Quick Cleaning Tip: Baseboards

Baseboards? Really? I know you’re thinking, “Whatever Rachel, like I’m really going to clean the baseboards any time soon…”

I hear you. My home is in it’s usual state of post-weekend calamity. In terms of the Hierarchy of Cleaning, baseboards certainly fall under the “Extra” category.

But in case one day you decide to clean the baseboards, you’ll know how to do it.

The easiest way to clean baseboards is to use a dust broom, the kind that comes with a matching dust pan. I don’t know what brand mine is; it’s nothing special, it just works. Some people would prefer to use an attachment on the vacuum, but then you have to lug the vacuum around with you, so the dust broom is quicker and easier.

With a dust broom you just take one or two minutes to go around the room and sweep the dust off the baseboards. I don’t do this very often, and I sure don’t move the furniture out of the way. (Except for the time when I was nine months pregnant, but that’s a different story.)

You’ll make the most difference doing this in the rooms with your front and back doors. If your baseboards are really grungy, first you go around with the dust broom, and then you go around again with a wet rag, just like how with floors first you sweep and then mop.

Baseboards are like the finishing touches on rooms, and cleaning them off can be pretty satisfying. My mom paid us in nickels to clean them when I was little.

So what does your house look like after the weekend? I think I need some new adjectives to describe mine other than “messy”. That one’s getting old.
About Rachel

I write about practical tips that will help you simplify at home. Connect with me on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. My house after the weekend:-

    chaotic, lived in, jumbled and topsy turvy.

    I do like to start Monday afresh so Sunday night ritual is to get it all ship shape again.

    Anna´s last post…Varde love

  2. I am obsessed with clean baseboards. When we first moved into our home, the baseboards were really thick and it would drive me crazy to see dust on them. I used to put on a dust sock (the ones that are stretched out and unwearable are great for dusting blinds, etc.) and I would “dust” the baseboards with my feet. No bending over; just dust and toss in the laundry. Hee hee.

    Paula@Simply Sandwich´s last post…Ice- Ice Baby!!

  3. Great tip!

    Because I can’t stand to wake up to a mess (I am very visual), we leave things straight before bed.

    Our biggest home messes occur when we arrive home from trips. Then it looks like our vehicles threw up into our house.

    My baseboards do need attention!!

    I Live in an Antbed´s last post…Moab

  4. Disheveled. That’s the adjective to describe my post-weekend house.

    Some people feel like the mark of a good housekeeper is her stove top. For me, if I see clean baseboards, I think “she is thorough!” and I feel “thorough” about an often as there’s a solar eclipse. But when I do, the local media know about it!

    Zoanna´s last post…Gratitude List

  5. Grungy baseboards are my pet peeve!

    Since we have a large brown dog and our landlords thought WHITE carpet would be great for a rental(?!), I vacuum almost every day, and while doing that I usually use the attachment to do the baseboards and corners the vacuum doesn’t reach every third vacuum or so…doesn’t take that much longer since the vacuum is already out!

    And what about in disaray, untidy, disheveled, unkempt, or disorganized?

    Kait Palmer´s last post…Fabric Choices for Giggling Gourmet Aprons are Up!

  6. I work as a nurse on weekend nights sonmy hubby is alone with kids pretty much the entire weekend. My house is a DISASTER when I come home Monday mornings. I mean I seriously have to pick up toys and do dishes and take out recyling among so many other things that get forgotten by the hubby. Oh my gosh.. It is so much work to get the house back to normal. It’s worth it though so I can stay home with the kids during the week.

  7. I agree! Baseboards are not a requirement, but definitely add a finishing touch. I found that my not-so-great vaccum was leaving a bit of dust along the base of the baseboards, and after awhile it was looking pretty nasty. My dust broom saved the day where my vaccum failed. I not only brushed the dust off the baseboards, but out of the edge along the carpet into the middle of the room. Then I simply run the vaccum and all that dust gets picked up. It really doesn’t take that long once you’ve cleaned them initially, so mine are staying much prettier now! Thanks for all the amazing tips!

  8. Aaah The jouy of having many kids… Give a little person a soapy damp cloth while everyone is trying to do school and say: “See if you can do the whole room.”… and the next one and the next one… We do ours quite often just because of this great cleaning technique I have developed!!!

    se7en´s last post…The Week That Was – 313

  9. OH I just cleaned my baseboards and it makes me smile every day I see them with no speck of dust or dog hair. I’ve never thought of this that works!

