If you consider yourself a clean freak, make sure you’re also cleaning these 10 things most people forget about.
Ew, that’s gross!
A 2008 U.K. study found that your keyboard is dirtier than a toilet seat — seriously! Your keyboard gets dirty for lots of reasons: not washing your hands often enough, eating and drinking near the computer, letting more than one person (especially small children) use the same computer and more.
So every two or three months, give your keyboard a good cleaning. A light cleaning can be just spraying between the keys with compressed air and lightly cleaning the keys and surrounding areas with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab. If it’s really bad, you may need to remove the keys and do a full cleaning.
Washer and dryer
Your washer and dryer probably aren’t as nasty as some other things on this list, but they still need some TLC. Your washer will stay mostly clean if you do a load of whites in hot water with bleach once a week, but you can still clean it once a month by running an empty load with hot water and bleach.
Clean your dryer lint filter after each load, and every three or four months, remove the lint filter and use a vacuum cleaner attachment to vacuum out any stray lint. You can scrub out the inside using a microfiber cloth dampened with vinegar.
Ever take your phone with you to the bathroom? A toilet can spew bacteria (including fecal matter) six feet around the bathroom. Disgusting! Even if you don’t take your phone to the bathroom, you use it constantly, rarely after washing your hands. It collects all the bacteria you pick up throughout the day. Regular phones can just get a couple wipes with an alcohol-soaked cloth. Cell phones require a little more care, so check your phone manufacturer’s directions.
Think about everything that happens to your remote control in a day. You touch it with Cheetos-stained hands, it gets lost behind the cushions, your 6-year-old sneezes or coughs on it… we could go on. According to a University of Arizona study, this is another one that has more bacteria than your toilet seat. At least weekly, give it a good rubdown with alcohol on a microfiber cloth, and replace it when it starts to get a little dingy despite your cleaning efforts.
Your trash can
Just because you line it doesn’t mean it’s not covered with germs. Every time you take out the garbage, spray out the inside with some disinfectant. Every two weeks, scrub it out in the tub with bleach water.
We all periodically clean the inside out, but cleaning the coils only takes 15 or 20 minutes and can extend the unit’s life and make it run more efficiently. Just buy a coil brush and go to town every six months.
Given all the stuff you keep in your purse, it’s no surprise the inside gets dirty — and we’re not talking about the black hole of disorganization. Cloth bags can be washed, but you can use alcohol-free baby wipes to clean leather bags (test them on the inside first) and a regular disinfecting wipe on vinyl or plastic ones.
Light switches and door handles
Next time you’re doing the dusting, don’t forget to wipe down the light switches and door handles. They’re rarely cleaned, but are touched by just about everyone in your home, including guests. Clean them at least once per week and daily when someone in the house is sick.
Your dishwasher gets stuffed with loads of dirty dishes, which it does a great job of cleaning. But it can also build up bacteria, mold and mildew. Clean it with vinegar once a month. Just pour the vinegar into a dishwasher-safe cup and put it in the dishwasher (upright) while it’s empty and run a full cycle. Then deodorize it by sprinkling in some baking soda and running a half-cycle. Then leave the door open for a few hours to dry. If you see mold and mildew, pour a cup of bleach inside (or vinegar and baking soda for stainless steel interiors) and run the cycle.
Even if you bathe and wash your hair at night before hitting the sack, you still slough cells and sweat, so your pillow can get pretty nasty. Not to mention what happens if you skip the shower a few times a month.
If your pillows are machine washable, you should wash them on the gentle cycle in hot water with mild soap, then dry them on low with a couple of clean tennis balls in the mix. Just make sure they’re really dry before you use them. This should be done every three to six months.