Clean These Things! – Top Places Germs Hide In Your Home
Spring is almost here, and for many of us that means “Spring Cleaning.” Given our busy schedules throughout the year, it’s easy to dread such a time.
Admittedly, when we have the opportunity, we might miss a few spots… or more than a few.
In order to effectively kill germs and bacteria, you can’t just use a few disinfecting wipes and dust here and there. It just won’t cut it.
Provided below, are the top three places you should focus on when cleaning your house. That is, if you intend to get rid of nasty dust bunnies and bacteria.
Most noteworthy, kitchens ranked among the top dirtiest place of a house.
According to a 2011 study by the National Sanitation Foundation, (NSF), areas where food preparation occurred contained more Salmonella (bacteria) and E.coli (fecal matter) than any other area in the house.
As a general rule, please be aware that moist and warm climates are the perfect breeding grounds for germs to thrive.
- Kitchen sink + knobs
Because we frequently in contact with knobs, it makes sense to keep them clean. If cleaning by hand, lather with soap and use HOT water. The other option is to use your household dishwasher. Hot water ensures bacteria and germs are eliminated.
- Cutting boards
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), recommends after use, use hot soapy water to clean cutting boards.
Most are dishwasher safe to kill bacteria excluding laminated boards. Specialty made boards may require special care. Always discard an overworn cutting board.
- Coffee makers
Remember that part about bacteria growing in hot or warm climates? Yep. This is the perfect place for that.
To clean out your coffee maker, use equal parts vinegar and water to flush out that gunk! Run your coffee maker as normal only once.
Removable parts should be cleaned separately.
- Fridge + kitchen countertops
A refrigerator should thoroughly be cleaned with hot soapy water. All removable parts should be washed and rinsed with hot water. Air dry excess water, and replace back inside.
To avoid cross-contamination, spills in the fridge and counter should be cleaned up immediately after spill is noticed.
Sanitize surfaces before any food prep using hot water before and again after food prep is complete using 1 tsp. Bleach + 1 qt. Water. Let it sit 10 mins.
Legend has it a toilet bowl is the dirtiest item in the house, but that is wrong.
The dirtiest is actually sponges and rags. These items constantly clean everything we get dirty like faucets, which are also considered highly contaminated areas.
So naturally… germs are harbored in them. Under no circumstances should you should use the same sponge to clean everything in a house. This only transfers germs across surfaces and creates more hygienic issues.
Additionally, use a new sponge every one-two weeks, and a new rag after each use. You can wash rags in the laundry to reuse them. Sponges last longer through multiple uses, so there is no need to wash them in a laundry cycle like a rag.
Per Good Housekeeping, if you find yourself in need of an immediate home remedy to clean a sponge, you can mix a simple solution of ¾ cup bleach, and a gallon of water. Soak for five minutes to sanitize most germs from a sponge.
- Faucet handles + bathroom sink
Depending on the build and finish of your bathroom sink faucet, you may not want to use brushes with abrasive material. However, your average scouring sponge or rag should be your best bet.
If you run into hard to reach areas, try using a Q-tip or toothbrush. Some faucet handles come apart. Use cleaning agents such as hot soapy water, including a small amount of bleach, or comet.
- Toothbrush holders + mirrors
If you’re not accustomed to rinsing out your toothbrush holder, there could be some things growing down there. Just take a whiff…
Use a cleaning toothbrush to clean toothbrush holders. Just a little comet and hot water will do the trick. If you’re not comfortable using bleach, you can try baking soda.
Furthermore, Windex or a similar cleaning agent along with your choice of paper towel or fresh rag will get rid of any saliva or water spills including makeup residue.
- Toilet (in and out)
Make sure you have a toilet brush handy for this one!
Most toilet cleaning agents have directions on the back that will let you know exactly how to use it. Scrub the inside of the toilet seat, and inside the toilet bowl crease, where bodily waste is often trapped. Flush.
Pour more solution. Let your toilet solution sit in the bowl for a good 15 minutes before flushing it. Meanwhile, use this time to clean the outside of the toilet bowl with a fresh rag or sponge.
Once you start cleaning one area of the house, you will notice that you use many of the same products across the whole house.
The key here is to make sure you’re careful when choosing your cleaning weapons and make sure not to spread germs.
Bathtubs should be cleaned as thoroughly as anything else using hot soapy water and or bleach agents. Many people fill the tub up with hot water and add bleach to sit for 15 – 30 mins.
Also, make sure you don’t forget the tub faucet, and inner tiles if you have them. Scum hides here. Now let’s get cleaning!
The Living room
When we leave extra papers, toys and other objects in the living room for long periods of time, they attract creepy crawlers, loads of germs, and plenty of opportunities for health problems.
Be mindful that frequently used remotes, TV’s, and other electronics such as a shared house phone and computer are no exception to the rule. Family, friends, and any guest that enters the home is likely to use these objects. Lysol disinfectant is a great cleaning option to eliminate bacteria and germs on these items.
Did you know carpets carry millions of dead skin cells, including dust and bacteria? A person sheds 1.5 million in one hour.
Research shows these sturdy layers of fiber can hold about eight times as many germs as a toilet bowl, and can even be dirtier than a city street.
Given that winter prompts us to wear all kinds of boots and extra layers of clothing, we track even more debris and dirt in the house and it collects until cleaned properly.
If you have carpet, or area rugs vacuuming certainly does help, but it doesn’t get everything. If you’re not vacuuming every day as well as cleaning, you can only imagine the diversity of bacteria living in it.
- All flat surfaces
There’s a diversity of surfaces in the living room and appliances are no exception when cleaning.
For example, you wouldn’t clean a TV surface with wood polish.
Nonetheless, wipe down every surface with the appropriate cleaning agent. Move bookshelves to clean in, around, and behind surfaces, dust off photos, and coffee tables.
- Carpets + rugs
Use both vacuums as well as carpet cleaning solution if you have it handy. Depending on the needs of your carpet, you may have to choose between a light or heavy duty vacuum.
You can generally treat rugs the same way, but again, depending on the fibers or materials, it may need a professional cleaner or high-quality vacuums.
In addition, be sure to run the vacuum in equal directions. Read your warning labels for any further directions.
- Behind + inside couches
Baking soda can break away bad odors and make it easier to clean dirt and debris inside a couch. Be sure to remove the seat cushions and pillows!
If your vacuum comes with a hose, you can use that to pick up most of the dirt and crumbs inside. If any serious stains remain use a standard cleaning solution suitable for your particular couch.
Also, don’t forget to check under and behind the couch, a lot of dust and dirt collects right under it. Hey! You found those sunglasses you were looking for!
TV, Xbox, Nintendo’s, Wiis, iPhones, Macs, or if you’re an Android user… clean those things! They are seriously packed with so much dirt. It’s certainly not on the kids’ minds!
How to clean them? Well, experts usually recommend using a microfiber cloth. Not a rag, sponge, or any rough material. Electronics contain sensitive materials especially the screens.
If you are able to take off the casing or other removable parts, be sure to do that in order to get inside the creases where things may have fallen in there including dust.
You can use rubbing alcohol to clean the outer parts of the plastic or a mix of diluted water and white vinegar.
Remember, if you make cleaning a habit, you’re less likely to attract unnecessary gunk and health problems.