We all know to wash the floors, wipe the counters and clean the toilets, but what about some of these hidden germ hotspots? If you’re looking to do a thorough clean, check out these 30 places you forget to clean around the house that really need a good going over!
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We have just had two stomach bugs that ran rampant through the house in recent weeks…not fun. In an effort to thoroughly deep clean the house to ensure all remnants of those virulent germs were gone, I’ve been cleaning EVERYTHING.
Like stomach bugs, flu germs can be easily shared within households – and we haven’t even begun to discuss the contagious childhood illness like slapped cheek, hand, foot and mouth disease, chicken pox, conjunctivitis or any of the other delights that our little germ-carriers can bring home from school and creche.
These germ hotspots around the house, typically items and places that everyone touches numerous times per day, are often places you forget to clean. So, grab some anti-bac and cleaning cloths and let’s get started!
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Places You Forget to Clean That Need Some Attention
The Front Door
Use an antibacterial spray and wipe down the front door handle, inside and out, as well as any security locks, chains or bolts.
A weird one to clean, I grant you that, but they always seem so grubby!
Wallets and Bank Cards
Think of how many times you take your wallet and/or bank cards out on a daily basis. Perhaps you put it down on a counter or table while you’re out. Do you hand over your bank card to a shop assistant or wait staff when paying?
Take a few minutes to give everything a good clean, and use the opportunity to clean out all those old receipts and shopping lists.
Mobile phones are with us all the time – in our hands while we’re out and about, put down on surfaces all the time – and then we pick them up and put them to our face…
Get into the habit of cleaning down your phone when you come home and help keep this germ hotspot as clean as possible!
If you have a landline phone at home too, it will also need a clean.
Your phone is not the only thing that gets germy throughout the day. Think of all the touch-screen devices we use, from music players and iPads to smart devices and Fitbit or smart watches.
Handbags, Backpacks, Lunch Bags and Briefcases
These bags are often put down on the ground in a school, office or other public setting and then get brought into the house. Avoid putting any of these bags down on a kitchen table or counter, and use an appropriate cleanser for the bag’s material.
One of the most common places you forget to clean are all the internal door handles around the house. Grab a cloth and some anti-bacterial spray, then go around and clean the handles (on both sides). By their very nature, they are designed to be touched, but often get overlooked when cleaning – as a result, they can really harbour bacteria.
As with door handles above, light switches – both wall-mounted and on individual lamps – are touched by everyone all day long and should be cleaned well.
A combination of lots of hands fighting over the control of the TV with all those little crevices around the buttons, ensures the remote control is a germ hotspot!
While you’re cleaning the remotes (TV, stereo, DVD player, etc), give any actual buttons on these electrical items a wipe down too. And don’t forget game controllers for any consoles you may have.
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Computer Keyboards, Trackpads and Mouse
Computer keyboards are shocking! Like remote controls, the constant touching and the ability to trap crumbs, germs, hair and all sorts of other delights ensures your keyboard is definitely less than sanitary.
What you use to clean the keyboard may vary depending on the brand/model. Flatter keys will allow for a wipe over with a cloth, while deeper ridges may need a thin cleaning tool (e.g. cotton bud or similar) to really get it all.
Don’t forget the mouse or trackpad too!
Whether you realise it or not, your computer screen is often filthy! Screen wipes, glasses cleaner wipes, or a lint-free cloth will all work well.
Plugs, Sockets and Power Switches
From the kettle and toaster to chargers, lamps and hair styling tools, remember all those plugs and socket switches that get plugged and unplugged throughout the day.
Bannister and Railings
Often forgotten, the bannisters along the stairs or railings on a landing need a quick wipe down.
Sponges, Pot Scrubs and Kitchen Cloths
One of the worst offenders for germs are the cloths and cleaning equipment we think are spotless. You can soak some cloths and sponges in diluted bleach or antibacterial solution to clean them, or invest in some microfibre cloths that can be machine washed.
If you have scrub brushes with removable heads, make sure to leave them somewhere to drain and dry properly, and change them on a regular basis.
Much like light switches and door handles, the cupboard handles are touched by everyone all day long.
Incorporate a quick wipe down as you clean the kitchen and it will soon become second nature.
Fridge Door Handle
Between drinks, snacks and mealtime preparations, the fridge door handle is probably the most used in the kitchen!
