Cleaning can be time-consuming and tiring, and few people among us enjoy all that scrubbing and scouring. It can be tempting to simply walk the vacuum cleaner around, wipe down some surfaces, straighten a few pillows, and call it a day. However, there are many benefits to performing a full and thorough clean at least once a month. Getting into those nooks and crannies you usually ignore and spending a few hours cleaning out those forgotten crevices can be incredibly satisfying. It can also prevent the buildup of dust and mold, which can harbor bacteria and viruses if left for long periods of time, and release allergens into the air.
Here are nine often overlooked items in your house that could benefit from a good cleaning, to maintain their functionality and keep your household healthy.
You wouldn’t think that dishwashers could get that dirty - after all, they’re self-cleaning, aren’t they? Unfortunately, this simply isn’t true, as food debris can collect around the filter over time, creating a scum that’s just perfect for growing bacteria and mold. Removing and cleaning out the dishwasher filter, before running a cycle on hot with a good dishwasher cleaner, will leave everything looking and smelling fresh in no time. The great thing about this is that it takes minimal effort, and you’ll quickly see a difference in how well your dishwasher performs once it is clean.
If your house has a ceiling fan, you probably don’t think much about cleaning the top of it. After all, it’s out of sight up there, so who cares if it’s a little grimy? Ceiling fans are, however, a dust trap, and can collect a thick layer in no time at all. These dust particles are then dislodged every time the fan is in motion, showering you and your family in allergens and settling on other surfaces in the room. This fan inevitably makes the rest of the room dirtier, and creates more cleaning work for you to do! Grab a step ladder and give your ceilings fans a wipe down at least once every few weeks, to decrease your workload and reduce the number of airborne allergens in your home.
You may not think it, but your household TV remote control is a hotspot for bacteria, and it is commonly overlooked when it comes to cleaning. Germs can easily build up in the crevices of remote controls, which are then transferred to your hands every time you change the channel. Giving all remotes a wipe down with disinfectant or an antibacterial wipe once a week can significantly reduce the number of harmful bacteria lurking between the buttons, preventing you or anyone else in your family from getting sick.
Light Switches and Door Handles
Also, often handled, but rarely cleaned, light switches and door handles can become filthy over time. You may not think it to look at them, but these are often coated with a layer of microscopic germs that are invisible to the naked eye. When these are transferred to the hands, they have the potential to make their way into the mouth if you eat without washing first, and you may not think to if you’ve touched nothing more than the kitchen door handle. Giving all switches and handles a once-over with an antibacterial wipe every week can help to keep your household germ-free, which can improve the overall health of your family members.
You may be on top of changing your sheets regularly, but have you ever thought to wash your actual pillows? Over time, pillows can become full of dust, dead skin cells, and dust mites, which is bad news for anyone with allergies. Putting them on a hot cycle in the washing machine twice a year, and drying them out on a low heat, can help to keep dust mites and germs at bay.
Whether you have a wall mounted toothbrush holder, or you simply keep your brushes in a glass by the sink, you probably don’t think too much about cleaning it regularly. However, toothbrush holders are often damp, and in the humid environment of your bathroom, it can be easy for bacteria and mold to take hold. Considering how often you put your toothbrush in your mouth, this is the last place you want to have a buildup of germs! Washing your toothbrush container with hot water and disinfectant when you clean the rest of your bathroom can reduce your chances of picking up any illnesses from your brush.
Another frequently neglected item is the washing machine, as you probably assume all that hot water and laundry detergent does the job for you. What you may not realize is that laundry can accumulate germs fast when left in the machine, even if it’s only for short periods of time. Remembering to quickly transfer damp laundry to the dryer can reduce bacteria buildup, and cleaning your washing machine once a month or so can prevent germs from taking hold inside the drum. Running a hot cycle with a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda is a quick, easy and effective way of keeping your washing machine clean.
Your shower curtain is the ideal breeding ground for mold and mildew, as all that humidity creates the perfect environment in which to grow. Fortunately, keeping your shower curtain clean is as simple as putting it in the washing machine every few weeks, where the detergent will kill off any germs or spores that may be living in the folds.
If you are in the habit of simply giving your kitchen countertops a quick wipe down after use, you may be neglecting to clean beneath your appliances. Crumbs can quickly accumulate underneath appliances where they can become moldy. This mold is not ideal in an environment in which you routinely prepare food, so moving everything out of the way for a thorough clean once a week is advisable. It may seem like a hassle, but it’s worth it to keep stomach bugs at bay.
Cleaning these often-overlooked household items may seem like a lot of extra work, but many can be dusted and disinfected within a few minutes without adding significantly to your workload. This cleaning can improve the overall health of your family members, and increase the longevity of your household appliances, saving you plenty of money in the long run.