This article originally appeared on 99.co
There are certain things you can’t run away from, like a sink full of dirty dishes, or a laundry hamper overflowing with clothes. But how about the not-so-conspicuous aspects of your home?
Here are a few pointers on when, and how often, you should clean those often neglected areas.
Air out your bed…then make it
Most of us have probably been nagged at one point or another (or 1000 points in my case) to make my bed first thing in the morning. Well, according to Good Housekeeping Institute, that might actually be the worst thing to do as it might trap the millions of dust mites living in your bed. Instead, leave your bed unmade, and open, airing out the sheets. The air and light will dehydrate and kill those pesky mites. If you can’t stand the thought of an unmade bed, at least go have breakfast first before you make it.
You might think a quick wipe with a sponge or cleaning cloth is enough, but if your washcloths/sponges contain E.coli or other bacteria (as most used sponges/washcloths tend to), then you’re just spreading those germs around. Instead, use a disinfectant and paper towel. Once done, you can simply throw the paper towel in the trash.
Microwave your sponge
Of the 1000 sponges and dishcloths tested in Arizona, 10% were found to contain salmonella. They also found that the highest level of E. coli and other fecal-based bacteria in the home were on the sponges and dishcloths! Avoid that mess by microwaving your sponge on high for at least 30 seconds – but make sure your sponge doesn’t contain steel or any other metal.
As we mentioned earlier, your dishcloth may be harming you more than helping. Ideally you should wash your kitchen towels after each use. If you can’t, then you should at least be dipping your towels in a diluted bleach solution between uses, then letting them dry.
After Every 3 Uses
Bath and hand towels
You’d think that your bath and hand towels would probably be the cleanest things in your home – after all, you only use them after washing up – but apparently that couldn’t be further from the truth. Apparently, washing your towels after just 3 uses removes tens of millions of dead skin cells that would otherwise be trapped in there.
Wipe down microwave
The microwave isn’t a miracle worker. If you’ve got leftover splatterings all around your microwave, there’s a risk that your newly-microwaved food might get contaminated. To avoid that, make sure you wipe down your microwave at least once a week, and do a deep clean every two months.
Clean the bathtub
According to the Centre for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community at Simmons College in Boston, a comparison of bacteria found in bathtubs vs garbage cans found that 26% of tubs tested contained skin-infection causing bacteria, compared with just 6% of garbage cans. Considering the bathtub is where you go to get yourself clean, you should definitely be washing it regularly.
Cleaning a toilet isn’t just about dumping a bunch of clorox and giving a good flush. Make sure you disinfect the entire commode from top to bottom, and especially at the base where a few careless drops of urine might collect (we’re looking at you gentlemen!).
Deep clean microwave
We mentioned earlier the need to clean out your microwave at least once a week, but you should also do a deep clean at least twice a month on top of that. Mix half a cup of water with half a cup of white vinegar in a heat-safe dish, then microwave it on high until the window steams up. Once that’s done, simply wipe the inside down with a paper towel.
Clear out refrigerator
I’m sure I’m not the only who’s found a half-empty bag of carrots rotting away in some corner of the fridge. Try to avoid those nasty surprises (and nasty bacteria) by clearing out old food from your fridge at least twice a month. While you’re at it, make sure to wipe down the shelves (particularly the bottom shelf which collects moisture and condensation from the upper shelves) with a disinfectant.
Flush your drain with a mixture of vinegar, boiling water and baking soda. It’ll break down accumulated particles stuck in there and deodorise the pipes as well.
Wash bed linens
If you wait till your sheets start to smell funny before you pop them in the wash, you might want to rethink your approach – your bed linens hoard millions of skin cells and dust mites that are invisible to the naked eye. Make sure you wash your bed linens at least once a month, or sooner if you don’t shower at the end of each day, or you sleep in the buff.
Every 2 months
Mattress and Pillow Protectors
They might not get in direct contact with your skin, but sweat and oils from your skin still seep through your sheets and cases and contaminate the protectors. That’s why you should be sure to wash them at least every two months.
While you’re washing the protectors, give your mattress a good clean too. Simply sprinkle the mattress with baking soda to absorb odor, vacuum it, then spray the mattress with a disinfectant spray to kill bacteria.
Every 3 months
Even if you have pillow protectors, sweat and the occasional drool can nevertheless seep through even the best of protectors. Wash your pillows every 3 months to remove disgusting mold, bacteria and odors.
Clean throw pillows and blankets
The same goes for throw pillows, blankets and your comforters and duvets. Give them a good clean every 3 months to keep them fresh and germ-free!
Every 6 – 12 months
Unfortunately, the weekly vacuum isn’t going to be enough to keep your carpets fresh and clean. According to Men’s Health, the average carpet is around 4,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat and could contain up to 200,000 bacteria per square inch. Make sure you giving your carpets a good deep steam cleaning every 6 months (or at most, a year).
Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean the germs aren’t there! Do you have any deep cleaning tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!
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