HomeLifeThe dirtiest things in the home and how to clean them

The dirtiest things in the home and how to clean them

Housework, filthy chores and finding time to tackle those nasty tasks while juggling a hectic lifestyle isn’t easy.

But germs fester and the reality is sometimes we don’t even realise where they’re running rancid.

But where to begin when the bleach hasn’t seen the light of day in weeks and your sanitiser is sitting idle?

“Break down the cleaning task per room, tackle each one methodically and for a set amount of time,” advises Laura Harnett, founder of Seep eco cleaning tools. “Then reward yourself, have a break and do another job another time.

“It doesn’t all need to be done in one go, but toilets and kitchens certainly need to be cleaned weekly to keep them hygienic – and stop germs spreading in the obvious places as well as the more unusual ones.”

To put you on the front foot, these are the dirtiest items that need cleaning more than you think.

Tap handles

Tap handle in kitchen

Regularly washing our hands became second nature during the pandemic, but tap handles are a key place where germs linger. They’re turned on with dirty fingers, turned off with clean ones, and germs are picked up again.

“You don’t need to use harsh chemicals to stop germs spreading,” says Harnett. “White vinegar is an amazing product that’s cheap, antibacterial and perfect for cleaning all surfaces, including taps.

“Simply wipe neat white vinegar with a soft cloth and it will eradicate all germs. Finish off by rubbing half a lemon over the taps as it brings up a fantastic shine on chrome.”

Toothbrush holder

Toothbrush holder with bathroom items

“Toothbrush holders, often hard to clean, are usually placed near toilets, making them highly susceptible to bacteria due to the spray of faecal debris when the toilet is flushed,” highlights Zara O’Hare, home expert from Land of Rugs.

“Store toothbrushes in a movable, easy-to-clean cup. Soak it in warm water with a bit of bleach for 30 minutes, then rinse and soak it in clean water for another 30 minutes to remove bleach residue.”

Alternatively, she says you can use a cup that’s dishwasher safe.

Coffee machine

Red coffee machine

“Given the dark and damp, it’s not surprising your coffee maker is a prime spot for bacteria, mould and mildew to grow,” warns Ms O’Hare.

“Clean by adding up to four cups of undiluted vinegar to the reservoir, letting it stand for 30 minutes, and running it through the unit.

“Follow with two to three cycles of fresh water until the vinegar odour is gone.” She says you can do this every 40-80 brew cycles, or at least monthly.


Woman drinking coffee in kitchen while using keyboard

It’s a common phenomenon, we drink and eat at our keyboards, whether we’re typing, video calling or searching online, which can result in saliva droplets landing on our keys.

Ms Harnett says: “Turn off your computer and unplug it. Vacuum the keyboard to remove any loose particles. Then dip a soft bamboo cloth in rubbing alcohol and wipe over the keys.

“You can use a cotton bud dipped in the rubbing vinegar to get in between the keys themselves and make sure it’s disinfected.”

Kitchen sponges

Kitchen sponges and dishwashing cloths

“Sponges are big germ culprits because their holes let bacteria thrive, forming tough blobs that are hard to remove,” notes Ms O’Hare.

“Soak your sponge in a diluted bleach solution and run it in the dishwasher (on a high-heat cycle). Alternatively, you can place it in a bowl of water with soap in the microwave.”

TV remote control

Man disinfecting TV remote control

“Even if you’re the most meticulous cleaner, you might still ignore some areas you think are clean,” suggests Ms O’Hare. “Your remote control is one of these.”

She says cleaning and disinfecting are easy: “Use disinfectant wipes on the surface of the remote control at least once a week.”

Do you have a cleaning schedule? Do you stick to it? Why not share your cleaning tips in the comments section below?

Also read: Hassle-free bathroom cleaning secrets

– With Sam Wylie-Harris


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