Get into the habit of wiping it down when you wipe your counters.
Fridge Shelves and Drawers
Spills, splashes and crumbs are par for the course in the fridge, so make sure to include it on your regular cleaning schedule.
I prefer to do a quick wipe out of the fridge just before I do my weekly supermarket shop (when the fridge is as empty as possible), and then do a full clean every month or two.
Like the washing machine, your dishwasher can accumulate plenty of dirt and grime. Before you embark on cleaning it however, you will need to empty the filter of food waste. Take the time now to top up on dishwasher salt, then move on to the cleaning.
You can buy specific cleaners in the supermarket, or run a full cycle with 1-2 cups of soda crystals on the base of the dishwasher. Follow with a rinse cycle before washing any dishes.
Plugs and Sink Drains
Oils, food scraps and general build up can leave your sinks in need of a clean. While the sink itself is most likely on your radar for a daily or regular clean, what about the plug and sink strainer?
Do you have toys in the bottom of your handbag? Does your child like to bring some favourite toys, teddies or dolls when you go out for the day? Use a child-friendly anti-bacterial cleaner, such as Dettol or Milton, to give these toys a fresh start.
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Make Up and Make Up Brushes
I absolutely hate cleaning my makeup brushes! However, dirty brushes will not only undo all the good work you’re doing looking after your skin and could be causing spots and breakouts, but they can also harbour bacteria that you are then reapplying to your delicate facial skin.
The general advice is that foundation and concealer brushes should be cleaned once a week, eye brushes every two weeks, and all others should be once a month.
Have you had pink eye/conjunctivitis or another eye condition? You will definitely want to wash those brushes and replacing your mascara is advised.
A proven way to reduce the amount of germs and bacteria in your home is to remove outdoor shoes at the door. It’s that simple.
Invest in some slippers for everyone to make taking their shoes off more inviting, and have a designated spot by the door for shoes to be kept organised.
Much like shoes mentioned above, suitcases on wheels have picked up a variety of dirt and germs from your travels. Give the wheels a quick wipe and lift rather than wheel the case inside your home.
When packing or unpacking your case, don’t put it on your bed – leave the case on the floor. Alternatively, pick up a folding suitcase stand that will raise the case for you.
Have you noticed that ‘fluff’ seems to get stuck in the extractor fans? This dust and dirt from around the house can also trap bacteria, and often gets overlooked in the cleaning schedule.
Give extractor fans a wipe on a regular basis. If you can remove the filter, clean it thoroughly on a bi-monthly basis.
Why is it that something like this gets so grubby?! Use a little dishwashing liquid and warm water to dissolve dried on toothpaste, and leave your toothbrush holder or cup spotless.
While your washing machine’s very job is to clean, it can also harbour plenty of germs and bacteria. Give your machine a regular thorough clean to keep it as fresh and efficient as possible.
There are specific washing machine cleaners available from the supermarket, or you can run a full cycle with a cup of soda crystals in the drum, followed by a cycle using 1-2 cups of white vinegar in the detergent drawer. Make sure to clean in the rubber seal around the door too, which easily traps fluff, hair and dirt.
If not opened out to dry properly, your shower curtain can become a damp and sad place. Some curtains can be washed, others need to be spot cleaned, so check the label and clean appropriately.
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Skin cells, sweat, dust and dust mites are just some of the delights stored in your mattress. Keep your slumber as pleasant as possible by giving your mattress a good deep clean.
First, strip the bed and vacuum the mattress. Next, spot clean any stains using a small amount of enzyme cleaner or dishwashing detergent and a damp cloth.
Sprinkle a layer of baking soda over the whole mattress and leave to work for several hours (or as long as possible). Vacuum the mattress again, making sure you get all the remaining baking soda.
If you have a reversible mattress, flip and do the other side too.
Curtains, cushions and lampshades are all common places you forget to clean, and can all become surprisingly dusty and dirty over time. Use a duster to get the bulk or a furniture vacuum attachment depending on the fabric in question.
Pet Bedding, Toys and Water/Food Bowls
Wash your pet’s bedding on a regular basis, adding 1-2 cups of vinegar or suitable disinfectant to the wash.
Similarly, toys and bowls should be wiped and washed often, particularly toys that are designed to hold food treats as there may be food remnants left inside.
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What are the places you forget to clean around the house? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!