The dirtiest places in your home, and how to clean them! These are the items with the most germs…but that we often forget about. They’re the spots you absolutely have to clean!
It’s easy to see the messiest areas in our home. The ones that just scream CLEAN ME!
But what about those places that look clean…
…but are actually filled with tons of invisible germs?
The dirtiest places in our home might be the ones you least expect.
Keeping them clean will cut down on your exposure to nasty bacteria and viruses.
Let’s take a look at these spots we completely forget to clean.
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👉 👉 Grab your daily cleaning checklist! Do these 6 things every day to keep your house tidy…all the time!
What’s the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?
Bacteria is invisible. That means that even when things look clean, they can still be contaminated by disease-causing organisms.
Cleaning removes food residue such as crumbs, dirt, and grease.
Disinfecting actually kills bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
How do I disinfect my home?
First, you need to clean up any spills or grease so the disinfectant can get through.
To sanitize, you can use store-bought disinfecting wipes or a sanitizing spray. Or make your own mixture of 3 tablespoons of bleach to 1 gallon of water.
Saturate the area so that it stays wet for 3-5 minutes. It takes that long for it to work properly.
After that time, you can let it air dry, or wipe with a clean, dry cloth.
Ideally, use disposable gloves when disinfecting an area.
What are the dirtiest places in your home?
You may assume that the bathroom is the room with the most bacteria.
But the kitchen is actually one of the dirtiest places!
You handle uncooked food, everyone hangs out in there, and we touch all.the.things.
The most contaminated items in the kitchen are the:
- Garbage disposal
- Sponges and dishrags
- Knobs (on the stove and cupboards)
- Fridge and microwave handles
- Coffee maker
- Inside of refrigerator
- Can opener
- Cutting boards
- Garbage can
How to Sanitize the Kitchen
Disinfect the sink 3 times per week using wipes or a sanitizing spray.
Leaving dirty dishes in the sink can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Rinse and load dishes into the dishwasher immediately whenever possible.
And always rinse food particles down the drain so they don’t sit in the sink.
Wipe it down daily, especially the handle.
Every couple months, take out the little screen at the bottom of the spout and soak it in vinegar.
Pro-tip: Clean your soap dispenser too! You touch it with dirty hands, and we often forget to sanitize it.
Sponges and dishrags
Microwave your sponge every day for 2 minutes to kill bacteria, or run it through the dishwasher. Replace it with a new one weekly.
Use a clean dishrag every day. Always wash them in hot water in the washing machine between uses.
Change the kitchen hand towels a few times a week as well.
At least once a week, use a garbage disposal cleaner like Glisten. (I love it!)
Or put a ½ cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar to disinfect the disposal.
Disinfect the stove and cabinet knobs several times a week.
You can use disinfecting wipes or spray. Or remove the stove knobs and let them soak in a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water.
Wipe down the fridge, microwave, and other appliance handles a few times a week.
Wash the coffee pot weekly, and rinse it daily.
Clean the water reservoir in hot soapy water monthly, and flush the machine with vinegar frequently.
Always immediately disinfect countertops after handling raw meat or eggs, using disinfecting wipes or spray.
Additionally, sanitize it twice a week. Be sure to wipe up any crumbs, spills, and grease daily.
And remember to let the counters stay wet for 3-5 minutes when sanitizing.
The blade of most can openers touches the food every time you open a can.
If you have one like that, it’s super important to clean the blade after each use.
To clean it, place the can opener upside down into a jar with enough vinegar to cover the gears.
Let it soak for at least a few minutes, then use a toothbrush to clear out all the little grooves.
You don’t need to do the vinegar trick every time. Just make sure to scrub it with the toothbrush and hot soapy water after each use.
👉 Want a can opener that doesn’t touch the food? I have and love this hygienic, touchless one!
It doesn’t touch the food at all.
Your kitchen garbage can actually has more germs than a toilet seat.
Use a disinfecting wipe on the outside once a week, and once a month wash the inside with a bleach and water solution.
It’s super important to sanitize the inside of your fridge regularly.
It gets filled with raw food!
Wipe down the shelves, drawers, and walls with disinfecting wipes or a vinegar and water solution every month.
Since we reach into the silverware drawer several times a day, it can be a gathering spot for germs.
Empty out the silverware, and wash the utensil tray with hot soapy water (or run it through the dishwasher) once a month.
As you probably expect, bathrooms are full of bacteria.
