The Most Common Areas of the Home People Neglect to Clean: Are You Making This Mistake?
Keeping a house neat and tidy is part of daily and weekly home maintenance. While many people work actively to keep a residence clean, there may be places that are easily overlooked when it comes to cleaning tasks. Some of these tasks are not so obvious, and homeowners may not even realize they are neglecting important areas of a house. Attention to these details should help keep a home neat, clean, and free of potentially harmful germs.
Germ Hiding Places (PDF)
Germs hide in a number of out-of-the-way spots in a home. One area that can be easy to overlook is the garbage disposal. After processing food, bacteria can thrive in the garbage disposal. Metal areas of the garbage disposal will tend to repel germs, but the rubber components have a number of crevices where bacteria can thrive. Clean all components with a diluted bleach solution once per week. Scrub well, and then rinse to finish.
Germ Havens in Your Home (PDF)
Beds can hide many germs and bacteria in a home. Homeowners should steam-clean mattresses and box springs once per year to eliminate dust and dust mites. Placing a mattress protector over the mattress can help prevent infiltration. It’s also important to wash sheets weekly in hot water. Replace pillows once or twice a year to eliminate bacteria in the bed.
Germy Surfaces (PDF)
Surfaces in the home that people touch frequently can be a haven for germs and bacteria. Homeowners should disinfect surfaces such as light switches, telephones, lamps, toilet flushers, sink taps, doorknobs, drawer pulls, and appliance handles. This disinfecting can be especially important after family members have been sick with contagious illnesses.
People may have bathrooms with sinks and showers that are seldom used. Cleaning these areas may seem unnecessary, especially if family members don’t use these areas regularly. However, germs can accumulate on these surfaces even without regular use. Turn on taps and showers at least once per week and run warm water for a moment or two to eliminate bacteria buildup.
Gadgets and appliances in the kitchen can be unexpected sources of germs and bacteria. The gears of a can opener may contain mold and E. coli. The gasket of a blender could contain salmonella, E. coli, and mold. Even vegetable and meat compartments in the refrigerator have been known to contain contaminants such as listeria, salmonella, and E. coli.
The Dirty Dozen (PDF)
On the bathroom counter, the toothbrush holder can be the home of harmful germs. This can be especially true if the toothbrush holder sits in a place where it might receive water sprays from the nearby toilet. Remove toothbrushes and replace them after several months. Clean out the toothbrush holder to ensure that the inside of it is clean and sparkling.
With regular use, a ceiling fan tends to accumulate significant dust and grime. Several times a year, homeowners should wipe down all surfaces, including the motor housing, blades, and canopy. Depending on the location of the ceiling fan, the appliance might accumulate greasy dust. To remove this grime, start at the top and work toward the bottom using a degreasing cleaning agent.
Condenser coils may sit at the back of the refrigerator or on the bottom or top of it. These coils can accumulate dust and debris, which may cause the refrigerator to malfunction over time. Cleaning these coils once or twice a year can help ensure that the refrigerator operates efficiently. Unplug the refrigerator, remove the covering over the coils, and vacuum them with a brush attachment.
Living areas tend to accumulate dust over time. While people usually vacuum the floors and dust tables and bookshelves regularly, they may overlook other spots in the home. For instance, use a damp rag to dust baseboards several times each year. This small niche will become dusty when ignored.
Window surfaces will need regular cleaning to keep them gleaming. Another window area also needs maintenance, but people often neglect this task: The frames and tracks surrounding windows will accumulate dirt and debris, too. In moist environments, mold may even develop in these areas. Vacuum away dust regularly. Once a month, wipe these surfaces with a soapy rag to keep them clean.
Some of the dirtiest places in your home might be the ones you least expect. For instance, cleaning the outside of the coffee maker and the carafe may be typical tasks performed in the home, but the reservoir can be a haven for bacteria because it tends to stay moist. To keep a coffee maker reservoir clean, disassemble the entire appliance after every use and wash the components with soapy water. Keep the lid of the reservoir open when the appliance is not in use. And clean the appliance and the inside of the reservoir once a month by running diluted white vinegar through it.