Looking for an easy way conquer those chores? Focusing on surprising hot spots ensures a healthier you and a spring-fresh home in minutes! Find out where the germiest spots in your home are, which places you should be cleaning on a daily basis, and how do so in a flash.
In your kitchen: Spritz down the sink.
Fact: Your kitchen sink contains more germs than your toilet seat. “That’s because sinks are constantly damp and a catchall for food scraps, dirt and grime,” explains Lauren Bowen of Two Maids & A Mop.
Luckily, sanitizing your sink is easy. Once a week, just wipe it with a sponge and a little soap and water. Then, spray it with a one-to-one ratio of vinegar and water — vinegar is a natural disinfectant that kills most germs. For the finishing touch, spritz on a bit of hydrogen peroxide, which will zap any bacteria the vinegar didn’t eliminate.
Prefer a pre-made cleaning spritz? We love the Clorox Multi-Purpose Refillable Cleaner, bleach-free (Buy from Lowes, $4.98).
Also smart: Refresh the garbage disposal, a stealth germ trap. Just throw in a few citrus peels (they boast natural antibiotic properties and their bumpy surface scrubs where you can’t reach), then run the disposal and the hot water.
In your bathroom: Hang towels this way.
One of the germiest spots in your bathroom may shock you: It’s your hand towel. In fact, a recent study found that 90 percent of bathroom towels were contaminated with coliform bacteria.
“Because their surface is so absorbent, they hold on to airborne germs,” says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid. The fix: Just hang towels up after each use, rather than leaving them folded next to the sink. And to keep them bacteria-free, after every three to four uses, throw them in the washing machine on the hot cycle with a splash of white vinegar.
Also smart: Toss your shower liner (a hot spot for mold) in the wash on warm with the hand towels! Says Peterson, “Washing them together allows the towels to scrub the liner, ensuring stuck-on soap scum lifts right off.”
In your bedroom: Clean mattresses fast.
When researchers tested mattresses less than a year old, they found more than three million bacteria on average, per square inch. “Mattresses absorb the same dirt, sweat, and bacteria as your sheets, but they don’t get a weekly run through the washing machine,” says Beth McCallum of OhSoSpotless.com.
Luckily, it’s easy to refresh your mattress. Just run the vacuum hose over it to suck up surface grime! “Then about once a month, sprinkle it with odor-absorbing baking soda and let it sit for a few hours before vacuuming,” she adds.
Also smart: Consider spritzing your mattress with lavender essential oil. The soothing scent will help you fall asleep and it’s proven to kill bacteria.
Germ-proof your devices: Banish phone germs.
A recent survey found that three in four Americans use their phones while in the restroom, and that’s chiefly why the devices frequently test positive for viruses and bacteria. The easy fix: Simply clean your phone with a disinfecting wipe after leaving the bathroom to kill almost 90 percent of germs. (Or take one of our magazines in there with you instead!)
Sidestep keyboard grime.
“Top of the list of electronic germ hot spots? Your keyboard,” says Harry Peters of TidyChoice. That’s because we tend to snack at our computer, causing crumbs. To clean the keyboard, run Silly Putty over it — the sticky surface will catch debris like a magnet. And to disinfect it, spritz it with a little Clorox Disinfecting Mist (Buy from Walmart, $4.98).
The most frequently touched surface in your home is actually your remote control — making it one of the germiest spots. Wiping this down frequently and quickly with a disinfectant wipe should help prevent it from becoming a vector for cold and flu viruses.
And to stop excess liquid from getting into the remote while you clean, consider shielding it with a single layer of plastic wrap. Or pick up remote control plastic covers (Buy from Amazon, $7.99).
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A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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