This week I helped my Aunt Rose-Marie winterize her Through-the-Wall AC units. Before putting the covers on them, I needed to clean the filters and grills that were all gunky with postseason dust, grease (in the kitchen), and cat hair (it’s a three kitty household).

FYI, you should always clean things before covering/putting them away for any extended period of time (i.e. yard furniture, BBQ, bedding, shoes, etc.). Not doing so can cause premature deterioration and mold growth.

This one particular unit was high on the wall of her 10-foot ceiling kitchen. Up on a ladder, I asked Aunt Ro to hand me a spray cleaner and something to wipe down the grills. Like a surgical assistant, she smacked into my hand… an electric toothbrush.

It took me a moment to understand what the hell she just handed me, and when I did, I started laughing so hard I nearly face-planted off the ladder. In true Aunt Ro form she told me to SHUT-UP and just try it…which I did…and to my surprise, I discovered the best little cleaning tool I’ve come across in years.


The small head gets into nooks and crannies, like a regular toothbrush, but the motorized vibrating action scrubs in a way, you manually can’t. (Obviously the same applies to tooth brushing, which is why my dental hygienist yells at me to start using one each visit.) It cleans but doesn’t scratch, especially the enamel on appliances, another tooth parallel! Add a multi-purpose spray cleaner, baking soda, vinegar etc. as a cleaning agent, even toothpaste, and get busy.

Here’s a list of electric toothbrush cleaning spots:

  • Stove and refrigerator crevices
  • AC grills
  • Window tracks
  • Grout joints
  • Sneaker treads
  • Coffee machine crannies and so on!

So don’t throw away an old electric toothbrush, or just pick up a cheap one. Keep it handy with your sponges and rags for effective hard to reach crevice cleaning… and cavity free appliances (wink, wink).

Norma sig

Got A DIY Question? Ask-The-Expert!

If you have a DIY home repair, maintenance or improvement question for Norma, now is your chance to ask-the-expert and have her answer. Your burning question may just be the “star” of an upcoming Fix-It Friday column.

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Fix-It Friday is an exclusive Women You Should Know® editorial series authored by seasoned veteran of home improvement, Norma Vally, the former host of Discovery Home Channel’s series “Toolbelt Diva” and a show on Sirius Satellite Radio by the same name. The weekly column is designed to inspire women – weekend warriors, aspiring handywomen, and even seasoned DIYers – to take on home repairs and maintenance projects with confidence and gusto.