We all know the dirty list: toilet seats, counters, bacteria-filled sponges, microwaves, and refrigerator door handles. But what about those forgotten or unnoticed items? The ones sitting in your house quietly collecting germs?
A study conducted by NSF International states that “the areas in which food is prepared actually contained more bacteria and fecal contamination than many other places in the home.” Yuck! An eye-opening fact considering that some areas in the kitchen may go unnoticed or forgotten.
I’m sharing my quick reference (it’s on my to-do list, too) on household items we forget to clean. Post it somewhere visible for future reference.
- Salt and Pepper Shakers: Let’s be honest, when was the last time you washed these? Often used at every meal and touched by multiple people, salt-and-pepper shakers are hot spots for germs to collect. For a quick clean, wipe the outside with a disinfectant wipe.
- Tumbler Seals: We all probably own at least one tumbler, but how often do you clean the rubber seal around the lid? These need to be removed completely and cleaned thoroughly to eliminate any mold and germs.
- Utensil holders: Silverware organizers, dish drain cups, and decorative utensil jars all require cleaning at some point. Even though it is the keeper of clean utensils, it is still touched repeatedly.
- Coffee Maker: No matter what type of coffee maker you have, it eventually needs sanitizing—every single part. This includes the pod holders, the reservoir and any trays. To get the inside clean, run a full capacity cycle of half water and half white vinegar, then run another all water cycle to prevent any vinegar taste in your next cup of Joe. Aim for this once a month.
- Bottom of the Trash Bin: Admittedly, this usually only gets done at my house when there has been a trash bag leak, but this should be done routinely considering it is the keeper of all the waste constantly. Take it outside, squirt some dish detergent inside, and hose it down, then let it air-dry in the sun. If that’s not an option, you can at least wipe it out with disinfectant wipes.
- Washing Machine: Moving away from the kitchen, let’s talk about laundry (And we all let out a long sigh.) Think about it: every piece of dirty clothing you have runs through the machine. Cleaning it is important because even though the tank itself gets clean during a wash, all the other parts do not. Remember to clean detergent trays, bleach compartments, lids, and all the little corners and areas that go untouched.
- Robes/Slippers: There’s nothing more cozy than wrapping yourself in a soft robe and warm slippers on a cold morning. However, make sure these get cleaned regularly, or you may just be cuddling with germs.
- Decorative Pillows: Mine have been taken over by kids and dogs, but should you still have the enjoyment of your decorative pillows, don’t forget that they need to be cleaned. Check the labels. Some can be thrown in the washer, but if they can’t, at least spray them down with an antibacterial spray. Pillows look innocent hanging out on the couch, but over time and with multiple contacts, they can become quite germy.
- Computer Keyboard/Mouse: Because this is a high-contact area, wipe it down frequently with antibacterial wipes. You will be surprised at what the wipe looks like afterwards, especially if multiple people are using the home computer.
- Phones: This is something you hear about more often, but the more the better, meaning wipe it down more often than not. According to the research firm Dscout, we touch our phones about 2,617 times a day. Talk about a germ fest! This is the item you touch constantly, breathe into, and lay in random places daily. And let’s be honest, it’s been taken into the bathroom before. To clean, make sure your device is unplugged, then wipe it down with a disinfectant wipe. Do not use any spray directly on your phone.
So start your 2022 year with these in mind, and you might spot more unexpected areas that could use a good wipe down. Feel free to share them in the comments.