Sure, you remember to wipe down your counters and mop your floors. But when it comes to germs, there are much dirtier places where they could be hiding. Did you know some areas of your home have more germs than a public toilet seat? And most of them are in your kitchen. Yeah, it’s pretty gross.
After the nastiest flu season we’ve seen in a while and some food poisoning scares we wish we could forget, cleaning and sanitizing your home is more important than ever. Your typical cleaning rotation is a great place to start — but it likely has some blind spots.
Besides knowing how often you need to clean the different areas of your home, it’s also critical to know where you need to clean. It goes beyond just your kitchen and door handles. Some of these items are in your car. Some, you carry with you constantly. And others are just sitting around your home, festering and growing more contaminated from your neglect.
It’s time to do spring cleaning the right way. Here are 15 items in your home that you never thought to clean, but really should.
Out of sight, out of mind. With your air vents out of direct view, it’s easy to forget to clean them. But behind those plastic vents, there’s a huge pileup of dirt and debris just begging to be cleaned. If you let the dust — and potentially mold — build up, it’ll get spewed throughout your home every time you turn on the AC. Air vents can be cleaned using an attachment on your vacuum. To clean your bathroom fan, simply remove the cover, unplug the fan, and clean the removable rotating piece with a damp cloth. You’d be surprised how much gunk can build up!
Hopefully you’re cleaning your car’s interior regularly, but if there’s one part of your car you should clean even more often, it’s the wheel. You touch that thing every single day — after wiping your nose, touching your face, being outside… We bet you even eat in your car, too, right after you touched the wheel! Good news is that it’s easy enough to clean. Simply keep your front seat stocked with disinfectant wipes and clean the wheel every now and then. You might also want to consider wiping down the radio buttons, door handles, and other areas.
We know to clean the nooks and crannies of our homes, but what about the objects you’re using to clean them? Your brooms, mops, sponges, and other cleaning utensils could be teeming with bacteria. After you clean, consider cleaning the tools you used themselves.
Think about it — your credit card gets around. That thing passes through the hands of waiters, cashiers, and clerks, as well as the insides of every card machine it swipes through. After all that foreign contact, it collects more germs than you’d think. According to a study conducted by microbiology students at St. Petersburg College, half of all credit cards sampled at local malls, stores, and hospitals tested positive for MRSA. Consider disinfecting your card now and again — or at least washing your own hands after you touch it!
Your silverware gets washed; your dishware gets washed…. But what about the drawers you store them in? Every now and then, empty out your kitchen drawers and do a clean sweep.
Everyone knows you have to clean makeup brushes, but your hairbrush is often forgotten. Luckily, they’re easy enough to clean. Simply use some shampoo and scrub the brush just as you would any other surface. Rinse, dry, and you’re all set!
You probably use your earbuds all day — they bounce around in your purse and your pocket, get shoved in your ears, passed through people’s hands… They can collect a gross amount of bacteria from your ears and the other surfaces they touch. Especially if you share them, these earbuds can easily pass germs from person to person. Without submerging them in water, simply clean them using a cloth and some soap or a disinfectant.
We know the ice at restaurants is swarming with E. coli, but what about the ice you’re making in your own home? If you aren’t cleaning your ice tray, you’re just as bad. Even though all you’re putting in the tray is water, you’re still touching that piece of plastic with your dirty hands every time you make yourself a drink.
Who knew you could get sick just from changing the channel? Your TV remote is hiding more germs than almost any other surface in your living room, accumulated from skin contact from all your friends and family, every time someone presses a button. Eating in front of the TV is great and all, but at what risk? Clean your remote control regularly to keep away from unwelcome germs.
Taking reusable bags to the grocery store may be eco-friendly, but experts are saying they can spread deadly bacteria if they’re used to carry raw fish and meat. Fatal bacteria — such as E. coli and campylobacter — can transfer from the outside of food packaging to your reusable bag. Once you fill your bag with more food again, the bacteria can infect your purchases. Wash these cloth bags as you would your clothes and towels.
Your bathroom gets hot and humid every time you shower — but do you ever disinfect that bunched-up shower curtain after it gets damp? Probably not, and you’re subjecting your bathroom to a whole lot of overgrown mold and bacteria as a result.
According to a study conducted in 2011, your toothbrush holder is the third dirtiest place in your home. When you clean it, make sure you get all the toothpaste, dried saliva, and other gunk out (you can use a pipe cleaner if it’s hard to reach).
Think that rotting pile of leftovers disappeared once you threw it in the garbage can? Think again. Tiny food and drink particles can splatter and seep onto the rim and handles of your trashcan, contaminating the trash itself even after you put in a fresh bag. That’s why your trash can is actually one of the dirtiest places in your kitchen.