How to Clean Baseboards – The Ultimate Guide

While you’re getting into your spring cleaning, make sure to spend some time cleaning baseboards. Although they might seem insignificant, once they’re clean it’ll make a big impact. Not sure how to go about cleaning baseboards? Don’t worry, I’ve put together an easy-to-follow guide for baseboard cleaning.

There are some parts of the house that are easy to clean, but there are others that are far too often forgotten and overlooked. The baseboards are one of these.

When you spend time cleaning a room, sweeping, mopping, and dusting, something as simple as a stained baseboard will ruin the clean effect. Because baseboards are near the ground, they pick up a lot of dust and dirt especially in hard to reach areas. They’re also especially susceptible to spills and splatter.

1 Dirty Baseboard

Here’s a shot of my baseboards before cleaning. Pretty bad, huh?

2 Cleaned Baseboard

Here’s the baseboard post clean. Definitely looks better.

When To Clean Baseboards

I want to clarify that I don’t think you need to clean the baseboards as often as, say, you wash dishes. However, it’s not a bad idea to clean these off every time you dive into deep cleaning.

If you’ve never cleaned your baseboards, you’ll want to set aside some time for an intense clean. However, once you’ve done your first cleaning, you’ll be able to spot clean as necessary and only do a thorough cleaning a few times a year.

Baseboard cleaning should be the last thing to get done when you’re cleaning a room. If you clean the baseboards, then sweep and mop, the dust will stick to the wet baseboards and undo all your progress.

For any kind of deep cleaning project, I suggest doing one room at a time so you can give it your full energy and motivation instead of trying to clean the entire house haphazardly.

How To Clean Baseboards

Step One:

Before you get out your soap and water, you want to get the initial layer of dust off your baseboards. If you haven’t cleaned your baseboards in a while, there’s probably a solid layer of dust from sweeping and general day-to-day activity.

I’ve found that the best way to clean and remove this layer of dust is to use the arm attachment of a vacuum cleaner. Depending on the amount of dust, you can use the thin plastic attachment or the brush addition.

Just run it along the top and bottom of the baseboard and your cleaning will be much easier. If you don’t have a vacuum, you can also use a duster for this. You can also just use a broom to sweep along the edges of the baseboard as a way to clean.

3 Vacuum Dust

The brush attachment of a vacuum cleaner gets the first layer of dust up in no time.

Step Two:

Now it’s time to really get into cleaning. Start by gathering your supplies: warm water with either dish soap or vinegar, a sponge or magic eraser, and a cotton swab or toothbrush.

If your baseboards are stained instead of painted, you’ll want to use wood cleaner instead of dish soap or vinegar, and you may want to use a sponge instead of a magic eraser for a gentler cleaning.

Dip your sponge into the warm water, rinse as much as you can, and start scrubbing along the edge of the baseboard. As with cleaning most things, it’s best to start high and work your way down.

Use either a toothbrush or a cotton swab to clean the corners and the edge where the baseboard meets the floor, since that’s where a lot of dirt accumulates. After scrubbing with a toothbrush, run over this area with the sponge to make sure you’ve picked up any dirt.

You can also use the toothbrush to scrub at particularly difficult stains or spots that aren’t coming off with the sponge.

4 Magic Eraser

A magic eraser works great for cleaning baseboards, especially when combined with the warm water and soap.

5 Toothbrush

I was amazed by how well if you use a dry toothbrush you can reach the cracks and corners to clean your baseboards.

Step Three:

Now that you’re done scrubbing, you might want to dry the baseboards so the room doesn’t pick up moisture. You can gently rub a clean microfiber cloth over the baseboards (use a dry microfiber cloth first, followed by a damp microfiber cloth) or just place a rotating fan in the room to speed up the drying process.

If you had to move furniture in order to clean the baseboards, it’s important not to put furniture back against the walls until the baseboards are dry.

Step Four:

This final step is optional, but definitely worth it. Take an unused dryer sheet and run it along the baseboards. You don’t need to scrub or spend too much time here, just rub the sheet along the wall.

For one, this will leave a fresh, clean scent in the room for several days. But dryer sheets also have some properties that repel dust. This means that adding in this fourth step can keep your baseboards clean for longer between cleanings.

(Dryer sheets also repel some insects, like stink bugs, weevils, and even cockroaches.)

6 Dirty Wall

When cleaning your baseboards, this is a great time to also clean the wall. Here’s my before.

7 Clean Wall

I can’t quite explain how much better the kitchen looks now that the walls and baseboards no longer have food splatter! 

Extra Cleaning Tips

Here are some extra tips to help you clean your baseboards effortlessly, quickly, and efficiently:

  • Before you start, make sure you have access to all the baseboards you want to clean. This means moving furniture and other objects out of the way before you start.
  • Try to clean all the baseboards in a room at once. It’ll be hard to tell where you stopped if you only clean part of a room.
  • If your knees hurt from kneeling to clean, try folding a yoga mat or clean towel to kneel on as you work.
  • Set a reminder to get up and stretch every ten minutes or so. Bending over to clean can be hard on your back, so remember to sit up and focus on your posture.
  • Listen to music while you work! Music always makes cleaning a little easier.
  • After you’ve cleaned, you can spot clean with clorox wipes or a paper towel with some soap and water.

0. How to Clean Baseboards