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What’s Really Keeping your House feeling dingy (It’s Not What You Think!)

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So you cleaned your house. Except why does it still feel dingy? Why is it not as fresh as you thought it should be? I am gonna tell you why. There are common areas that are often overlooked when cleaning. And let’s be honest, your home is lived in, which means that the wear and tear start to show after a while.

And these areas don’t need to be cleaned as often as most, so sometimes the delayed cleaning time can pass us by.

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Let me walk you through your home room by room and tell you why your house feels dingy and tips on tackling the issues. And the things I love to do to fix it.

What is a dingy house after all?

If you came across this post and are not exactly sure what it means when your home is dingy. It means your home furnishings in your home look dull and you may have yellowing wallpaper.

Dingy rooms feel dark, gloomy, or dusty. You may have carpet stains, smudged fingerprints around the home, and ground-in dirt.

And it’s not that you are a bad homekeeper either. Everyone has these issues. But how often we tackle the cleaning task is what is key.

Why does my house still feel dingy?

First off, I want you to look at your home differently, instead of panning your room left to right. Second, I want you to start at the very top.

Get on a chair if you have to; stand on your counter. Sometimes we need to see things from a different angle.

Chances are, if you do this throughout your home, you will begin to see dirt in areas you may haven’t even thought of or areas that have been left untouched/cleaned for a long time.

It’s these very areas that are causing your home to feel dingy.

Let’s get started!!

Light Bulbs

At night we use our lights and do our evening routines and then go to bed. Then during the day, most lights are off.

But those light bulbs in your home collect dust daily. And if you haven’t cleaned/wiped them down in a while, the heat from the light bulb has formed a hard film of dust.

And not only is the dust of film dirty but the luminosity of your lights are now dingy. So to brighten up your home, do a quick wipe down.

How to clean your light bulbs:

Depending on how dirty the bulbs are, you can wipe them off with a damp cloth or paper towel.

You can also use your vacuum to suck up the dust or a dusting cloth.

Be sure to clean it when the bulbs are not on and not hot because it will sizzle the water and dirt. Thus, creating a dried-up mess when trying to clean it.

Lamp Covers

We will now wipe and clean our lamp covers for those lighting areas that don’t have exposed bulbs.

During the regular use of your lights, any bugs that find their way into your home will tend to flock towards the light. They will then end up inside your light cover trapped will die and stick with dust. Which means we need to clean out our covers.

How to clean your lamp covers

Carefully remove your lamp covers if they are glass/hard plastic. First, vacuum out the yuck/bugs. Next, wash them with a bit of soapy water by hand. Dawn works the best to remove the dirt. Then let them dry fully before replacing them.

Alright, so now we can see our homes more clearly looking from a different angle and making our lights nice and clean.

Let’s continue…

Alright, now we need to clean the largest surface in your home. That’s right it’s one of the most overlooked areas that people never clean. Yet, they can be the dingiest. Because of all the abuse they take.


When it comes to cleaning your house, the method of a proper clean is from top to bottom. That way, all the dirt falls to the ground, and the last thing you do is mop the floors.

When it comes to the walls in our home, especially with kids and an active family, fingerprints, dirt, and grim all can cover the walls in the dirt.

You may notice areas on your wall that look discolored or seem darker than others. This is a sign of the dirt that is on them.

When you have pets roaming around, they too leave marks on the walls.

My kids tend to leave dirty hands prints on the bathroom walls as they enter it to wash them. So it’s a commonplace I will clean.

How to clean your walls

It is important to know what kind of paint your home has before you scrub away. But usually, a gentle, mild soap with some water is easy to get a good clean, especially if you haven’t wiped down your walls in a while.

I also like to use Norex cleaning cloths to wipe my walls down. For hard-to-clean areas where my kids may have damaged, I will gently scrub with a magic eraser. But be careful; don’t rub too hard if you use this option. But this is a good basic way to bring life back to the inside of your home.

Dusty Doors & Tops of doors

If your doors have wood trim around them, they are magnets for dust, and doors are used so often you will see handprints and dirt all the time from being pushed and pulled. Take a good look, and you might see the exact area that is used the most.

Using the same method as cleaning your walls, give your doors and tops of doors a scrub down to remove the grim.


Because I am an OCD cleaner, I find the silliest things will bother me. Some things don’t bother others. I will have an issue. For example, my hands being dirty. I’m not too fond of the feeling. And if I touch/grab a dirty doorknob, it makes me cringe.

Easy doorknob cleaning

Use a mild soap again with a towel and wash your doorknobs. Be sure to dry them with a dry cloth after.

Light Switches/Plates

Do I even need to mention how gross these can get? Please take a quick look at your switch and see the dark spots on it. Yeah, you know already what I am gonna tell you to do. And don’t forget to wipe down the plates.

