Germ hotspots in your home and how to banish them

If hygiene wasn’t a priority pre-COVID, it is now with hand-washing and cleaning of surfaces and phones and even car steering wheels a must.

But as the cleaning experts at Cleanipedia know, the germiest places around the home may not be where we think they are. And some are hiding in plain sight. These are the germ hotspots that are most commonly overlooked, says Cleanipedia.

Knobs, switches and handles
Germs love hard, non-porous surfaces such as door handles and light switches. Just consider how many times a day you open a door or turn on a light with each touch having the potential to spread germs. Similarly, the buttons and knobs on cookers and microwaves can harbour germs.

To clean handles and switches, either dampen a cloth with soap and water or wipe down with a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. For brass or copper handles, take a lemon, cut it in half, spread with salt and rub the lemon on the handle. This will not only sanitise the handle, but remove tarnish as well, says Cleanpedia.

Read more: Fragrances in cleaning products making us sick

And don’t forget knobs and dials on stoves and cooktops. Give them a good wipe down with the distilled vinegar solution, making sure to get into the crevices.

Kitchen sinks, sponges and dishcloths
Despite the fact that it may look clean, the humble kitchen sponge can be one of the dirtiest things in the home. Fortunately, it’s easy to disinfect a sponge, says Cleanipedia. Put it in the microwave for a minute or run it through the dishwasher and that should take care of most germs. You can also soak it in an oxygen bleach solution for 30 minutes for similar results, or failing that, give it a good rinse with soap and water between uses.

Make sure to switch out sponges regularly (not just when they look gross) and while you’re at it, keep an eye on your dishcloths, says Cleanpedia. If in continual use, they should be changed every couple of days. Wash them on a hot water cycle to help kill germs.”

Of course, avoid using sponges to pick up meat.

The kitchen sink is another place that can harbour germs, being a moist area that sees a lot of food particles. A natural cleaner such as white vinegar is great for disinfecting stainless steel and porcelain sinks. Simply spray the sink with vinegar and wipe clean.

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Try not to leave dirty dishes in the sink for long, spray with vinegar after each use and wipe dry with a cloth or paper towel.

If you have a garbage disposal unit, pour in baking soda with an equal amount of white vinegar. After a few minutes, rinse with running warm water.

All kinds of electronics
Our hands are all over our gadgets and computers, making them some of the germiest places around. Keyboards, touchscreens, phones, game controllers and remote controls all have the power to make us sick – and require regular cleaning. To tackle keyboards, use a can of compressed air to remove dust and crumbs. Then dab a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and carefully wipe the keys.

For video game controls and remotes, remove batteries and then shake upside down to remove any debris. You can also give them a blast with some compressed air. Scrub into the gaps and crevices with a (clean) toothbrush. To sanitise, mix up a solution of rubbing alcohol and water and apply with a damp cloth.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when it comes to cleaning screens, as chemicals may damage them and void warranties.

Mould in places you can’t see
Exposure to mould can cause headaches and nausea and even lead to serious health conditions. Mould is fond of moist conditions, especially where there is a lack of ventilation. Be alert to possible breeding grounds and check them regularly. If you do find an outbreak of mould, scrub it off, ideally using a specialty mould cleaner.

The best way to avoid problems with mould is to make sure rooms are well ventilated, especially the bathroom. Use an extractor fan anytime you take a bath or shower. Look for leaks in pipes and taps and fix them. Make sure to regularly wipe down surfaces that become damp. Bathroom tiles are a classic case.

For more great cleaning tips, go to cleanipedia.com

Are you diligent about wiping down door handles, power switches and knobs? Do you clean your phone and case regularly?

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