These Are the Dirtiest Areas in Your Home You Need to Disinfect
Yes, you're wiping down your kitchen counters and door knobs. But you're probably missing these nasty spots.
These days, you're probably trying harder than ever to keep your home tidy, clean, and germ-free. And while you might have become a pro at wiping down your kitchen counters and maybe even your light switches with a disinfecting wipe at the end of the night, there are still plenty of places you're overlooking. It might be overwhelming to think of all the spots you're missing as you try to keep your home safe and coronavirus-free. So we talked to a few cleaning experts to fill us in on the ones you probably aren't disinfecting—and how to do so ASAP. Get your cleaning rags and Lysol ready and read on to find out which filthy places in your home you need to get to sanitizing right away. And for more information on where germs are hiding in your house, check out The 13 Dirtiest Things in Your Home, According to Science.
Your kitchen sink
Even though this is the place where you clean your dishes, it doesn't mean that the area is clean itself—especially since it houses all those utensils and glasses that touch your mouth. On top of that, many sinks are made of stainless steel, a material where the coronavirus can live for up to three days, according to research from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Bailey Carson, head of cleaning at Handy, recommends you "sanitize the basin by filling it with a gallon and a half of warm water and one tablespoon of bleach. Wipe down the sides and faucet handles with the mixture, then drain and let air dry." To learn more about what you should be disinfecting daily, check out The No. 1 Thing You're Definitely Not Cleaning Every Day But Should Be.
Your dish rags
Yes, you might think you're cleaning your kitchen with that dish towel, but you might actually be spreading germs instead of getting rid of them. "Dish rags and dish cloths probably spread more dirt and germs than anything else," explains Jan M. Dougherty, author of The Lost Art of House Cleaning. If you're not replacing your rags daily, they could be harboring germs that then spread onto your countertops when you think you're disinfecting. And to learn about other dirty spots in your home, check out 7 Things in Your Home You Should Never Touch Without Gloves.
Your bathroom hardware
The bathroom is a high-traffic area that serves so many purposes: It's a cleaning zone, a getting-ready zone, and a pampering zone all in one. And that's why you need to be disinfecting it often.
"Think of what you just went into the bathroom to do and the very next thing you touch is that handle or button on the toilet," says Dougherty. "Use vinegar to disinfect everything! Keep vinegar under [your sink] as well as a pile of rags. If you keep your tools where the dirt is, there is a higher probability of cleaning more frequently."
This way, you can just reach for your vinegar mixture and a clean rag to truly disinfect the places you know are getting the most use. Don't forget the light switches, shower knobs, and soap dispenser!
Your electronic devices
Whatever you touch throughout the day will inevitably end up on your favorite electronic devices. While you likely wash your hands to prevent germs from staying on your skin, you might be forgetting to disinfect your electronics at the same time.
"Studies have found that, in some instances, the TV remote controls can carry more germs and bacteria than your toilet," says home cleaning professional Yohann Dieul. But it's not just your remotes you have to think about. You'll want to disinfect your phone, game controllers, tablet, alarm clock, and laptop weekly. Dieul recommends using a microfiber cloth (which won't scratch glass surfaces) and a disinfectant spray. And for some powerful disinfectants to use, check out 5 Disinfectants That Kill Coronavirus in 30 Seconds or Less.
If you keep your electronics in a home office, you'll want to keep this area sanitized, too. "Many of us bring our tech products like cell phones, tablets, and headphones [in and out of] the office, which means they're getting regular exposure to the outside world," explains Carson.
It's probably not the first room you consider disinfecting, but if you're spending a lot of time working from home these days, it's an area that's got more going on than you think. "Don't forget to wipe down your office chair and desk," Carson says.
Your garbage and recycling bins
You probably take out your trash and recycling regularly, but when was the last time you actually disinfected the bins themselves? This is the one area in your home where you dispose of your trash, including all those sullied Lysol wipes and tissues. So naturally, it's a hotbed for germs.
"I use this sandwich rule to help people remember," says Melissa Maker of Clean My Space and Maker's Clean. "If you were to pick up a sandwich with your bare hands immediately after touching [insert point of contact here], would you worry about picking up a bug?"
Use an all-purpose cleaner to first wipe down the build-up inside your bins, then go in with a disinfectant to keep it squeaky clean. And for more disinfectants you can buy right now, check out 9 Disinfectants You Can Actually Get Online Right Now.
A weekly tidy-up might work as a short-term cleaning solution for your bedroom, but there's a very important place you're probably not cleaning during your weekly chores: your bed. Dieul suggests that you "try to get [into] a routine of changing your sheets every Sunday."
And while clean sheets help, your mattress needs some sanitizing, too. For a deep cleaning and disinfecting, Dieul recommends vacuuming the mattress to remove surface dirt. Then, once a month, use a mixture of baking soda and a few drops of essential oil. "Spread it over the mattress to absorb moisture and odors and leave it for an hour or so," he says. "Then vacuum it all off before making your bed again." And for advice on how frequently you should clean each area of your home, check out Here's How Often You Should Clean Every Room in Your House.
Your main hallway
Your typical disinfecting to-do list likely includes the most trafficked rooms in your home: your bedroom, your kitchen, your bathroom, your living room, etc. But what about the areas in between them all? "Everyone comes in and out of [hallways] and you can bring so much dirt and bacteria from the outside," says Dieul. "Door mats should be cleaned often, vacuumed, and washed—although, in between washes, you can spray them with a disinfectant spray."
A foolproof recipe? Dieul suggests a solution made of one-part disinfectant, such as Lysol or Fabuloso, and one-part water. Shake and spray and your sanitized!