7 Cleaning Supplies You're Definitely Not Replacing Enough
From dish towels to toilet brushes, these are the cleaning supplies you need to refresh.
Whether it's doing the dishes or sweeping the floor, your daily life is filled with countless tasks you need to stay on top of in order to keep your home clean and sanitary. Add to that all the extra wiping down and disinfecting necessary to protect against the coronavirus and you're probably doing more cleaning than ever before. With that being the case, it's time to take a good hard look at the supplies you're using to do all that endless cleaning. Be honest, when's the last time you washed your dish towels? And how long have you been using that kitchen sponge? Hanging on to items like these for too long can counteract the point of why you're cleaning in the first place: to kill germs and bacteria. To make sure that doesn't happen, learn about the seven cleaning supplies you aren't replacing enough. And for more tips on keeping your home tidy, check out 30 Amazing Cleaning Tips You'll Wish You Knew Sooner.
A toilet brush is an essential item for every bathroom-cleaning supply kit. However, while you may be diligent about cleaning the toilets in your house, you may be less so when comes to how often you replace the brush. These items can play host to a whole slew of bacteria and germs, which only build up over time the longer you keep the same one on hand. According to most experts, a good rule of thumb is to replace standard plastic brushes every six months. However, you can extend the life a little longer if you take the time to clean it properly.
"After you've scrubbed, flush the toilet one last time and rinse the brush under the clean incoming water," green cleaning expert Natalie Wise told The Hartford. "One handy trick is to let the wet brush dry by closing the toilet seat on top of the handle and letting it drip into the bowl until it's dry." And for more hacks on cleaning the room you use to clean yourself, check out 20 Amazing Tricks for Cleaning Your Bathroom.
If you wear rubber or latex gloves when you wash the dishes or scrub the tile floor, the good news is that you don't have to constantly buy new ones, but you do have to clean them far more regularly than you probably have been—and that doesn't mean just rinsing them off.
"Cleaning gloves should be ideally washed after each use, but again, only need to be replaced once they show signs of degradation," Sean Parry, a cleaning expert at U.K.-based house cleaning company Neat Service previously told Best Life.
Are you ditching your old sponge for a brand new one on a weekly basis? If not, you probably should be.
"When it comes to your sponges and scourers, these should be added to your grocery list and be changed every single week," Henry Paterson, operations executive at London-based house cleaning company, Housekeep, previously told Best Life. "This not only keeps your kitchen sanitary, but ensures that the sponges stay effective for removing grease and dirt from your crockery." And for a major cleaning oversight, check out The No. 1 Thing You're Definitely Not Cleaning Every Day But Should Be.
You'll have to stick to similar schedule when it comes to the brushes you use to scrub dishes each night—only instead of replacing them completely like you have to do with sponges, you need to wash them every week.
"Wash it every week or so, and you'll only need to replace once the brush starts to degrade," Parry told Best Life. Usually how quickly they degrade is based on how often and vigorously they're used." When in doubt, replace them every two to three months.
The towels you use for drying those dishes after they've been scrubbed, however, need more frequent attention.
Even if you are using them only to dry clean dishes and wipe down surfaces, "Ideally you should wash your dishcloths once a day," Liz O'Hanlon, director of Metro Cleaning in the UK, told Best Health. And if you use the towels to clean up large spills, especially if they contain raw or undercooked meat or fish, O'Hanlon says to replace them immediately after doing so.
Let's put it this way, if something looks dirty then it probably is. So the next time you break out you mop and bucket to polish up those floors, if the head of your mop looks like it has seen better days, it's time to swap it out for a new one. Especially if you haven't done so in more than three months, according to the experts at HGTV, who also recommend washing the mop after each use in between replacements. And to clear up misinformation you've been told, check out 13 Cleaning Myths You Need to Stop Believing.
Your feather duster may not need frequent replacing—as long as it is in good condition, of course—but it does need some regular maintenance to keep it effective and sanitary. Try to remember to shake it out at least once a week, and every month or so, give it a wash using warm water and a squirt of dish liquid.
And if feather dusters aren't for you, a microfiber dusting cloth could be the solution you're looking for. "We recommend microfiber cloths, which can be washed and reused hundreds of times," Paterson told Best Life. "You can chuck your microfibers into the laundry with a little detergent once a week and then air dry." And, according to HGTV, these cloths only need to be replaced yearly.