Cleaning your home can be a long and exhausting exercise. Many view cleaning like laundry, a necessary but often joyless chore. There are, of course, people who actually enjoy all the scrubbing, and wiping, and polishing. But for the rest of us, the temptation to do a quick, half-hearted and superficial tidying up is a common predicament. However, there are many advantages in a complete and thorough cleaning of your home. Think of it as a less aggressive spring cleaning done at least once a month. Who knows, you might enjoy going through all those forgotten corners, shelves, high cabinets, and other nooks and crannies. Wiping away several month’s buildup of dust and debris can be very fulfilling. Of course, knowing that your ridding your home of these germ, mold, and allergen breeding grounds will give you that important feeling of accomplishment as well.
Let’s take a look at 9 areas and items in your home that are typically overlooked. Giving these things some attention will not only extend their lifespan, but it will also contribute to the overall cleanliness and hygiene of your home.
1. Remote Controls
Although it may be one of the most used items in your home, the remote control is probably the most overlooked as well when it comes to a good thorough cleanup. We seldom think twice about even giving our TV remotes a quick wipe. However, many studies confirm that remote controls are among the top items for bacteria buildup.
All those crevices and corners on a remote control make it perfect for collecting grime and bacteria. If you’ve seen, or even own, a remote control with greenish rings of grime buildup around each button, you’ll know what we’re talking about. Keep your remotes from turning into breeding grounds by giving it a good wipe down with antibacterial wipes or disinfectant at least twice a week. Using rubbing alcohol on your hands before touching remotes will also help reduce bacterial numbers. Since families often share a home’s remote control, keeping remotes clean will prevent the spread of disease-causing germs.
You may already have your sheets cleaning schedule down pat. However, do you remember the last time you have your actual pillows a wash? As you use them, pillows slowly collect sweat, oils, dust, and dead skin cells which is a paradise for dust mites. The combination of dust and dust mites can lead to sleepless nights for those with allergies or respiratory problems. Make it a goal to put your pillows through a hot wash, either by hand or in your washing machine every six months. If possible, dry them completely under the sun. As a result, you minimise the number of bacteria and dust mites on your pillows, keep them fluffy, and extend their lifespan.
Of course, you should consider replacing years-old pillows that have flattened and become heavier over time. You wouldn’t want to rest your head and face on whatever has added that weight.
3. Door Handles and Light Switches
Like the remote control, door handles and light switches are things you use every day that are seldom given a good cleaning. Similarly, they can also become a hotspot for bacteria. Although they may not look dirty, door handles and light switches are often riddled with germs, especially those located in the kitchen, bathrooms, and toilets. Thus, filthy handles and switches can contribute to the spread of sickness and disease in the home. If you notice that you or your family members often feel sick or are easily fatigued, uncleaned handles and switches may carry part of the blame.
Aim to clean and disinfect your light switches and door handles as often as your remotes and twice as much for the switches and handles in your kitchen or bath. Use antibacterial wipes or cleaning cloths soaked with rubbing alcohol.
4. Ceiling Fans
Many often neglect cleaning their ceiling fans, particularly the unseen hard to reach side facing the ceiling. It’s always spinning so how dirty could it get, right? In reality, ceiling fans are not just dust magnets; they can also collect oils and fluids. Ceiling fans in high-humidity homes are even worse. If you need some motivation to reach all the way to the other side of the fan, just remember that ceiling fan left uncleaned is basically a dust, grime, and bacteria spray, delivering harmful pathogens all around your home and its inhabitants. Get a ladder, quick! Give it a wipe with a damp cleaning cloth and disinfect. Seeing that buildup of scum on your cleaning cloth will give you further motivation to keep a regular cleaning fan schedule.
5. Toothbrush Holder
We briefly mentioned the role humidity plays in providing an environment for germs and bacteria to thrive. Your bathroom is often the most humid room in the house. Although you may be diligent in cleaning your bathroom, you might be overlooking one or two items, namely your toothbrush holder and the shower curtain.
The damp and humid environment that toothbrush holders are in are hotbeds for microorganism and mold. Just imagine collecting germs every time you take your toothbrush from its holder into your mouth! When you clean your bathroom, consider giving special attention to your toothbrush holder (clean your toothbrush as well). Turn on the hot water and wash them thoroughly. Afterward, wipe with a disinfectant and dry completely.
What about your shower curtains?
6. Shower Curtain
Don’t just clean your shower curtains when it becomes stiff and is enveloped in disgusting green scum. Like your toothbrush holder, shower curtains and the humidity of the bathroom are an inviting place for bacterial growth. Make it a goal to put your shower curtains through the wash at least twice a month. Laundry detergent will be effective in ridding it of any spores or bacteria living in the folds of the curtain.
Another enclosed, warm, and humid area in the home is the dishwasher. But, you might ask, ” doesn’t dishwasher wash and clean itself?” Yes, it does clean itself as it washes your dishes. However, over time, the debris and scraps from your dishes can collect inside the many nooks and crannies inside a dishwasher. Combined with the bacteria-perfect atmosphere and lack of sunlight, food debris becomes a buffet for hungry microorganisms. When you dishwasher starts smelling funky, it’s way past its cleaning date.
Thankfully, there’s no need to get down and dirty all up in your dishwasher. Just remove and run the dishwasher filter under hot water, then run a hot cycle using your local dishwasher cleaner. Your dishwasher will smell, look, and run like new again!
8. Washing Machine
Your washing machine is another appliance that cleans but seldom gets cleaned itself. The inside of a washing machine is similar to that of your dishwasher. So, the bacteria and germs found in your damp clothes can quickly lead to grime and mould buildup, especially in the drum. Even leaving clean laundry in the drum can contribute the filthy buildup. To prevent your washing machine from collecting germs and scum, remember to move laundry as soon as its finished. Also, aim to clean your washer at least once a month. Running a hot cycle with a simple solution of baking soda and white vinegar is an easy and simple way to keep your washing machine spick, span, and spinning.
9. The Space Underneath and Behind Furniture and Appliances
Many of us may be guilty of neglecting the surfaces underneath or behind furniture and appliances. After all, out of sight, out of mind. However, it’s surprising how dust, dirt, and debris quickly accumulate in these areas. It’s especially true for the unseen areas in the kitchen and kitchen counter. Although it might require some lifting, you’ll do your family, yourself, and your tummy a favour but thoroughly cleaning these areas one to two times a week.
There is a myriad of benefits in giving closer attention to the oft-neglected areas above. Although cleaning them may seem like extra work, a frequent cleaning schedule will mean you won’t need to do any major (and exhausting) scrubbing in the long run. Also, cleaning the items above will help extend their lifespan and maintain the functionality. Most importantly though, keeping these areas and items immaculate and hygienic will improve and protect your family’s health.