Toilet bowls, garbage cans, sponges, that one crisper drawer in the fridge — all are objects that spring to mind when you think of the dirtiest things in your home, but there are other culprits, a little less obvious, teaming with germs.
1. Your drip coffeemaker
Your morning fix of caffeine might come with a little extra if you’re not cleaning your coffeemaker properly. The majority of household coffeemakers do not reach the temperatures required to kill germs within the internal piping and water reservoir.
HOW TO CLEAN IT: A one-part water and one-part vinegar solution run through the machine once a month will help impede mould and bacterial growth. Take half the solution and run it through your coffeemaker. Turn your machine off, let it sit for one hour and then run the second half of the solution through.
2. Your bed sheets
It is an often-ignored fact that pillows carry dead skin, dust mites, sweat and allergy-inducing fungi, but so do bed sheets — along with an additional litre of sweat per night.
HOW TO CLEAN THEM: Use hot water to launder your bed sheets and don’t be afraid to use bleach on occasion (if you can). Not only will this cleaning combo kill bacteria from your linens, it also cleanses your washer from unwanted germs that may be lingering in the drum.
3. Your laundry basket
Underwear, workout gear, bed sheets and other soiled items sit in the basket before heading to the washer, leaving behind a fair amount of grime.
HOW TO CLEAN IT: Keep separate bags for clean and dirty clothes and be sure to toss the bag in with the laundry as well. Plastic laundry baskets should be cleaned with regular household cleaners, but make sure the product you choose won’t discolour fabric.
4. Your toothbrush
Flushing the toilet can emit bathroom related bacteria into the air and onto the bristles of your toothbrush.
HOW TO CLEAN IT: You can run your toothbrush through the dishwasher, or keep it out of contamination’s way by putting it in a drawer or cupboard. Here are more tips on keeping that vital tool clean.
5. Your headphones
Earbuds, used for one hour or more, are coated with bacteria from inside your ear.
HOW TO CLEAN THEM: Cleaning electronics can be tricky. For earbuds, clean the exterior plastic with soapy water and be cautious around the grill. Use a clean, dry toothbrush to remove lint from the grill.
6. Your keys
Where you go, your keys go. The constantly man-handled object makes its rounds, but how often do you clean them?
HOW TO CLEAN THEM: While keys are often made of a brass and copper alloy, both naturally antibacterial substances, it’s still a good idea to clean them. Soapy water or a disinfectant will kill any lingering germs, or at the very least, give them a nice shine.
7. Your purse
In a recent but small study conducted in Wisconsin, it was discovered that handbags are some of the dirtiest things women go through. The study also uncovered that in as many as 25 per cent of purses traces of E. Coli was found.
HOW TO CLEAN IT: Use a disinfectant wipe to keep leather purses clean and run fabric handbags through the wash or send it to the dry cleaners. And never place your purse on the floor in a public washroom.
8. Your refrigerator seal
The seal on your fridge door often harbours moulds that you don’t want in your home, let alone near the food you consume.
HOW TO CLEAN IT: Be sure to wipe down this area at least once a week. Warm water and soup or regular household disinfectants will keep this spot clean.
9. Your shoes
Shoes can track a significant amount of bacteria, including E. Coli and pneumonia causing bacteria, into your home.
HOW TO CLEAN THEM: Make a no-shoes policy at your home and give the soles of your shoes a good scrub regularly. While there is no perfect solution, this will help keep certain germs at bay.
10. You (specifically your hands)
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but consider all the things you come in contact with through the course of the day — every hand rail that you touch (along with the dozens of other people who may or may not wash their hands after using the toilet), each bus seat, all those grocery carts.
HOW TO CLEAN THEM: Wash your hands often. You don’t have to develop a compulsion, but keep your hands clean with proper handwashing technique: add regular soap and rub your hands together, lathering all surfaces (front and back of hands, in between fingers, under nails) for 15 seconds and rinse under warm running water using a rubbing motion. Not sure you’re washing your hands for long enough? Sing Happy Birthday in your head, or aloud if you’re feeling festive.
By: Daniela Piteo
As previously published on the Cambridge Times.