With Australian flu and cold season approaching, you want to ensure your house is a haven of cleanliness. Although good hygiene and getting the recommended vaccines are an important part of staying healthy, there are still many ways viruses can creep into your body and wreak havoc.
Tasks and chores fill your to-do list day-to-day, and you make every effort to keep your home clean and free of germs, but unfortunately, many people skip over the dirtiest items in the home without knowing it.
Don’t risk getting exposed to mould, yeast and bad bacteria. Here are ten unexpectedly germy things in your home and how to clean them.
You need to do more than clean the sheets and pillows on your bed. A ten-year-old mattress harbours 5 kilograms of old skin cells. Now, add in your partner and dog into the mix. Gross. Spot clean any tough spills immediately by blotting with a paste of baking soda, salt and warm water, but it’s easier to buy a mattress cover.
2. Stove knobs.
Do you clean your grimy stove knobs? If not you should go and give them a scrub, just in case, because 14 per cent contain coliform bacteria, and 27 per cent host mould and other bacteria. Develop a weekly habit of washing the knobs with detergent and warm water as you wipe down your stove top.
3. Makeup Brushes.
Makeup brushes contain a mix of chemicals from the products you use, dead skin cells and oils, and this makes a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Rinse your brushes with warm water and skin-sensitive, chemical-free soap at least once a month. Reshape the brush tips with your fingers and leave to air dry. Your skin will thank you for it!
You put down a chemical carpet cleaner and vacuum, so your carpet must be clean — right? Wrong.
Over time, various stains seep into the carpet and continue to build up. You end up hiring someone to deep clean your carpet.
Learn how to tackle unique stains as they occur for prevention. Always blot liquid stains, and don’t rub them in. For red wine, pour a little soda water or white wine onto the stain and blot with a clean towel. For soda and juice stains, mix equal amounts of warm water and vinegar, add a few drops of dish soap, spray the mix onto the stain and leave it for fifteen minutes — then, blot dry with a clean towel.
A quick rinse after use isn’t enough to clean your toothbrush. Extend the time you rinse your toothbrush to remove all debris. Don’t encase your toothbrush — it needs to air dry. No one wants to brush their teeth with mould.
Replace your toothbrush after colds and always replace your toothbrush every three months or when you notice the bristles look worse for wear.
6. Toothbrush holder.
When you clean your bathroom don’t forget the toothbrush holder — 64 per cent contain mould and yeast. Your toothbrush holder needs more disinfecting when it is kept near a toilet that is constantly being flushed. Soak the holder in equal parts vinegar and water, and add an antimicrobial essential oil, like lavender, to boost the cleaning alchemy.
7. Bath towels.
Use your bath towels only three to four times before washing them separately from your other clothes. Wash the bath towels more frequently if they end up on the floor. Wash hand towels every two days. Add vinegar to the wash to disinfect them. Plus it acts as a natural softener.
Rotate your towels frequently to make them last longer. Otherwise, they’ll lose absorbency, softness and be prone to damage.
Your hairbrush may look clean, but it contains traces of product and dead skin cells. That’s especially true when the brush fills up with clumps of hair.
Clean the brush by holding the handle and swirling it in warm water. Scrub the bristles with shampoo and a spare toothbrush. Rinse out the product, much like washing your hair.
9. The fridge vegetable drawer.
Your dirty vegetable drawer is a germ breeding ground that contaminates other vegetables with Listeria, Salmonella, mould and yeast if left unchecked. Every month wash the entire bin with detergent and warm water. Baking soda removes bad smells. Let the drawer air dry.
10. Can opener.
You pop it back in the drawer when you’re done, but the continual use of the can opener without washing risks cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria, mould and yeast. Focus on the area where the groove of the opener meets the can. It’s easier to use a dishwasher-safe opener and clean it that way.
From your mattress to you can opener, you must remain vigilant in the fight against the germ invasion. When cleaning your home, consider the items you use the most but don’t clean.
Make a habit of regularly cleaning off these spots with at least soapy warm water. A clean home makes for a healthy home.