If you find broken wall plates, it might be time to change/fix those. They are fairly cheap to replace but will make a huge difference. For example, if you have a stainless kitchen, you can change all the wall plates to stainless steel. It will be an instant facelift—no more dingy basic white wall plates.

How to clean your light switches & plates

Using a damp cloth, wipe down your light switches and wall plates.

Frumpy Couches

Those comfy couches in your home might need a good wipe down, de-pilling session, or deep cleaning. This is not a judgmental sentence, but….seeing pet stains, food stains, or whatever can really bring the comfy feel a bit down.

How to clean your couches

Before putting all kinds of cleaner on your couch, pull out your couch cushions and find the tags. These tags will help you make the right choice when using the right kind of cleaner according to the type of material your couches are. Leather will require leather cleaner, and cloth couches require the use of washing it.

If cloth couch covers come off, you could wash them if the tag says wash. If not, use a carpet cleaner with a furniture attachment.

You might also be able to wash the pillows you have as well. But be sure to check the tags on those as well.

And if you want to bring your couch back to life after cleaning it. Buy new accent pillowcases. Just a simple change, but it can get rid of the grungy look of your couch.

Stair Railings/Banisters

We have wooden stair banisters going up to our second floor and painted ones going down in our home. But the wooden upstairs ones get the worst. Dirty railings are gross to touch. You will feel how your hand doesn’t quite slide or glide smoothly over.

Cleaning your railings

Because my railings are wood, I have a few favorite cleaning products I like.

As I mentioned above, I will use a Norwex cloth. But I also love using Murphy’s oil soap. It brings back life and cuts through gunk on wood, anything. Plus, it is natural, which I love.

Next up on our dingy-to-clean list is…..


Your cabinets open and close daily from the kitchen to the bathroom cabinets. If they are white, you will see the dirt more, but darker cabinets will tend to hide the dirt, which is why some people actually choose darker colors.

Clean your cabinet doors

Just like with cleaning the banisters, use soapy water. And wipe them down. If you want to take it a step further, you can pull everything out inside and wipe down the inside too.

And let’s not forget to clean the cabinet door handles!!!

If they are wood, take the same approach as the banisters and cabinets if they are metal. Dawn dish soap will work wonders to break down the grease and grime.

Pro tip: when cleaning your cabinets: On some cabinets, you will see dark dirt lines in the grooves of the cabinet design. Take a toothpick and your washcloth and follow the lines to easily remove the gunk.

So following our top to bottom cleaning, we are now starting to work our way down.

Dusty curtains

Your window treatments gather up a lot of dust when your central air system is on. All it does is circulate the dust, which then lands on your curtains. And when you open windows, dust can come in too.

Clean your window treatments, and you will see a difference, so more dust clouds when you open up the windows. Because window treatments vary in material and type, be sure to follow the tags on them.

You may find that you will have to dry clean some options or gently wash cycle some. And if you take your window treatments down and see faded colors. It may be a sign you need to invest in some new window treatments. Ikea is a reasonably cheap way to make this, and Zulily sales too!

Dusty Blinds/shades

I know dusting is not a favorite chore, and it’s one chore that often gets left on the back burner. But if your blinds are full of dust, the window views won’t be so pretty, and every time you open and close them, a cloud of dust will form.

Simple way to clean your blinds

A simple way to clean your blinds is to get one of these tools. Then, pass it over your blinds back and forth to get off the layer of stuck-on dust.

I also like to use my vacuum to dust my shades, so the dust that falls doesn’t fly into the air. For super dirty blinds

Dirty chairs backs and legs

Is your dining room or kitchen counter needing a little refresh? Don’t discount the power a wipe down of your chairs can do.

From stick fingers to food particles, chairs can be a breeding ground for dirt and germs.

An easy solution to clean your chairs

Depending on your chairs, like most methods I mention, you can use the Norwex cloth. I mean, it’s water!

But if you have wood chairs, you might want to use a wood cleaner like Murphy’s oil soap.

Be sure to wipe from top to bottom. Dust likes to collect at the bottom, and the back and tops are where most fingerprints and dirt can be found.

Baseboards full of dust and marks

In my house, baseboards can take a beating. From footmarks, chair legs hitting it, and even me using the vacuum.

One part that makes the baseboards look dingy is the dirt and marks. And after a while, the paint chips.

How to refresh your baseboard

So a secret way to clean your baseboards is hiding in your laundry stuff. You can use a dryer sheet to remove dust quickly.

Another baseboard cleaning tip is to use a magic eraser to get out tough scuff marks.

There is also this neat tool that you can get. I don’t have experience using it, and normally anything I recommend is what I have used. However, the concept of it is so cool I have to mention it.

To get rid of dust, you can also use a brush vacuum attachment and run it along the baseboard so much faster than doing it by hand.