Here are the spots with the most bacteria in the bathroom:
- Shower curtain
- Shower drain
- Floor around the toilet
- Walls around the toilet
- Toilet handle
- Toothbrush holder
- Soap dispenser
Pro-tip: It’s best to disinfect the handles, knobs, lightswitch, sink, faucet, and countertop daily. Disinfecting wipes make quick work of that.
Then once a week, do a thorough sanitizing of the bathroom.
Here are some bathroom cleaning tips and tricks!
Tub and shower
Sanitize the tub and shower every week. A disinfecting bathroom cleaning spray or bleach and water solution works great.
If you have soap scum or grime, I love using Scrubbing Bubbles foam cleaner. It’ll cut through anything!
Once a month, wash your fabric shower curtain and liner in the washing machine. For a plastic curtain, spray it with a 1:1 vinegar water solution.
Replace a plastic shower liner every 1-2 months.
Around the toilet
When you flush the toilet, it can spray up to 6 feet…
To help keep the surrounding area clean, always close the toilet lid before flushing.
Be sure to disinfect the walls and floor around the toilet 1-2 times per month.
And don’t forget to disinfect the toilet handle regularly, too!
Towels and mats
Replace bath towels at least once a week, and always wash them in hot water.
Try to let them air dry completely before each use.
Change the hand towels several times a week as well.
Wash the bath mats in hot water once or twice a month.
Toothbrushes and toothbrush holder
Replace toothbrushes every 3 months.
Be sure to store them in a place where they can always air dry thoroughly.
(And ideally 6 feet away from the toilet.)
To clean your toothbrush, you can soak it in mouthwash. Or disinfect it easily in a UV toothbrush sanitizer!
A mouthwash or vinegar soak can also be used to clean the toothbrush holder.
Run the toothbrush holder through the dishwasher at least once a week.
Around the house
Light switches and doorknobs
Disinfect all door knobs and light switches at least once a week.
Wipe down the stair railing 1-2 times a month, and again if you’ve been sick.
When was the last time you cleaned your remote controls?
Most of us forget!
Once a week, use a disinfecting wipe on your remotes. You can also use a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol to get around the buttons.
Phones, tablets, and keyboards should be wiped down at least weekly.
Many disinfecting wipes are safe for electronics. Or you can use a 1:1 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water.
Just be sure not to get them too wet.
Bacteria and viruses can live on carpet for a month or more. And let’s not even talk about the dust mites.
Vacuum your carpet at least once a week, and more often if you have pets.
Use a carpet cleaner to sanitize or deodorize the carpet every 3 months, or get them professionally cleaned 1-2 times a year.
Unfortunately…mattresses are full of dead skin cells, dust mites, sweat, and spills.
Vacuum your mattress twice a year, and spot clean any stains as soon as you see them.
Be sure to change your bedsheets weekly. And all pillows and mattresses should have allergy-proof removable washable covers.
The dark, moist environment of the washing machine can be a major breeding ground for bacteria.
Move your wet laundry to the dryer as soon as the load finishes. (I always set a timer so I don’t forget!)
Then leave the washing machine door open afterward to let the inside dry thoroughly.
Your fur-baby carries more bacteria than you may realize.
Always wipe your dog’s paws before letting him or her inside.
Wash your pet’s food and water bowls daily, and soak them in bleach water (rinsing thoroughly afterward) once a week.
Hard pet toys can be washed in hot, soapy water every week.
And soft toys can get washed in the washing machine once a month.
Wash your dog’s bed frequently, and always bathe him or her regularly.
Random personal items
We touch many of our personal effects several times a day without ever bothering to clean them.
Here are some commonly used items that should be disinfected regularly:
- Keys and key fobs
- Purse handles and bottom
- Lunch box
- Gym bag, backpack, or briefcase
- Shoe bottoms
Ready to tackle some of the dirtiest places in your home?
This list is by no means meant to scare you or gross you out.
Our immune systems are actually equipped to handle a fair amount of bacteria.
But I think we’ve realized recently that we really can’t be too careful when it comes to protecting our health.
It can’t hurt to work some of these sanitizing methods into your daily and weekly cleaning routine!
P.S. Don’t forget to grab your daily cleaning checklist below!
For more cleaning tips and tricks, check out:
- 10 Minute Chores: Cleaning Tasks To Do When You’re Short on Time
- How to Keep Your Home Smelling Good All the Time
- Essential Oils for Cleaning: Everything You Need to Know!