While much of the world is busy with Marie Kondo's "The Art of Tidying Up" methods, we're over here less worried about keeping items that spark joy and more worried about getting rid of things that bring us unpleasantness, like germs and the illnesses they can cause. So while it's fine to go on a purging bender, you should also purge your house of these 16 filthy surfaces.
Imagine all the dust, germs, and bacteria your rags and sponges are picking up, then imagine expecting them to clean surfaces. US News & World Reports says cleaning your cleaning supplies is imperative to a clean house, while a study by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) points to the dish sponge and rags as the dirtiest things in your home. Throw your rags in the wash every one to two days, shake out your dusters and brooms weekly, and microwave your kitchen sponge for two minutes daily, then completely replace them every two weeks.
SOAP DISPENSER PUMPS
In the NSF study, the toothbrush holder was found to be the third germiest item in the home. NSF recommends running toothbrush holders through the sanitize cycle a couple times per week if your holder is dishwasher-safe. If not, hand wash with hot, soapy water and follow up with a sanitizing wipe one to two times per week.
Imagine how many hands, with who knows what on them, reach into the utensil tray daily — not to mention all the crumbs that fall in and make themselves at home. It's a good idea to empty the entire tray and wash it in the sink with warm, soapy water at least once a month.
According to the NFS study, pet bowls were found to be one of the top five dirtiest things in the average household. Pet bowls should be washed as frequently as human dishes. That means once a day or after each use. The sanitizing cycle of your dishwasher works just fine on these.
Sure, most people wash their coffee pot, but the actual coffee machine needs to be cleaned, too. As mentioned in the NSF study, the coffee reservoir — dark, damp, and a prime breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria — falls in the top five dirtiest items in the house. To clean it, either follow the manufacturer cleaning instructions or fill the reservoir with vinegar. Let it sit for 30 minutes, then run the vinegar through the machine followed by two to three water cycles to get the vinegar smell out. This should be done at least once a month or every 40 to 80 brews.
CELL PHONE AND TABLET SCREENS
HANDLES, DOORKNOBS, SWITCHES, & HANDRAILS
You come home after work or school, flip on the light, and unknowingly transfer a day's worth of germs to your light switch. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms how easy it is to transfer germs from hands to hard surfaces and recommends washing your hands with soap and clean, running water frequently. At home, take a disinfecting wipe and wipe down commonly touched surfaces, knobs, and switches a few times a week, if not daily during cold and flu season.
According to SleepyPeople.com, a pillow becomes one-third skin, dust mites, and dust mite droppings after just a few months without washing. One great alternative to cleaning your pillow — which can be hard to do — is to get a pillow protector that provides a barrier between your pillow and pillow case. Otherwise, Consumer Reports recommends fluffing your pillow daily to remove dust; airing it out once a month by hanging it outside on bright, breezy days; and washing it every few months on the lowest agitate cycle followed by the lowest heat cycle in the dryer. You can look up your particular pillow type to get more specific directions, and always make sure the pillow is completely dry before using it again.