  10. Rachel,

    I fall under “base boards, come on rachel” catagory! Really, because I am so behind in cleaning other much needed catagory such as cleaning doors and fridge’s side and behind. I guess I have a long way to go but I will save this post as goal someday to achieve.

    Preeti @ Heart and Mind´s last post…Why learning from history is cool- fun Part III

  11. I, too, use “lonely” socks for dusting the baseboards (and other stuff, too!). My kids think it’s fun to put a sock on and hit the baseboards. Sometimes two of them will start in one corner and race to get to the opposite side of the room.

  12. Cleaning baseboards is one of the “extra” chores my kids can do to earn a little bit of money. (They don’t get paid to do their regular chores.) It helps my bad back, they get a dollar out of the deal, and everyone’s happy. (I make them move whatever furniture they can–chairs, the small bookshelf, etc.)

    After the weekend: Chaos.

    Monday is my day to make everything right again.

    Jennifer´s last post…Lunchbox Links

  13. the cottage child says:

    So what does your house look like after the weekend? Like an explosive device has been detonated. It’s so far past annoying it’s amusing, gratefully.

    Love clean baseboards, and clean them often. Our dog is a wall slimer – she leans against the wall and slides down so she gets a satisfying scratch from the texture before she settles on the floor. Blech. So a trip around the perimeter with Mrs. Meyers and an old washcloth is a must every ten days or so. Clean baseboards make all the paint seem brighter, so it’s worth it to me. Except behind the bed and china cabinet. Anyone who checks back there gets what they deserve.

  14. I use one of these brushes to clean the bath and shower!!! A bucket of hot water and disinfectant/vineger and brush brush brush and it’s all done. If I do it once a week it takes no time as there is no build up. I hadn’t done it for a while so just yesterday did the bleach scrubbing thing… but back to my dust-brush cleaning as of this week :)

    PS we also use body-wash which is much easier to clean (i don’t know if it would work with soap-scum)

  15. I have a new discovery that has led to cleaner baseboards for me. I use the swiffer 360 extended cleaner–no bending and reaches high and low and behind furniture. Great for cobwebs in the corners too!

  16. My house after this past weekend actually looks good. Of course, I spent the entire weekend clearing out most of the final bits of clutter.

    Granted, it’s sitting inmy on site storage unit but it’s no longer in my home and my home resembles a home and not a storage unit.

    I can’t tell you haow satisfying it is to come home from work and look around and see how clean my place is. Now it just takes a quick trip around the place to get it back to normal.

    paisleypenguin´s last post…Cleaning Up

  17. Thanks for this tip! :-) Dirty baseboards bother me.

    I call my house lived in and enjoyed after the weekend.

  18. I never really think of baseboards! Of course with my hectic college schedule I’m lucky to get one room clean a week! haha. I try to tidy up every morning so it doesn’t look like a hurricane came through… but my kitchen after the weekend???

    chaotic, haphazard, and frightening :)

    Tara´s last post…Creating the Right Atmosphere for the Work at Home Writer

  19. I JUST took a picture of me cleaning my baseboards to put up. I hate dirty dusty baseboards, but somehow, they always get overlooked.

    Ammie @ Domesticallyobsessed.com´s last post…Menu Plan Monday-New Fall Recipes!

  20. After the weekends my house looks the cleanest. I work evenings and my husband works a crazy 3am-1pm shift so we don’t really have a chance to clean during the week. As for baseboards, we have all pergo floors in our house so when I sweep them I just go over the top of the baseboards with the broom too.

  21. Denise C. says:

    My house after the weekend…..well pretty much daily… in shipshape order! HA! Just kidding, it is more like “well loved”. :) My husband & I are finally starting to paint our house (we just hit a year in it!) With the painting, my dear, sweet husband is cleaning & painting our trim & baseboards. They were….hmmmmm…scuzzy. Clean & fresh, & they will be cleaned every month!

  22. I was just thinking about how I needed to clean my baseboards…ugh. Thanks for the tip.

    Kelsey´s last post…Top Three Reasons to Use a Business Instant Messenger

  23. I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to clean the baseboards!! Until then, I will do it–I live in a new construction home, and am obsessed with keeping the baseboards spic and span! For any stubborn spots, I use a little bit of rubbing alcohol.