For really gross baseboards, I have used my Hommitt rotating scrubber brush to help me. But be careful you don’t mess up your baseboards.

So from this point, we have mainly focused on tasks working our way from the top of our walls, and now we are headed to our floors.

Dirty Grout lines

Dirty grout lines are nothing new in fact; there are many tips on cleaning your grout lines.

Because grout is a porous material, it’s very easy for dirt and grime to adhere to it. Which causes discoloration and really makes your floor look dirty.

The remedy to dirt ground lines is to use a grout cleaner to clean them.

For terrible grout lines, you can rent a machine from Homedepot to really deep clean.

Some DIY options are also to use bleach. I prefer toilet bowl bleach gel. You can control the application, and it’s super concentrated. I think let it sit for a bit and scrub it with a grout scrub brush. Much more labor-intensive than using a machine. But it works.

Flooring resealing and maintenance. This is something that I will refer you to the pro on. Her name is Debbie Gartner, and she is known as the flooring girl.

Dirty carpets/rugs

Your carpet traffic showing its ugly face can really make your home look unkempt. Split juice or potty training accidents are a sore to the eyes and gross. High-traffic carpet areas will look matted and have a darker color than most other carpet areas.

How to refresh your carpets

First, vacuum your carpets really well to remove all the ground in dirt. My favorite vacuum is the Shark Rotator lift because it has a self-cleaning feature. And the power suction on the Shark really gets tons of tough out. Next, you are going to wanna tackle the stains.

Carpet stains- you will want to spot treat them with a spot treating spray or small carpet machine. Some machines have attachments which is what I use on my hoover carpet cleaner.

After spot treating the ground-in stains, you will want to use a carpet cleaning machine to clean your carpets. You can buy one or rent one from a home improvement store like Home Depot.

For areas that are super matted down, a carpet brush/rake can do wonders to bring it back to life. I love using mine, but I will warn you it’s work.

Dust collecting fan blades

Remember at the beginning of the post; I told you to look at your house from a different angle?

Well, now we are going to do that again. Know I want you to look straight up at your ceilings. Do you see your fan blades and the little dust bunnies collecting all over the sides?

It’s time to clean those blades and stop rotating that sneezy messy.

How to clean your fan blades

There are a few methods on how to clean your fan blades. I will start with the DIY ones first.

Use an old pillowcase and drape it over your fan blades, slide it across, and you should get all the dust off as long as your blades aren’t greasy.

Cleaning Greasy fan blades if you find that your fan blades are a bit tough to clean or feel greasy. Get a little Dawn dish soap with warm water and put it in a bucket. I would say about 1/2 tablespoon would be good in about a gallon of water.

Nest using a cloth, dip it in the solution, and wring it out. Begin to wipe each blade and rinsing the cloth in the solution until all blades are gone. This is actually my preferred method.

Now, if you don’t have greasy fans at all, then you are gonna love this easy tool that cleans your blades in a jiffy. It’s called the Eversprout 5-to 14-foot flexible microfiber ceiling fan cleaner. But this whole brand is the easy solution to dust your whole house, which brings me to the next item on our list.

Hanging cobwebs

The dreaded hanging cobwebs show up without warning and in the oddest places sometimes. But they really can turn off your home as clean.

You’ll want to remove those, and the easy way to get rid of them is with dusters. They are tons on the market. But the tool I mentioned above works, or you can check out this from Eversprout. Again making your life easier.

Not moving things out of the way during cleaning

If you really want a spotless home, you should be moving all your furniture and items out of the way. That way, you can reach all the areas dust collects and wipe everything down.

For example, when you don’t do this, areas around your furniture legs on carpets will collect dust. Underneath furniture will form a layer of dust.

Your walls will begin to show the outline of the furniture because dirt/fingerprints will gather all around it.

So be sure when you are cleaning for true clean move things around, you will see how clean your home will feel and smell. Because when you don’t clean the dust, you are breathing all that in.

Food stained garbage can

So whether you have an open lid can or a pull-out garbage can. They can get pretty nasty and sometimes linger in smells.

Suppose you have a garbage can with no electronic parts. It would be best if you gave it a good wash down with a little Dawn dish soap and a bit of bleach to kill any food bacteria.

I rarely use bleach, and my favorite thing to use to disinfect is Clean Smart.

You will want to clean them down with a damp towel with caution but using the same solution for motorized cans.

How do you handle this list of things making your home dingy.

First off, don’t get overwhelmed and try to tackle this in one day. Instead, I have a game plan for you.

You can tackle one job a week or create a calendar to tackle each task every 6 months. Using a calendar system will ensure you do the task regularly and won’t forget.

When you are ready to tackle these jobs, be sure to pin the image below so you come back to this post easily!

Why your home looks dingy and how to clean it