harbor bacteria and germs. 

To clean them, first remove crumbs or debris by using a toothpick or cocktail stick to get into the tiny crevices around the buttons. Next, remove the batteries and use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to gently wipe down the buttons and crevices. 

These GoodCook PROfreshionals Toothpicks from Walmart come in a handy dispenser. 

Allow the remote to air dry completely before replacing the batteries and using it again.

6. Ceiling fan

Cosy living room with sofas and cushions, with ceiling fan above and light entering from bay windows

(Image credit: jimkruger/Getty Images)

Ceiling fans are notorious for collecting dust on their blades, which can then scatter around the room when the fan is turned on. 

Amy Poulton, editor at Hometalk, says, "As well as dust particles, dirty ceiling fans can also fling pollen during certain seasons, which can worsen allergy symptoms. 

"To begin cleaning, ensure the ceiling fan is turned off and position a secure ladder directly under the center. Spray an all-purpose cleaner or simple vinegar solution onto a rag and wipe down both sides of each blade, remembering to focus on the tops. Keep any liquids away from the motor to avoid electrical problems."

This Method Lime & Sea-Salt Cleaning Solution from Target brings freshness to your living room and comes with a thousand great reviews.

Amy adds, "Some fans allow you to remove the motor cover for a deeper clean. If yours does, use a screwdriver to detach it and blast the electronics with compressed air before reattaching the cover."

These Innovera Compressed Air Duster Cans from Amazon have removable straws for more accurate cleaning and boast an average customer review score of 4.6/5.

For extra protection, consider applying a coat of furniture polish to the blades to help repel dust in the future.

Profile photo of Hometalk editor Amy Poulton
Amy Poulton

Amy Poulton is editor and home-improvement expert at Hometalk, the world’s largest home DIY community. It has 150,000 tutorial videos on everything from cleaning to decor provide inspiration, and shared expert guidance to more than 21 million members. 

7. Door handles

Door handles are often overlooked when it comes to cleaning, despite being a popular germ hangout. It's no surprise, then, that they feature in the places you're forgetting to clean in your bathroom also.

Amy says, "Door handles — along with light switches — are some of the most frequently touched surfaces in your home. While they may be small, they can harbor germs and contribute to the spread of illness if not properly cleaned. 

"Wipe them down regularly with a disinfectant wipe or a microfiber cloth sprayed with a disinfectant spray or a simple vinegar and water solution."

8. Walls & baseboards

Light gray wall with white baseboard in clear living room with one plant

(Image credit: Suleyman Ozkan/Getty Images)

Walls and baseboards accumulate dust, fingerprints, and scuff marks over time. 

For marks on the wallpaper, a simple white eraser (like kids use to rub out their pencil mistakes at school) will often do the trick. You can also buy magic erasers (like these Mr Clean Magic Erasers from Amazon) which are ideal for painted walls. 

For greasier stains, use a soft sponge or cloth that's been dampened with mild soapy water, then well wrung out. Always test on an inconspicuous area first, like a spot behind the sofa.

Then it's time for the baseboards, which love nothing more than accumulating dust. A long-handled duster or microfiber mop (this SUGARDAY Microfiber Spray Mop from Walmart is versatile and reliable) is your friend here. If you don't have either, Will Cotter, owner of HappyCleans, has the answer.

He says, "If you need to improvise, grab a soft microfiber cloth and lightly spritz with your preferred commercial (I prefer Method’s All Purpose Cleaner Spray in Lavender from Target for its crisp and pleasant scent). 

"Wrap the cloth securely around the bristle end of a broom, using an elastic band to keep it in place. Just glide the broom along your baseboards, and let the cloth's natural static charge do the rest."

For a more intricate clean, tracing along the edges with a cotton swab dipped in a soapy solution gets results. 

Will adds, "Use a knee pad or a pillow to prevent any pain. The Gorilla Grip Kneeling Pad from Amazon is thick enough to make cleaning comfortable for your knees."

Will Cotter, COO of HappyCleans, standing in sunshine in front of San Francisco Bridge.
Will Cotter

Will Cotter is Chief Operating Officer at the fast-growing professional home cleaning service HappyCleans. Its list of territories includes Oklahoma, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Louisville, Jacksonville, Columbus, Detroit, and Cleveland.

9. Light fixtures

Living room with windows, sofas and main light fixture

(Image credit: imaginima/Getty Images)

Even the best small living room lighting ideas come with a catch. Light fixtures and lamps love to collect dust and bugs, detracting from their brightness and appearance. 

Turn off the lights and allow them to cool before cleaning. Use a microfiber cloth or duster to gently wipe down the surfaces of light fixtures, removing dust and debris. 

Will says, "For a duster, I recommend the OXO Good Grips Microfiber Delicate Duster from Amazon since it also uses a microfiber head. If your lampshade is made of fabric, a lint roller can be a great option too."

This up & up Lint Roller from Target includes 120 sheets and boasts great reviews.

For glass or crystal fixtures, use a glass cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water to restore their shine.

10. Indoor plants

Living room with sofa, table and several indoor plants either side

(Image credit: Israel Sebastian/Getty Images)

Not only can making indoor plant leaves shiny add beauty to your living room, it also helps to purify the air. However, indoor plants can also accumulate dust on their leaves over time. 

Use a soft, damp cloth to gently wipe down the leaves of indoor plants, removing dust and allowing them to breathe freely. 

For larger plants, consider placing them in the shower and giving them a gentle rinse with lukewarm water.

By paying attention to these often overlooked areas and incorporating them into your regular cleaning routine, you can ensure that every corner of your living room remains fresh, tidy, and inviting.

Next, check out all the places in your bedroom you're probably forgetting to clean.

Andy van Terheyden
Freelance Writer

I'm a senior writer with an English degree and NCJ qualification, plus years of experience writing news, lifestyle and consumer articles for the national and international press. I'm also a copywriter, working on a breadth of consumer and corporate projects, and a private education consultant. I live in the quiet of the countryside and spend my weekends mooching around homeware shops, completing DIY tasks to breathe life into my small, newly-built home.