Everyone loves a clean home but most people tend to clean only the obvious items in their homes, such as floors, cabinet tops, and furniture. Weekly cleaning usually covers just the basics and most people only do “spring cleaning,” i.e., a complete top-to-bottom cleaning, once a year. But is that really enough?
Believe it or not, the answer could be a resounding “no.” In fact, even during your spring cleaning, you could be missing some very important items that need cleaning and disinfecting more than just a few times a year. Moreover, during certain times of the year, it could be those very same items making you sick, which means that it’s even more important not to forget about them while cleaning.
Why It’s Important To Clean Household Surfaces
As a general rule, every item in your home should receive regular cleaning. While some items receive weekly cleaning and some only once-a-year cleaning, many other items are disregarded altogether. This is natural; after all, who thinks about cleaning their door handles or their light switch plates?
It’s good to keep in mind that you touch almost everything in your home on a regular basis and if you touch it, you need to clean it at least once in a while. In addition, you need to clean it the right way in order for it to receive the treatment it needs, using the appropriate cleaning products. If your curiosity has been piqued regarding items that you’re overlooking when you clean, keep reading because below are five items that you should start paying attention to.
1. The Lining of Your Shower Curtain
Let’s face it; you’ll never completely eliminate the chance for mold to build up on your shower curtain lining. There is simply too much dampness and humidity in your bathroom for that to happen. And even though shower curtain linings are usually very inexpensive, you still don’t want to be replacing them on a weekly or monthly basis.
There are actually several ways to get a shower curtain lining clean but perhaps the most effective method is to spray the bottom of the liner with an all-purpose or bathroom cleaner, then scrub the area with something such as a damp sponge, brush, or one of those “magic” erasers. Make sure that you scrub well until the grime is completely removed.
You can also machine-wash the liner but the method used will depend on the type of washer you have and whether or not there’s a center agitator. For front-loading machines without an agitator, wash the liner in cold water and add half a cup of white vinegar to the detergent mix. Once it’s gone through the wash cycle, hang it up to dry where it belongs in your shower.
If you have a top-loading machine, you can do roughly the same thing except for one small change: if you have an agitator, you’ll need to load some towels around the agitator and make sure that the curtain liner is on the outside of the machine. Otherwise, the agitator may destroy the liner as it’s being washed.
To reduce the damages done in between showers, just spray the bottom of the liner with a bathroom cleaner every time that you take a shower. It works as a preventative measure and helps keep your curtain liner clean longer.
2. Light Switch Plates
There is at least one light switch in every room in your home and they are easy to overlook when you’re cleaning. Unfortunately, light switches tend to harbor huge amounts of germs and bacteria so regular cleaning is crucial. If you think about how many times a day you touch these light switches, you’ll understand why cleaning them is so important.
Fortunately, cleaning a dirty light switch doesn’t have to be difficult. The more you disinfect the surface, the fewer germs and dirt it will have on it. If you clean the switch daily, you won’t have much dirt and grime to scrub. You can start by taking a washcloth and spraying it with an all-purpose cleaner, then wiping down the light switch thoroughly.
If there is dirt or grime in the cracks, you can use a toothpick or a cotton swab that has been dipped in alcohol to get into those cracks and clean them. The entire cleaning job should only last a few minutes. If you clean the plates when you clean your countertops, it will become a habit and the job also won’t take as long as it does in the beginning.
3. Door Handles
Regardless of what they’re made out of, door handles need regular cleaning in order to prevent staining and dirt buildup. Many of these handles are made out of stainless steel. To keep them attractive, all they need is some cleaning with warm water and mild dishwashing soap.
If you notice stains on the door handles, you can make a paste out of dishwashing powder and some water, then scrub the handles with the mixture. A few other things should also be kept in mind. First, make sure that you use a soft, clean cloth to scrub the door handles; and second, make sure that you rinse the handles with clean water afterward.
In addition to these things, disinfecting door handles is never a bad idea. Purchase an over-the-counter disinfecting spray and spray the handles, then wait a minute or two before wiping them down with a soft, dry cloth. Never use bleach if the door handles are made out of any type of metal, including brass and copper.
4. Your Coffeemaker
Coffeemakers can get stained after consistent use. While it’s easy not to think that these appliances need a good cleaning every now and then, coffeemakers can get awfully dirty because most people do little more than rinse out the carafe before making another pot of coffee.
If you have a drip coffeemaker, you can use a 2:1 cold water and vinegar solution — never use hot water — and place it into your reservoir. Turn the coffee pot on and let the solution run through the reservoir, then let it sit for roughly 15 minutes. Afterward, brew about a gallon of water through the machine to make sure you get the vinegar taste out of your coffee machine.
If you have a single-use coffeemaker, you have to first make sure that the pod is removed. Then combine half a cup of white vinegar and one cup of cold water and pour it into the reservoir. Once it’s brewed all the way through, turn the machine off and let it sit for 15 minutes. Next, brew water only for two complete cycles.
One thing to remember with each of these types of coffeemakers is to turn the machine off for a total of 15 minutes in between each brewing cycle. That way, the machine has time to get cleaned properly and thoroughly before you go to the next cycle. These are not exactly quick cleaning tasks because it will take a while to go through all of the cycles but it is worth it in the end.
5. Your TV Remote Control
Your TV remote control very likely gets used every single day, which means that it is filled with — wait for it — dead skin cells and lots of germs. Everyone touches the remote control so cleaning it at least once a week is a must. Fortunately, the cleaning time involved in this task is very short because you only need one item to clean it well.
To clean your remote control, you can use either a disinfectant wipe or a microfiber cloth and wipe it down good. If it’s extra dirty, you can use a little rubbing alcohol to get the dirt or grime off but make sure that the cotton ball or cloth you’re using is damp and not wet. Otherwise, the alcohol could seep into cracks and crevices and harm the remote.
It’s easy not to think about cleaning your remote control but germs spread disease and there are lots of germs on remote controls. Make sure that you clean yours once a week to keep it much cleaner.
Naturally, there are many other items in your home that you may not realize need regular cleaning, including your dishwasher and refrigerator, trash cans, cell phone, outdoor lights, and ceiling fans, among others. When you clean your home, try to clean as many of these items as possible so that keeping them clean is much simpler.
And if you’re wondering about which rooms to clean first and last, you should always start with the dirtiest room first and keep the least-dirtiest room for last. This not only allows you to get the difficult cleaning jobs out of the way quickly but it makes it much easier to stay motivated until the very end.