    Sarah @ Sarah Bohl Designs´s last post…Multiple Design Personality Disorder

  24. As I was reading your post, my mind literally went, “Baseboards . . . do we even have those? Oh, my goodness, I guess we do.” Shows you how much I’ve cleaned them since we moved in 10 months ago :).

    My place actually looks relatively clean after the weekend, because that’s when my husband is home and I can actually get some things done with little kids running around. Both of us have realized that while it’s nice to relax, it’s not very relaxing to sit around and do no cleaning/picking up – visually, we both get really stressed out after awhile. We also both like to start the week with all of it’s busyness with a relatively clean slate – the fridge is stocked, most things are put away, laundry is done, etc.

    Jenni @ Life from the Roof´s last post…Yes- you can eat steak on a frugal budget

  25. Oh, and I should add that probably one of the reasons I haven’t paid enough attention to the baseboards is that they aren’t painted – we live in a rental, and they are stained a caramel color, so if there’s dust, that’s probably why I haven’t noticed it as much as I would with white ones. I just scanned over the other comments and realized that maybe I should clean them, though, given how much it seem some people can’t stand them!

    Jenni @ Life from the Roof´s last post…Yes- you can eat steak on a frugal budget

  26. I prefer “post-apocolyptic” over “messy”. :)

  27. I prefer “post-apocolyptic” over “messy” to describle our house post-weekend… And most other times.

  28. Unfortunately, I’m with Cathie….For some reason I notice them in other people’s homes (but I don’t judge them for it! :) especially in the bathroom. I don’t do ours weekly – actually “I” don’t do them at all, it’s on my children’s chore list, and can be done by even young children. Your suggestion about focusing on the rooms with doors is excellent.

    Debbie @ Cheaper by the Bakers Dozen´s last post…Finding Sabbath Rest

  29. I am so glad to hear that other people experience the same post-weekend chaos that I do! I have felt frustrated by it, because it seems to me that it should be easier for me to keep up with things on the weekends. We have a looser schedule, my husband is home to help with the kids, etc…shouldn’t I be better able to keep the house neat? But, no…the interruption to our routine definitely throws the house into chaos. And now I am going to finish my coffee and put this place back in order.

  30. Know what I like most about your blog? The simplicity of it. Short, sweet, often very helpful, but most of all, uncluttered and simple — a restful thing to open in my inbox for a minute or two of peaceful simplicity. So true to its name!! Thanks!

  31. I pay attention to the baseboards, because I also notice them in other people’s homes.

  32. Talk about timing! I just had custom paint matched for my walls and baseboards. They were driving me nuts. Now I have a way to clean them. I was using a wet shamwow type shammie, followed by a swiffer sheet when it was dry.

    Lauri V.´s last post…The results are in

  33. I don’t know what’s wrong with my baseboards, but I don’t think a dust broom or a sock would do it! I love the magic erasers. They are awesome!

    • Same here, I don’t think a sock would be enough to clean it. Maybe it is the shape? Whatever it is, magic erasers work well. Unfortunately, it is a big job to get down and scrub the baseboards so I haven’t done it everywhere in the house. Our baseboards are terrible, because we have 2 dogs in a tiny duplex (and occasionally foster dogs) and a generally flooded, muddy back yard. :(

  34. Karen (Scotland) says:

    I think these are called skirting boards over here. I have to confess that I pretty much only ever clean them when we are painting a room…
    Although, my house has so many cobwebs at the moment, I have actually been considering purchasing a feather duster (well, asking Santa for one – the kids will love to pick one for me).
    I have so much difficulty staying on top of “hygiene” cleaning – kitchen/bathroom/floors/laundry – that I really never seem to get around to “extras”. Unless they are SO dirty that they start to bug me and I feel the urge to clean. But then it’s like a project so it’s satisfying! :-)

    Our weekend involved my three year old’s birthday party, the end of a fortnight of laundry-hell, and ended with my four year old pooping in his bed last night (he was ill).

    I don’t think there are words to describe the state of our home this morning…

  35. My mom paid us in nickels to clean the baseboard too! But we used a bucket of soapy water and a rag. I HATED it because there would get to be this awful film of dust on the surface of the water. There weren’t enough nickels in the world after a while. I love the idea of doing it with a dry brush. And I am 9 months pregnant, so I think I may get a crazy nesting burst and try this soon!

