7 Incredibly Germy Things You Need to Disinfect in Your Home ASAP
As daunting as cleaning our homes can feel sometimes, we begrudgingly wipe down the counters and vacuum the carpets because we know it's in our (and our family's) best interest. After all, a clean home is a healthier home. The good news is your never-ending quest to maintain a clean home may be overwhelming at times, but the benefits you and your family reap far outweigh the hassle of bustling around with that bucket of cleaning supplies and disinfectants every week. But as with all things, there are levels—and even in the most well-maintained homes, there are likely some places that get neglected. If you're not already disinfecting the seven important (yet often overlooked) spots below, it's time to double down and focus on these places where germs and bacteria are sure to be found. Luckily, most of these areas can be cleaned with a quick swipe of a disinfecting wipe, so you won't have to add on precious time to your cleaning routine.
Kitchen Sponges and Dish Towels
Yes, it’s true, the germiest room in your home is likely your kitchen. And it gets even worse—studies have shown that your dish sponge is the germiest, most bacteria-filled item in your home. It's a breeding ground for bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. However, since microwaving sponges has proven ineffective at disinfecting sponges, the safest bet is to simply replace your sponge every week. And if your sponge hangs out in a holder all day long, don't forget to disinfect that, too.
When it comes to disinfecting, dish towels are better than sponges, because they can be sanitized frequently using bleach or the sanitizing cycle on your washing machine. To keep germs in check, swap out cloth kitchen towels for a fresh set every other day.
After the kitchen, the second most germ-ridden room in your home is easily the bathroom, and surprisingly, the toothbrush holder is proven to be one of the germiest items. All types of microorganisms can be found on this container (we’re talking strep, listeria, and E. coli) that are easily transferred from your toothbrush to the holder. If you have a holder that is dishwasher-safe, clean it once a week on the sanitizing cycle. If your toothbrush holder isn’t designed to survive the dishwasher, give it a thorough hand wash with soap and hot water. It’s also a good practice to wipe down your toothbrush holder once a week with a disinfecting wipe. If you’re wondering about that toothbrush of yours, you need to replace it every three to four months, even sooner if you’ve been sick.
If you’re washing your pet’s feeding bowl just once a week, that’s six days too late according to experts. Dogs and cats have lots of unsanitary habits, and their water and feeding bowls are a breeding ground for uninvited and unwanted microorganisms. Just as you eat your daily meals off of a clean dish and drink from a clean cup, so should your furry friend. That’s right, food and water bowls should be thoroughly washed and sanitized (not just rinsed with water), every single day. You can either sanitize these items in the dishwasher, or wash them by hand with hot sudsy water. Once a week, these items should also be soaked for 10-15 minutes in a mixture of water and bleach (a gallon of water to each capful of bleach), then air-dried.
Remember all those nasty germs and microbes lurking on your kitchen dish sponge? Well, chances are they’re living in your sink as well. All of the germs from raw meat and other foods pass through this neglected area of your kitchen. Put this area on your radar and create a regular routine of washing and disinfecting the bottom and sides of the sink once or twice a week.
At least once a month you should also clean your kitchen sink drain and disposal by creating a solution of one quart of water to one teaspoon of bleach and pouring it down the drain.
Bathroom Faucet Handle
You know those touch-less, motion-activated bathroom faucets that have popped up in bathrooms across the country? They’re actually not a bad idea if you want to avoid picking up unwanted germs and bacteria from the faucet. When you think about it, it's no surprise your bathroom faucet is dirty: you go to the bathroom, and now your hands are dirty. You turn on the faucet with dirty hands, and once you're done washing, you turn off the faucet with clean hands. See the conundrum here?
Your best bet is to invest in a motion-activated faucet, but if your faucet is “old school” you need to clean it, and often. To keep the bacteria at bay, disinfect your faucet with a spray or wipes every single day. Try keeping a pack of wipes right in your bathroom cabinet to make this daily chore even easier.
Remotes and Electronics
Because we touch them so often, remotes and electronics are covered in germs and bacteria. It’s a good practice to sanitize and disinfect these items with wipes (be sure to wring the liquid out first so you don't damage the electronics) on a weekly basis. Cover your bases by wiping down remote controls, computer keyboards, video game controllers, touchscreen surfaces, computer mouses, smartphone covers, and tablet cases, using specialty wipes for electronics if necessary.
Handles, Light Switches, and Doorknobs
It’s easy to neglect these small surfaces when conducting your routine household cleaning, but they’re the perfect spot for germs to get passed around your household as each person opens the door or turns on the light. Use disinfecting wipes to clean and sanitize these areas weekly. We all slip up sometimes, but the best way to keep you and your family from falling prey to germs is to have a thorough cleaning routine and stick to it.