Forgetting the Germiest Spots
Research by NSF International reveals that the germiest place in your home is actually the kitchen. That’s right, the place where you prepare and eat food may be the dirtiest spot. The biggest culprit? Your dish sponge or rag. Make sure you bleach or microwave your sponge every week.
Not Cleaning the Toilet Brush
Mold and bacteria love dark, humid places. After you clean your toilet, place the brush between the toilet bowl and seat, with the brush end facing inward. Lower the lid to secure the brush, then spray it with a disinfectant like vinegar or bleach. Let the brush dry before placing it back in the holder.
Related: 8 Ways to Mildew-Proof Your Bathroom
Doing the Lazy-Clean
We all know the feeling. We need to clean, but don’t particularly want to. So, instead of doing a good job, we wipe down all major surfaces with the same old rag. Instead, use paper towels and cleaning spray to target the major germ magnets: doorknobs, toothbrush holders, trash cans, the stove, remote controls, and sinks.
Rushing Your Cleaning Products
While commercial products do save time, they also need time to work. After spraying your bathroom tile, sinks, and shower curtain, give the product a few minutes to break down scum and mineral buildup. Then scrub gently with a sponge, rinse with fresh water, and towel-dry.
Smothering Your Laundry
Less is more when it comes to laundry detergent and softener. In fact, using too much of these products can be harmful to your clothes and the environment. Always use concentrated detergent as directed. For an alternative to softener sheets, try wool dryer balls or add one-half cup of baking soda to the water before tossing in your clothes.
Leaving the Lid Up
Keeping the toilet lid closed is not just a matter of decorum. When you leave the lid up when you flush, you're guaranteed to spread germs. This means that, because the sink is often so close to the toilet, toothbrushes and faucet handles can be some of the dirtiest surfaces in the home. Clean your toothbrush regularly, and wipe down faucets and handles with disinfectant.
Yes, it’s often the go-to product for disinfecting your home, but be mindful of your bleach use. Never mix bleach with ammonia, vinegar, lemon, or other acids, as this creates toxic chlorine gas. Keep bleached areas well ventilated, use bleach sparingly, and be especially careful when spraying surfaces near fabrics, rugs, and upholstery.
Forgetting to Clean the Cleaners
Those time-saving devices need some TLC too. Check your dishwasher filter every month or so. Empty your vacuum bag before it gets half full. Always clean your dryer’s lint trap. Grind up an occasional lemon peel to refresh your garbage disposal. And finally, take time to deep clean your countertop appliances: Even conscientious cleaners often overlook the coffee maker and blender.
Your phone, laptop, TV, and gaming console occasionally need a good clean. But never spray a disinfectant directly onto these delicate surfaces. First, wipe them with a dry microfiber cloth. Then dab a cotton pad in rubbing alcohol and wipe it lightly over the device. Use a toothpick or Q-tip for hard-to-clean areas between keys.
Vacuuming Throw Rugs
Pretending the Bed’s Clean
We spend (hopefully) 8 to 10 of every 24 hours in bed. At night, our bodies repair, sloughing off cells and hair—and creating allergens. Change your sheets every one to two weeks. At least once a month, dust the bed frame, and vacuum beneath and around the bed. Don’t forget to wash your blankets and duvet covers every few months too.
Tidying our environment can make us feel more relaxed and in control. That said, over-cleaning can be a sign of obsessive thinking and other anxiety disorders. Plus, scrubbing too hard and using large amounts of cleaning products can damage your belongings. Be kind to yourself and your home: Clean the most used places once a week, and do a deeper clean every few months.
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