Brass statue of the jockey on a horse

Tiny objects and tight spaces require special treatment when it comes to cleaning. While routine cleaning is the norm, sometimes it’s necessary to zoom in and clean the corners, crevices and creases of our home furnishings. Here are some tips to help.

Your first line of defense: frequent dust removal. This will prevent build-up that makes cleaning more difficult. Microfiber dusters can work well if you use a gentle and thorough approach. Even better: you can buy a great vacuum attachment kit for exactly this kind of cleaning, complete with an array of tools so diminutive they’re cute. Attach the tool and the adapter included to any vacuum hose and whisk away dust from keyboards, sound systems, sewing machines and more.

Decorative knickknacks and figurines: If dust has slowly turned to fine grime in the tiny angles of decorative objects, you have a few options. If objects are nonporous and submersible in water, it may be easiest to soak them in a solution of mild dish soap and warm water. Carefully clean objects with an old soft-bristle toothbrush, then rinse with a vinegar and clear water solution. Towel-dry with a clean cotton cloth. If water immersion isn’t an option, you’ll have to go with a more tedious technique. A tiny, good quality artist’s brush with very stiff bristles can be used to work out the dirt. You may be able to dip the brush slightly in a mild cleaning solution of white vinegar and dab at the corners. Avoid liquid soaps, which will leave a dull residue.

Window frames, baseboards, cupboards, fine cabinetry, picture frames, leather furniture. Gently vacuum what you can with a soft bristle attachment, or the artist’s brush may be useful if you are working around a delicate photo or painting. Another technique: wrap a credit card in thin flannel and run it carefully along straight edges or seams. Repeat with a fresh section of flannel until clean. If area to be cleaned is not sensitive to moisture, you can dampen the cloth slightly in a mild vinegar and water solution.

Keyboards, motherboards, electronics. These objects can’t be cleaned with anything wet or even moist without risking damage. Use the tiny tools vacuum attachment mentioned above or a can of special air propellant designed for this task.

Other tiny tasks: Old toothbrushes are time-honored scrubbers, of course. A clean cotton swab is another handy cleaning tool for corners or hard-to-reach small places. If the surface is impervious to moisture, dampen the swab with mild cleaning solution first. If you tend to the obsessive side, try wrapping a layer of thin flannel around a chrome needle used to inflate basketballs. How’s that for an itsy-bitsy cleaning tool?

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