The everyday items far dirtier than you realise
Even the most diligent of clean freaks is no match for sneaky bacteria accumulating on unsuspecting household items. And while the ick-factor is high, with a little effort your home will be cleaner than a Christmas plate in no time. Here are 11 everyday items you need to clean more than you think you do.
Dishcloths and sponges
You’d think the ever-necessary dishcloth would be sparkly clean given its near-constant immersion in cleaning fluids, but no – they attract and trap oils, fats, and bacteria, which leaves them susceptible to nasty germs and odours.
Reader’s Digest recommends using hot water and dish soap to clean dishcloths after every use, as well as washing them on the hottest cycle in the washing machine every few days. Image: Getty
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While you can get away with washing your sheets once a week, your pillowcases quickly fill with dead skin cells, and hair and skin product residue, which will be transferred back to your face quicker than you can say ‘annoying breakouts.’
Keep a stockpile of clean pillowcases in your linen cupboard, and change them every two nights. Your skin will thank you!Image: Getty
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Whether attached to your ear or stuck to your texting fingers, your mobile is basically a dirt-attracting device. In fact, according to news.com.au the average phone has 18 times more bacteria on it than a toilet seat – and yes, that includes faecal matter.
Use sunglass cleaner and a microfibre cloth to swipe your phone sanitary.
Image: rawpixel.com / Unsplash
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Hands up if you’re guilty of not treating your bras with as much respect as your knickers. No judgment of course, it’s easy to wear your fave brassiere three (or more) days in a row without a proper wash.
And while most of the bacteria found in a bra are harmless, in some cases they can cause rashes, odours, and even infections – so it’s important to chuck them in the wash once every couple of wears.
Image: Pablo Heimplatz / Unsplash
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We don’t want to gross you out, but your car steering wheel has nine times more bacteria than a public toilet seat.
Keep antibacterial wipes in your car and regularly wipe down the wheel, gear stick, stereo buttons and door handles to up the chances of less germs in your movable home. Image: Getty
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It makes sense the unassuming light switch is one of the most germ-infected household fixtures given how many people touch them regularly – especially in the bathroom.
To help eliminate unwanted bacteria, wipe light switches in high traffic areas of your home once a week.
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A study from the University of Arizona found household TV remotes harboured more germs than many other common items in hospital rooms, which makes sense when you think about how many grubby mitts fight for channel switching rights.
To make your telly binging less filthy, thoroughly clean your remote with antibacterial wipes, making sure to get in and around all the small buttons, at least once a month. Image: Getty
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Our poor laptops. They do so much for us; the least we can do is give them a thorough clean once in a blue moon.
Use nail polish remover and an old toothbrush to lightly clean your keyboard, and check out other ways to quickly spruce up the sometimes tricky-to-sanitise PC.
Image: Alejandro Escamilla / Unsplash
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While we know not to share toothbrushes, even them just hanging out in the bathroom leaves them susceptible to fecal matter contamination, and germs like E. coli and Staph.
It’s important to thoroughly rinse your toothbrush with tap water after use to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris; store your brush in an individual holder to prevent cross-contamination; and do not cover the heads as a moist environment is conducive to the growth of microorganisms.
Oh, and buy a new brush every three to four months.Image: Getty
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Not only do your jogging shoes stink (sorry), they’re likely harbouring dirt and germs from the outdoors and inside gyms alike.
The good news is you can chuck them in the washing machine to quickly rid them of their nasties.
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Even if you think you’re washing your hands enough, you’re probably not. And just because you’re cleaning them after doing something – going to the bathroom or handling food – it’s also important to give them a wash before most activities, including applying makeup, eating, or sleeping.
The quick fix here is to carry no-water antibacterial hand sanitiser, which (depending on the brand) can kill up to 99 percent of germs. The caveat here is that it’s impossible to kill all germs and that’s not a bad thing: we need a few to keep our immune systems strong.Image: Getty