    After the weekend…. sometimes our apartment looks like an episode of “Hoarders.” Is that too much information?

    Emily from ReadyToWait.com´s last post…The gondola

  36. Thanks Rachel. I have a really old bathroom where the steam has caused marks on the ceiling and walls – I just know they need someone with a ladder to get up there and scrub by hand – but who has the time for that??? Any ideas about how I could get the high walls and ceiling clean more easily please? Thanks :)

    angelvalerie´s last post…life is like a soap opera…

  37. When I was at the end of my pregnancy I had a major obsession with having clean baseboards. My sister came over and got on her hands and knees and cleaned them for me with a toothbrush, bowl of soapy water and an old rag. That was an act of true love and I was so excited to see my gleaming baseboards afterward!

    Quiana´s last post…Some things change

  38. Catherine says:

    Hmmmm…wreck comes to mind, as does tornado. Or better yet, being from New Orleans, HURRICANE! In fact, we used to call my daughter Hurricane Isabella.

  39. Our home looks as if a family of 6 stays there and not just 2.5. :-) But it feels warm, cozy and totally, lived-in.

    Prerna´s last post…Six Ways to Simplify Your Time Online

    • Karen (Scotland) says:

      Love this. I have to remember this for future when my fourth is big enough to include in the “blame” for the mess too. Not a 2.5 household…

  40. I usually say it looks like a bomb exploded.

  41. The dust brush is a great idea. What about those interior doors with all the panels carved out? These drive me crazy as they catch dust and are roughly textured so that dusting or scrubbing the stuff out is just about impossible. And there are 6 on each door!! Yuck!

  42. My favorite nitty-gritty cleaning advice came from this blog, I think. I clean what needs it–so if I notice my dusty bathroom baseboards, then I clean the bathroom baseboards, rather than waiting until I have time to get every baseboard in the whole house. Liberating!

    Lindsey´s last post…Wanderlust

  43. Looks good on Monday unless we have grandkids. They don’t leave until Sunday night and it doesn’t get done until Monday. I always clean and mop the kitchen because I can’t stand leaving it overnight but the rest waits until Monday. Small price to pay for spending time with loved ones!

  44. Every now and then I take a good look at my baseboards. My 95-yr-old house really stays dusty and the boards collect their own little dust bunnies after a few months. I wipe them down with a wet rag or run the brush attachment to my vacuum over them when they begin to look gray [instead of white].

  45. With two big dogs, I’m forever cleaning up dog hair.
    To keep the dog hair from instantly re-collecting on the baseboards, I’ve found that an old sock with some pledge dusting spray on it does a fantastic job – the hair doesn’t stick as easily and I can actually skip a week without it looking too shabby.

  46. Alexandria says:

    Good idea!

    I probably rarely do anything extra on the list, but our white baseboards can get pretty filthy.

    Of course, I clean them more since I found another trick. Those micro fiber clothes for dusting? Just wet them and run them along the baseboard. It skips the step of having to go over them twice. ;)

  47. Micro-fibre dusting mitt !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    This is a much better option to a dust broom because it soaks up the dust as it goes instead of spreading it all over the room. I suggest a light mist of water on it first to help the dust adhere to the fibres. I clean my baseboards this way every week. My cleaning theory is that any movement is exercise so cleaning is great exercise and I don’t waste money on gym fees.
    Colleen´s last post…Day 322 The garage – Before and after

  48. This is a great tip – I agree that cleaning these would probably give the room a much cleaner look if the base of every wall wasn’t all dusty. It’s just so hard to get around to cleaning little things like this on a regular basis, especially with kids running around and making messes.
    Cleaning Tips´s last post…Picking Your Own Produce- Make A Day Of It!

  49. I like to think that our home…our nest…as “lived in”. But my husband has the sweetes term…he says it looks “loved-in”. :-)

    On cleaning baseboards…my old back can’t take the bending over anymore so I use a broom…the regular type with a long handle. Works great. Just like a dustbroom. And no bending. :-)


    Mary @ Mary’s Nest´s last post…Culinary Her-story History

  50. Using a dust broom for cleaning baseboards is a great idea. You could also use a damp sponge mop with clean water to wash the baseboards. If the stains are still tough to remove, just scrub the area harder but do not use any abrasive tools such as a scouring pad to prevent any damage.