Okay, ladies. I swear I’m not here to pile on, but if you’re already a neat freak and finding new things to clean is fun for you, you should definitely check out our list of the most often overlooked places that need cleaning in your house. Or maybe you wish you were a neat freak, and a few extra tips on how to keep your home tidier than Mr. Clean’s grandma’s house could really benefit your progress.
Either way, we’ve targeted some spots that are definitely icky in your home. So don’t be a “Josie Grossie” (love you, Drew Barrymore!) and get these areas handled.
Web MD reported on a University of Virginia study that “showed the remote control’s surface is among the germiest” in a modern home. Researchers found that half of the remote controls tested were positive for cold viruses. Even if you’re only snacking on veggies and hummus while you watch TV, instead of a messier snack like Cheetos, you’re still definitely getting food particles on your remote. Or do you ever walk in the door and click on the TV without washing your hands first? Sure. Do you have little kiddos with icky hands or a messy roommate hanging around your living room?
There are a million common scenarios in which your remote collects germs and nastiness, and when is the last time you de-gunked it? A spritz of disinfectant, like Lysol, can do wonders here, as can a quick scrub between and over the buttons with a bleach wipe.
I don’t want to scare you, but the dirtiest spot in your home isn’t your toilet seat. It’s likely the light switches in the kitchen, bathrooms, and common spaces.
Unless you have one of those old ’80s “clap on, clap off” hands free light devices, or a smart home system set up, then you are definitely spreading germs through touching your light switches. Healthline.com recommends wiping down all light switches with a disinfecting cloth once a week.
The wall behind the trash can
You don’t always make a perfect shot straight into the trash can, do you? Sometimes it takes a bounce off the backstop, if you know what I mean. When garbage bounces off the rim of the can and hits the floor, you sweep, mop, or wipe, right? Well, don’t forget to do the same to the wall behind the can, which can collect icky splatters and smears.
You probably clean your fridge pretty regularly, and maybe even the inside of your freezer. But when is the last time you cleaned inside your ice maker? You get off easy if you just use manual ice trays, which can simply be thrown in the dishwasher between uses. But if you have a fancy freezer with an automatic ice maker, you’re probably overdue for a refresher.
How can you tell if your system needs a good cleaning? If even its fresh ice looks cloudy, smells weird or stale, or starts to taste a bit funky, it’s likely time to get in there and sanitize. The Housekeeping Channel recommends doing so at least twice per year.
Leaked trash juice? Um, nope! Even if you always keep your trash cans covered with a bin liner or tall kitchen bag, germs and gunk will find a way. Nobody is suggesting you need to clean your trash cans every time you empty the bag, but periodically, it’s necessary.
If you live in a house with an outside hose and a driveway, just take them outside, covering them inside and out with a cleaning solution (like Simple Green or bleach and water) and spray away. If you live in an apartment and can’t really take the mess outside, take it into your shower or bathtub and apply the same spraying ritual (on a slightly smaller scale).
Newer front-loading washing machines are generally more energy-efficient than older or top-loading models, but they come with a nasty surprise: they get moldy more often and more easily. That’s why you might notice that your clothes have started smelling a bit mildewy even right after you’ve washed them. Instead of resorting to Febreze, or highly scented dryer sheets to mask the smell, take a page out of “green cleaning” expert, Leslie Reichert’s book, and give your washer a good cleansing every now and then. It’s as easy running a cycle on the hottest water setting with nothing inside, using vinegar in place of liquid detergent.
Think about how much sweat, oil and grime gets on your yoga mat during normal use, before you even think about hot yoga or Bikram classes. You roll that thing out onto strange floors, and if your yoga teacher is like mine, she won’t mind jumping on your mat with her bare feet to show you some killer move — and then it’s time to go facedown on the mat.
Sky Meltzer, CEO of Manduka, a major yoga mat retailer, says (via SafeBee) that you can wipe down your mat with a cloth and “equal parts water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle.”