We often forget that we're not the only ones living in our homes. Unfortunately, our cohabitants are not there to lend an extra hand with chores. The bathroom isn't the germiest area in your home. It's time to pay more attention to the oft frequented corners, nooks, and surfaces that go ignored because they're either too hard to get to, or we forget about the bacteria buildup that's quietly going on behind the scenes. Our homes can become prime real estate for several species of bugs, bacteria, and fungi if we aren't meticulous enough about cleaning. Try to regularly monitor the dirtiest and negligible corners of your home and use natural home cleaning products. So, here's a list of the grossest areas in the house, with tips on sanitizing them.
They are hotbeds for dust mites, which can trigger allergies and eczema. They also house other allergens like mould spores and faeces from bed bugs. To clean your mattress thoroughly and remove any icky buildup of sweat and dead skin cells, mix one cup of baking soda with 10 drops of lavender oil (or any essential oil). Sprinkle this over your mattress and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Then you can wipe it out with a wet cloth.
You'd think that the bathroom is the grossest area of your home. But, it's the kitchen where you can find more bacteria than any other place in your house. Your kitchen sinks and sponges are homes to millions of bacteria such as staphylococcus spp., E. coli, salmonella, and pseudomonas aeruginosa, which can lead to various diseases. Your cutting board is also a breeding ground for bacteria, especially if it's made out of wood. According to a recent study by NSF International, an independent body that researches health and safety, nearly 80% of kitchen sinks, sponges and cutting boards carry disease-causing bacteria such as e-coli, salmonella and campylobacter, which are responsible for food poisoning. So, cleaning sponges regularly is a must. The best way is to immerse damp sponges in water heated at a high temperature (about 150°C) for 2 minutes in your microwave oven to kill most germs and bacteria trapped inside the porous surface. Another way is to wipe them down with vinegar or bleach once daily. If you want to avoid this daily hassle, you can also use natural home cleaners, like The Better home's plant-based cleaners.
If you want to find out how dirty the area around the toilet bowl is, get a blacklight flashlight. It's no surprise that this area is one of the filthiest in the home. Clean it with baking soda and vinegar if you want to kill bacteria and germs. All you need is one cup of baking soda and one cup of distilled white vinegar. Combine them and let them sit for an hour or so before rinsing with water. You can also use hydrogen peroxide (2 cups) or bleach (1/2 cup). Don't forget to wear a pair of gloves! Alternatively, combine one cup of table salt, one cup of baking soda, and one cup of oxygen bleach—these will help disinfect and loosen up the buildup. Allow the solution to rest for an hour and wipe with a damp cloth. Soak it in warm water first if any caked-on dirt needs to be removed.
Fridge and fridge door handle:
The fridge is a breeding ground for bacteria that come in contact with our food. To clean it:
- 1. Remove everything from the fridge and wash the shelves with hot water and dishwashing liquid.
- 2. Use a 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach solution diluted in a gallon of water or a 3. household cleaner to disinfect the surfaces.
- Rinse well and wipe dry.
- 4. Wipe down the door gasket with warm soapy water and let the air dry.
- 5. Clean all jars and containers before putting them back into the fridge.
Refrigerator handles are some of the most heavily touched surfaces in homes, so a simple wipe down with antibacterial wipes isn't enough to eliminate all the germs there. In addition to wiping down the handle with disinfectant wipes, you can also coat it with a layer of sanitizing spray. You can also use TheBetterHome's multipurpose cleaner, which is an entirely plant-based cleaning product.
Believe it or not, dishwasher detergents don't kill bacteria and germs on their own — they only remove food particles left on dishes after washing them. So to get rid of all the gunk that builds up in your dishwasher, run two empty cycles back-to-back while pouring two cups of white vinegar into the detergent dispenser during each process.
The microwave is where we cook our food and put it away without cleaning it up, even if there's some spillage on the machine's walls, floor, or roof. Close the door and fill a microwave-safe container with one cup of water and two tablespoons of vinegar. Turn on high power for five minutes until the solution boils. Remove the bowl after five minutes – but be careful, as it will be hot – and wipe down all surfaces using a sponge or paper towel dipped in the solution.
A toothbrush holder is one of the most overlooked places in your bathroom and can be one of the dirtiest. Toothbrushes sit here, often wet and with bits of toothpaste and food particles, making it a breeding ground for bacteria. The germs from your toothbrush can fall into the holder and grow on the moist toiletries and the holder itself. Clean your toothbrush holder once a week to prevent bacterial growth. Give it a good scrub with soap and water and let it dry completely before putting your toothbrushes back in.