We spend a large portion of our lives indoors and therefore your health and wellness depend on a few extra cleaning measures you may not be thinking about. Of course, we clean bathrooms and kitchens, but we don’t always put enough of a priority on some things that we should. We can’t see bacteria, pollen, dander, and dust mites, but they are there, waiting to be inhaled and affect your immune system or breathing. So we’ve made an easy list of the items we should be attending to on a regular basis on our own or with the help of a house cleaning service like Tidy Maids of Durham and Chapel Hill.
Large Furniture Pieces
Dust bunnies unite! Aside from cleaning your iron or wooden headboards and shelves of dust, another thing to consider, of course, is your upholstery. It can collect dust and bacteria that we don’t realize lays at the surface. Have your upholstered headboards and chairs or other furniture dusted every other week and every other week then schedule a professional upholstery cleaning periodically.
And behind your large furniture lurks more joy. Large pieces of furniture will collect hairballs, dust, and dust mites at different rates in different homes, depending on your heating system’s filter, if you have your windows open, if you have pets and how many, as well as if you have floors that are solid instead of carpeted. Behind your television armoire could be a huge collection as well due to its magnetism for all things dust. Especially if you have asthma or allergies, you want to eliminate dust and mites as often as possible.
Knobs, Handles, Switches, Remotes & More
We don’t always think about the little things around us that carry the most germs, but we need to. You’ll want to regularly wipe down your personal items like your cell phone, your wallet, your tablet, your mouse, your headphones, and your keyboard. Your remote controls carry a lot of harmful bacteria too! Now search the house for small things like all of the various handles, knobs, and switches you touch throughout the day without a second thought.
Bags and Cans
Reusable shopping bags should be washed in a machine with a cup of white vinegar or wiped down with a cleanser like antibacterial wipes regularly. You’ll need to be mindful to regularly wipe clean your gym bag, your purse (especially the bottom!), your wallet, and any other bag that’s carried in and out of the home as well.
Recycle bins and trash cans should be washed out regularly to eliminate bacteria growth and smells. Hose out the largest cans outdoors, put small ones in the dishwasher, and other sizes can be done in the sink or bathtub. Use plastic or metal bins only if possible so they’re not absorbing odors and germs.
You may opt to have cans that are made of wicker or some other porous material, so do take special precautions and considerations for those. Decorative fabric liners, both on the inside and outside, should be washed regularly in the machine with a cup of white vinegar. Line the baskets with a decent quality plastic trash bag if possible as well. And once a month or so, spray down the interior and exterior of your baskets with a diluted white vinegar (dilute with water) and allow them to thoroughly dry before putting them back in their place with a trash liner. You might consider “baking” these items in the sun since the sun helps kill bacteria and dry them thoroughly.
Mats, Runners, Carpets & More
You should have your carpets steam cleaned regularly, even when you don’t see stains. It’s the stuff you can’t see that sits there, waiting to be kicked up and breathed in. Remember that carpeting can hold many many times its weight in dirt, dust, and bacteria. If your doormats aren’t easily washable in a machine, you can soap them and spray them out back or at a car wash. Otherwise, consider replacing them with something more easily washed.
Bath mats should be easily washable or replace with some that are. Spraying a diluted bleach or the antibacterial diluted white vinegar on your tub mat, shower head, and shower curtain once a week will cut down on mold, mildew, and bacterial growth too. If you have both plastic and fabric shower curtains, you can usually toss them right in the washer with one cup of white vinegar and hang to dry. Your shower head can be soaked overnight as needed in white vinegar using a plastic baggie secured with ties or rubber bands.
Dust & Dirt In The Nooks & Crannies
Baseboards, tops of doors, air vents, light fixtures, ceiling fans, and other nooks and crannies will get dust build up quite quickly if ignored. Vinegar and water in a spray bottle works great for areas that get dirty. Microfiber cloths and feather dusters might work well on other areas. Experiment and see what’s easiest and what you like to use so you’ll be motivated to do it often. Your lungs will thank you!
Used Linens, Clothing, & Draperies
Bacteria thrives in moist environments and we typically underestimate the rate of bacterial growth on our linens, towels, and clothing that we set aside to wear again. We spend a huge amount of our time in bed, so even if you only wash your sheets once per month, you should air them out in the morning before making your bed, and consider changing your pillowcases weekly. Our pillow cases need to be replaced fairly often if showering in the morning and not at night because we carry a lot of bacteria in our hair and on our faces and it’s going to grow. Hand towels, kitchen towels and rags, bath towels, bath mats and more should be changed out every few days for fresh linens. And keep in mind that even if left for only a couple of hours in the machine after washing, bacteria will begin to grow!
The same thing goes for draperies and curtains when it comes to all the nasties that stick to linens and fabrics. You could research great looking, energy efficient window coverings in materials that can be wiped down or replace heavy, hard-to-remove and rehang draperies with something easier.