Do you know how often you’re supposed to clean your coffee maker, or even how to do it? We’re here to teach you, and to point out some other overlooked items you should consider showing a little TLC.
When you clean your house, you probably vacuum, change the sheets, clean the sink and toilet bowl…maybe you even wipe off the countertops if you’re feeling ambitious. But there are some items in your house that you’ve probably never cleaned in the entire time you’ve owned them. We hate to burst your bubble, but there are tons of seemingly clean items that are actually breeding grounds for bacteria (think: literally anything in your bathroom) and if you let them go for too long, they could cause you to get sick. That’s why we rounded up ten things you’ve probably neglected to clean, and gathered some advice on how to do it. We promise this will be relatively painless, and when you’re done you’ll sleep well knowing your house is spic and span.
Strap in for this icky fact: Did you know that your toothbrush holder is quite likely to be the germiest item in your entire bathroom? In fact, the only things in your entire house that probably have more germs are your kitchen sink and sponge. Let that sink in. Toothbrush holders aren’t expensive, and you can get some pretty adorable ones to match your decor. Make sure that if the style you get is a cup (aka, something that can collect grime at the bottom) that it’s dishwasher safe — then just pop it in there about once a week. If it’s not dishwasher safe, you can clean it by filling it with an antibacterial mouthwash and then scrubbing the sides with a small bristle brush.
If you’ve been using the same loofah in your shower for years, you might be doing your skin more damage than good. This might sound shocking, but you should actually be cleaning your loofah weekly. You can do this by letting it soak in a diluted bleach solution, or just popping it in the dishwasher. You should also replace your loofah every few months — which is a great reason to buy more than one at a time! We love this pack of four for $10.
You probably know it’s important to clean your water bottle, but chances are you’re probably not cleaning it enough. Like any piece of glassware, you’re actually supposed to clean a reusable water bottle once a day — especially if it’s made of plastic, which is porous and holds germs easily. Stainless steel water bottles are best because the material is a natural antiseptic so won’t gunk up as easily. If you’ve got one that’s not supposed to go in the dishwasher, there are some very handy brushes that are made just for hand-washing your bottle, and even some that come with adorable little brushes made just to clean the straw! If all of this is too much, splurge for a self-cleaning water bottle.
Did you know that the average American checks their phone anywhere between 100 and 250 times a day? That’s a lot of screen time, but it’s also a lot of screen touching. Covid has reminded us all how germy our hands can get, and every time you touch your hands to your phone you’re transferring those germs onto it…and then onto your face when you make a call. Ick. If you’re an obsessive cleaner, there is a very cool, high-tech UV phone cleaner called PhoneSoap that will disinfect your phone wherever you are. If you’re more of a traditionalist, just spray a cloth with some disinfectant cleaner (that’s at least 70% alcohol) and gently wipe down the entire device.
You might not be able to see it from the outside, but if you’ve never cleaned your coffee maker before, it’s probably pretty gross— especially considering the fact that you’re actually supposed to clean it once a month. Surprisingly, this is one appliance that is best cleaned with something you probably already have right in your kitchen: distilled white vinegar. Just pop in a filter and fill the reservoir with a mixture that is half white vinegar, half water. Let the vinegar mixture brew halfway, and then let the rest of it sit in the machine for about 30 minutes (make sure to turn the coffee maker off while it sits). Then, finish brewing the rest of the vinegar mixture. Finally, just replace the filter, run clean water through the machine a couple of times, et voila! Good as new.
Inside of Drawers
This is a place that most of us just totally forget about…out of sight, out of mind, as they say. But if you take everything out of your drawers every few months, you’ll notice that crumbs, dust, hair, and other nasty stuff has a tendency to gather beneath whatever is in there. We suggest first taking a dustbuster to the drawer, then wiping it down with a disinfectant wipe.
Throw Pillows and Blankets
Hopefully, by now, you know how gross bed pillows can get and you wash your pillowcases and replace your pillows regularly. But how often do you wash decorative throw pillows and blankets? Probably not very often, especially if they’re delicate or require dry cleaning. But think about how often these items fall on the floor, how often you touch them or lay down on them, how often you drop food on them…you might want to consider investing in machine-washable pillow covers so you can wash them as often as needed. Also, down and fiber-filled pillows can go in the washing machine on a gentle cycle (although foam pillows can’t — but you can clean these with a dustbuster or hand attachment on a vacuum cleaner).
Shower Curtain and Liner
Ah the shower…it’s hot, it’s moist, it’s a paradise for mold. If your shower curtain liner is visibly moldy, take that as a sign that you should have changed it out quite a while ago. You should replace a plastic shower curtain liner every six months, but in between that you should give it a spray and wipe it down with an all-purpose cleaner about once a month. And don’t forget your shower curtain…these can get icky too. Replace plastic ones regularly. Fabric shower curtains you can just pop right into the washing machine, but make sure to read the washing instructions on the label to be sure.
Speaking of the shower, have you been neglecting your shower head? We know what you’re thinking, “It’s a showerhead! It should be self-cleaning…right?” Unfortunately, very wrong. You should actually clean your showerhead once a month at a minimum. Considering how moist it is in the bathroom, germs and bacteria will accumulate on your shower head, and there might be some pretty scary stuff lurking there. This is actually another appliance that’s best cleaned with good old white vinegar. Just fill a plastic bag about halfway with vinegar, and then fasten it around your shower head with rubber bands. Depending on the finish of your shower head and how dirty it is, you can let it sit for 30 minutes to several hours. Then just take the bag off, pour the vinegar down the drain, and let the water run for a few minutes. We also suggest getting in there with a little brush and giving the whole head a good scrub while you’re at it.
You’ve probably at least thought to clean doorknobs before, but have you considered how gross your keys probably are? Think about it this way: if you live in an apartment building, your front door key is basically picking up all of the crud that everyone else’s front door key has on it, because they’re all going in the same lock. So anytime your neighbor wipes their nose and then grabs their key to unlock the front door…you see where we’re going with this. Give them a quick wipe down with an antibacterial wipe once a day, and you should be good to go.
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