How to clean baseboards – pro tips for dusty, greasy, and painted surfaces
From cutting through grease on painted baseboards to dusting awkward corners without bending, these five expert tips offer the best way to clean baseboards
Cleaning baseboards is one of the household chores many of us forget about unless we are spring cleaning. These simple trims pick up a lot more dust and dirt than you may think, however, cleaning them often could be the secret to an immaculate home.
But what is the best way to clean baseboards? Cleaning experts suggest that the cleaning tip you use will depend on whether they are dusty or greasy, and what material they are made out of too.
Here is what they suggest.
The best way to clean baseboards
As with other cleaning chores, how you clean your baseboards will depend largely on whether or not they are painted, and where they are positioned in your home. Tackling baseboards when cleaning a living room, for example, may only require light dusting, while cleaning kitchen grease may be more of a challenge for baseboards in kitchens and utility rooms.
Best way to clean baseboards without bending
'Cleaning baseboards can play havoc with our backs and knees. To save your back, use a mop with a microfiber mop head such as a Swiffer from Amazon,’ suggests Penny Nicholas, professional cleaner and founder of Sparkling Penny.
‘Another great option is to use a 'Baseboard Buddy' (on Amazon). The mop heads are perfectly shaped to clean baseboards effortlessly without bending over or crawling along your floor!’
Using a tool with a long handle will also help to reach baseboards trapped behind furniture, so you can remove dust without having to shift large bulky pieces around – genius.
Baseboard Buddy | $24.99 at Amazon
The baseboard buddy is conveniently shaped to help clean baseboards without having to bend or crawl on your knees with a damp cloth.
Penny Nicholas is the professional cleaner behind the cleaning blog Sparkling Penny. She aims to be a go-to source for all things cleaning around the home after learning top cleaning tricks and hacks running her own holiday cottage for over ten years.
Baseboards in high-traffic areas like entryways can quickly scuff and mark as we move through the space or carry large items. Cleaning with a magic eraser can help to make an entryway look more expensive without having to spend money on decor or a new paint job.
‘These little sponges are a miracle worker when it comes to cleaning baseboards,’ shares Penny Nicholas, professional cleaner. ‘They work by using micro-abrasive technology to gently scrub away dirt and scuffs. Simply wet the eraser with water and start scrubbing away. The best part? No harsh chemicals needed!’
It is worth noting, however, that these abrasive cleaners may also remove a little paint from painted surfaces, so test them in a small inconspicuous area first to ensure it doesn't make the scuffs and marks worse.
Mr. Clean Erase and Renew Magic Eraser, Original | $6.30 for two, at Amazon
There are various brands you can buy, but an original version is a good option and at a fairly cheap price. If it’s the efficiency you’re after, the extra durable version from Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser line might be better for you.
Cleaning any painted surfaces, like cleaning painted walls, is tricky at the best of times, and going back to basics is often best. Vacuuming is a great place to start when cleaning painted baseboards, suggests Stephanie Edenburgh, lifestyle blogger at Bizzie Mommy. Use the highest setting possible to get any dust, dirt, and debris off the baseboards.
After vacuuming, ‘mix a mild solution of soap and water in a bucket. Dip a sponge or rag into the mixture and wring it out so it doesn't drip and wipe down the baseboard slowly, to make sure you don't miss any spots,’ she advises. ‘When finished, rinse the surface with a wet towel or clean rag to remove any soap residue and dry the baseboard with a paper towel or clean rag.’
Stephanie Edenburgh started her blog to document the life of being a busy mom with children growing up through the terrible twos and managing a home. She now shares her top home and cleaning tips to help other busy families conquer ever growing to-do lists while maintaining a balanced fulfilling life.
Greasy baseboards are most likely to be found in rooms like the kitchen or bathroom, with grease traveling through steam and settling on surfaces around the room. To clean away grease, there are two options depending on the level of debris, experts suggest.
Krud Kutter, available at Walmart, is a common find in a professional cleaners' toolkit. This powerful degreaser is excellent for spot-treating particularly greasy or grimy baseboards such as those that have had something split onto them or have not been cleaned in a while.
‘Only use this method on glossy painted trim, while wearing cleaning gloves,’ warns Sara Austin Bailey, professional cleaner and owner of Space Shift Cleaning. ‘A little goes a long way to vanish stubborn stains. Follow the directions on the container, and make sure your safety glasses are in place! Wipe with a wet paper towel or cleaning cloth to remove excess product and assure that it does not linger on surfaces. Be careful not to scrub Krud Kutter too vigorously. It can take away paint if rubbed with too much enthusiasm.’
Cleaning with vinegar is a quick, eco-friendly fix if you need to clean grease from baseboards in a pinch or are concerned about your paintwork. To use this method, mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spritz onto your baseboards,’ recommends Penny Nicholas. ‘Use a cloth or sponge to wipe away any dirt or grime. The acidity in the vinegar helps break down any buildup, leaving your baseboards looking shiny and new,’ she explains.
Best method for dusty baseboards
Baseboards are a magnet for household dust, but you can use dryer sheets to speed clean baseboards and help to repel dust, experts claim, keeping them cleaner for longer. What’s more, the method is super simple.
‘To clean dusty baseboards, run a clean, dry dryer sheet along the entirety of the baseboard to collect the dust,’ says professional cleaner Ahmad Jamal of Cleaners Advisor. ‘The dryer sheet picks up dust with static and leaves behind a slight charge that makes it harder for the dust to cling for a little while afterward too,’ he says. ‘It will also help to make your home smell nice!’
Ahmad is a self-proclaimed 'clean-freak', with years of experience tackling tough cleaning projects and advising others on how to deal with the worst of messes.
What is the easiest way to clean baseboards?
The easiest way to clean your baseboards is to use a vacuum hose to collect dust and a long-handled mop with a microfiber head to quickly wipe down the surfaces without having to bend over or spend long amounts of time on your hands and knees.
How often should you wash baseboards?
Baseboards do not need washing often, benefiting from a wipe down once a month when you have time. This can help to prevent dust and grime build-up and keep your home looking fresh and immaculately clean. You may wish to vacuum or dust your baseboards a little more often if you suffer from bad allergies, however, to prevent dust from setting for too long.
Finding the best way to clean baseboards depending on your cleaning complaint can help to make the process easier and quicker without causing undue damage to your home's trim and paintwork.
Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for six months, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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