As homeowners, we tend to fall into our own household cleaning routines, however, there are a ton of things in our homes we should be cleaning regularly but probably don’t. Let’s take a look at clever cleaning tricks to help keep your home safe so you can simply enjoy it.
Another One Bites the Dust
While dust is just dust to some, an article in Chemical & Engineering News states dust can contain a plethora of nasty items including pollen, bacteria, dead skin cells, dust mites, and even parts of dead bugs. When dust is disturbed, it can easily recirculate throughout a home. Dust can accumulate behind your appliances, and underneath furniture such as beds and sofas, ceilings and light fixtures, house plants, air ducts, window blinds, and along baseboards. The best way to keep dust from spreading when cleaning is by using a damp mop method. Don’t forget to flip your mattress seasonally and keep it fresh by sprinkling it lightly with baking soda and then vacuuming.
When’s the last time you cleaned your coffeemaker? For many of us, the answer may be never. And while we’re looking for a boost throughout the morning or the day, we definitely don’t want to be consuming bacteria instead of a pick-me-up. A survey by the National Science Foundation found the reservoirs in coffeemakers can be one of the top germ-laden items in your home. Routinely run removable parts through a dishwasher cycle, and clean the reservoir with a mix of water and vinegar. It’s also important to sanitize the ice maker in your fridge as per manufacturer recommendations. Your washing machine does all the hard work but if there’s a musty smell after doing a load, it’s time to clean it by adding vinegar and running a cycle using hot water.
According to a study conducted by NSF International, 27% of toothbrush holders are contaminated with harmful bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella. What to do? Once a week, clean out the holder as best you can with disinfectant and then pop it into the dishwasher to finish up the job. When’s the last time you cleaned your hairbrush? Dermatologists suggest regularly removing stray hairs from your brush, washing it with shampoo, and leaving it out to dry. It’s also important to wipe down items such as tissue holders or countertop soap dispensers to help eliminate cross-contamination between other bathroom accessories. Shower curtains get grimy quickly so throw them into the washer with a 1/2 cup baking soda and detergent, and then add a 1/2 cup vinegar during the rinse cycle.
We all know the importance of keeping our toilets clean, but did you know you should clean your shower head and underneath your shower door? Researchers at the University of Boulder found shower heads can be one of the most germ-filled items in our bathrooms. Clean your shower head by filling a small sandwich-type plastic bag with eco-friendly vinegar, and then securely fastening it in place using an elastic. Leave it overnight and voila, you’ve got a clean shower head that’s also free of calcium-clogging bits. Use a mix of vinegar and water in a spray bottle to clean the shower door seal by applying it, letting it sit, and then wiping it down.
If you’re using the same rag, dish sponge, kitchen towel, or mop to clean your home each time, chances are you’re spreading germs from one area to another. Even if you use a hot soap and water combination, it may not be enough to stop the filth from spreading. Microfibre cloths and mops are great alternatives as they’re budget-friendly and easy to sanitize by throwing them into your washer with some bleach. Remember to empty the dust bag regularly on your vacuum cleaner to avoid any nasty bacteria from forming. If you do your dishes by hand, always clean the rack with hot water and soap once you’ve put away your dishes. Trash cans throughout your home also require cleaning so they don’t get stinky and start to produce unsafe molds or bacteria. After cleaning, throwing in a dryer sheet before putting in a new trash bag helps to keep them smelling fresh.
If you use your phone in the bathroom as many people do, it could actually have E. coli bacteria on it. If you then take that same phone and place it on your bed, now you’ve transferred the germs there. Be sure to wash your hands after using the bathroom and regularly clean your phone with a disinfecting wipe. The same goes for remotes and keyboards, especially in a household where several family members are sharing the same items. Wipe them down regularly to help avoid germs from spreading.
If you work out at home, you probably spend some time wiping down your equipment afterward but do you clean your yoga mat? There are some great natural cleaning sprays out there, or you can make your own by using a 50/50 apple cider vinegar and water mix.
Money, Money, Money
Experts advise that the majority of dollar bills are coated with nearly 3,000 kinds of bacteria. So this is why we use ATM cards, right? Many countries now utilize plastic bills instead of paper, but a recent survey in Canada found there were still 209 bacterial cultures found on their currency. The best way to counteract any germs is to thoroughly wash or sanitize your hands after handling bills or coins, or using an ATM.
Pampering Your Pets
Pet bowls and toys are breeding grounds for bacteria. It makes sense when you think about how much pets slobber on seemingly everything in a home. Frequently wash feeding mats, pet bowls, and toys to help keep your furbabies safe and content.
Sanitize Your Keys & Handbags
It’s easy to transmit germs when you’re using your house, office, or home keys, as they’re a breeding ground for bacteria according to epidemiologists. But they’re also easy to clean with a sanitizing wipe so you don’t pass along nasty microbes to others, but using a bacterial spray isn’t recommended as droplets can cause remotes to stop working permanently. Handbags are routinely exposed to a variety of nasty scenarios including being put on floors, bathroom stalls, floorboards in cars, and seats on public transit, etc. All of these places can transfer bacteria in an instant. Clean the outside of your bags with antibacterial wipes to keep them from being icky.
Wash Your Windowsills & Door Frames/Knobs
As homeowners, we tend to clean our windows every spring and fall, but how often do you wipe down the windowsills themselves? A lot of dust can accumulate, as can moisture, so a quick fix is to routinely clean them using a damp cloth. The same goes for door frames/knobs where you can use a mix of soap and water or a disinfectant cloth.
Wash Your Reusable Grocery Bags
It’s fantastic you’re doing your part to help reduce your family’s carbon footprint, but if you’re not cleaning your reusable grocery bags, you could be unknowingly passing along bacteria every time you shop. Throw them into the wash and add some vinegar to kill any nasties that may be growing. And when you’re out shopping at a grocery store, always wipe down the handle before heading down the aisles.
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For more information on how to keep your home safe and bacteria-free, read:
- 7 HVAC Preventative Maintenance Tips
- How to Clean Your Hot Water Heater
- How to Keep Dishwasher Healthy
Author – Connie Motz