It’s rare to find an individual who claims to enjoy the task of cleaning. It’s a chore that never seems to end, no matter how much time and effort you put into it, you’re always going to have to do it all over again, it’s only a matter of time. But how much time?
While it’s obvious to most of us that you should regularly be cleaning your toilets and kitchen work tops, there might well be a few other key items you’re missing of your weekly “to-do” list. Here’s a comprehensive list of all those things you should be cleaning often, but probably aren’t.
You have probably heard that your mobile phone is covered in more bacteria than you would find on your toilet seat. When you think about how many time you touch your phone each day and how many places it travels with you, it’s easy to imagine how much grime can build up on your phone. To clean your mobile phone, lightly spritz and wipe with a microfiber cloth with rubbing alcohol. You should also remove the phone’s case once a week to ensure you’re removing any dirt trapped beneath and give your phone a more thorough cleaning.
If you’re using your computer or laptop daily, you should be cleaning your keyboard daily as well. Much like your phone, your keyboard is continuously receiving germ transfer from your fingertips during use. You can clean your keyboard in much the same way you do your phone also, using a microfiber cloth and rubbing alcohol. Extra products can be purchased to assist with removing dirt and dust from in-between the keys on your key board. These include sticky putties and sticky-tape like products.
Another object that gets used daily and often forgotten about when cleaning day comes around – your remote control. The number of hands grabbing the TV, stereo, or even aircon remote on a daily or weekly basis doesn’t bare thinking about. Make sure to keep your remote controls clean in much the same way you should your phone and keyboard. Cotton swabs can be useful to get into all the nooks and crannies around the buttons.
Most people easily remember to wash their sheets on a regular basis, but do you remember to thoroughly wash your pillows? You spend 8 hours with your head rested on your pillow every night. Your pillow is bound to accumulate sweat, dead skin, hair, and even drool. It’s worth thinking about the pillows when it comes to that monthly deep clean. Pillows should also ideally be replaced 3 months. This might seem like a lot, but your hygiene, and your sore neck, will thank you for it.
Have you ever cleaned your mattress? It’s home to everything from dead skin cells to dust mites, so it probably deserves a little bit more of your attention. Your mattress should be given a good deep cleaning every six months at most. To clean your mattress, you should vacuum, spot clean, deodorize, and air your mattress. Spend some time with the sheets off, allowing the mattress to “breathe”. Remember to flip your mattress every time you make your bed.
Weekly laundry loads come as standard in the up-keep of any household, but your bath towels should be cleaned every three uses. Hand towels should be washed every other day (or even daily) as they see frequent use and tend to be used to soak up leftover germs from recently-washed hands. A great tip to prevent mildew and keep your towels fluffy is to wash them with a little bit of vinegar (not so much that it leaves a scent behind).
If you’re using your bathroom frequently then your bathmat or rug should be washed weekly. Bath mats often don’t get fully dry between uses since they’re up against the floor in a damp space. This creates the ideal environment for bacteria and mold to grow. To keep your bathmat as hygienic as possible, you could consider removing it from the floor and hanging it over the shower door/the side of the bath to dry between uses. You should ensure to put your bathmat through the washing machine weekly.
The moist environment of your shower is ideal for the cultivation of mold and mildew. Therefore, you should make an effort to keep your shower as dry as possible as part of daily household maintenance. After each use, wipe the worst of the water off the walls using a towel. Always use a vent fan and leave the shower curtain or door open so that humidity can disperse. You can also open the bathroom window for a short period of time.
A more thorough clean should be undertaken on a weekly basis. Your shower walls, floor, and door should be sprayed with an all-purpose cleaning product and wiped down using a clean sponge or cloth. You should also clean grouting suing a soft scrub brush and a mixture of water and vinegar.
If the dishwasher is the place where dishes go to get clean, it stands to reason that you should make sure that your dishwasher is clean. Over time, food debris and soap scum accumulate in your dishwasher, resulting in a not-so-clean environment. If you don’t want your dishes coming out of the dishwasher with more bacteria than when they went in, you should make sure to clean you dishwasher on a monthly basis. Start by cleaning the dishwasher drain, then place a cup of white wine vinegar in the upper rack of the empty dishwasher and run a hot cycle. Follow this up with a sprinkle of baking soda across the bottom of the dishwasher and a second hot cycle.
The phrase “everything but the kitchen sink” doesn’t apply when it comes to things you should be cleaning on a regular basis. Your kitchen sink boasts one of the highest concentrations of microorganisms found anywhere inside the house. It’s almost essential that it’s cleaned daily for it to remain a safe tool for food preparation and dish cleaning. You can clean your sink using an all-purpose cleaner and hand soap. You should also put the strainer basket that sits over the drain through the dishwasher weekly.
A dirty dish sponge or dish clothe means you are, in fact, just spreading germs around rather than cleaning. Sponges and cloths should be cleaned daily with hot, soapy water. You should also consider microwaving your sponge while damp for 2 minutes in order to kill bacteria. Alternatively, you could put them through the top rack of your dishwasher. Even with everyday cleaning however, you should make sure to replace your dish sponge weekly.
Fridge & Freezer
Your fridge and freezer are where you store your food, so they should receive extra care and attention when you are cleaning the kitchen. Take the time, at least once a week, to wipe away any obvious spills or sticky spots in the fridge – be sure to dispose of any old produce while you’re there. Once a month, each shelf of your fridge should be emptied out and the shelves wiped down using an antibacterial solution. It’s also important to make sure to defrost your freezer on a regular basis also, this will maintain its cleanliness, as well as keeping your fridge-freezer in proper working order.
General Domestic Goods
Door Handles & Light Switches
This one seems to be something people only ever think about immediately after watching an infomercial about cold and flu season. The warnings these ads provide us with are highly accurate however, and you should be making sure to regularly wipe over the surfaces of your door handles and light switches with an antibacterial wipe.
Almost anything can get into your carpet from the dirt on your shoes to pet hair, not to mention anything your children might bring inside from their little adventures. The obvious first step is to vacuum. A thorough vacuum will do more than just remove the visible dirt and can even remove dust and common allergens from your carpet. After this, you should also consider a monthly “deep clean” using a carpet shampoo or conditioner. You might even want to consider calling in a professional once or twice a year to make sure the job is done properly and your carpets are kept in peak condition.
Washer and Dryer
Dirty washers and dryers prove themselves to be both unsanitary and dangerous, a common cause of household fires. To clean them, set your washer on the hottest and longest cycle with 2 cups of vinegar and ¼ cup of baking soda. Once this cycle is complete, scrub the inside of the washer’s drum with water and a scrub sponge. Make sure to remove and wash the tablet/powder draw. To clean your dryer, you simply need to empty out the lint tray and dryer duct.
Cleaning rituals are an important part of maintaining a manageable home environment that makes you feel comfortable and safe. These 15 forgotten cleaning spots are key to keeping your home and belongings clean and in working order. You may think this is more effort than you’re willing to invest, but it is a much easier process to clean your home than deal with a bedbug infestation or a housefire because you forgot to clean your dryer!
Luke is a freelance writer inspired by health, wellness and life!