Even if you’re diligent about keeping up with weekly cleaning routines, chances are there are things you are not cleaning…but should.
Family or guests might not notice these places, so it’s understandable if they don’t get your regular attention. But they are dirty.
If left untreated, these things you are not cleaning can lead to a surprising amount of germs, mold, or smells that people will notice.
5 Things You Are Not Cleaning but Should
1. The Garbage Disposal Gasket
Sure, you clean the garbage disposal regularly to keep it working well and odor-free, but when was the last time you really cleaned the gasket?
How to Clean Garbage Disposal Gaskets
- Carefully pull up the rubber flanges on the garbage disposal gasket.
- Spray them thoroughly with a disinfecting cleaner. Wait 2 minutes for the solution to loosen grime.
- Using an old toothbrush, scrub the underside of the gaskets.
- Rinse and repeat until all the grime is gone.
- Repeat weekly.
2. Your Pet’s Bowls
Your pet’s food and water bowls can develop the same type of slime found on a dirty shower curtain, otherwise known as biofilm. This nasty stuff thrives where moisture and nutrients provide a breeding ground for bacteria, and then it acts like glue keeping the bacteria in place.
Are your pets indoor-only? It’s still a problem. Pet food often contains microorganisms that can make both you and your pet sick.
How to Clean Pet Bowls and Disinfect Them
- Clean pet bowls daily by scrubbing — not just rinsing — to break up and dislodge biofilm. Wash the bowls in hot, soapy water and rinse them thoroughly.
- It’s best not to do this in the kitchen sink. If you must, then disinfect the sink afterward. (Try this homemade disinfecting sink spray.)
- Disinfect bowls at least once a week by adding one teaspoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water. Let them sit in this solution for at least 10 minutes then scrub, wash, and rinse.
- Alternatively, you can pop them into your dishwasher. First, though, check to make sure the containers are dishwasher-safe.
3. Your Purse or Handbag
Did you know your purse might be dirtier than a toilet? First, there are those handles you reach for after touching money (and we all know how filthy that is).
On top of that, the bottom of your purse picks up bacteria from surfaces you set it on, the sides can get contaminated with e. Coli when you hang your bag on a restroom stall’s hook, and the inside often harbors mold spores.
How to Clean Your Purse
- At least once a week, wipe your purse’s exterior with a disinfecting cloth. (First, spot-test your bag in an inconspicuous area like the bottom or an inside flap.)
- Every few weeks, empty your purse and shake it out over a sink. Vacuum the interior using the dust brush attachment. Finish by wiping the interior with a disinfecting wipe. (Here’s how to remove ink stains on the fabric lining.)
4. Laundry Baskets and Hampers
Laundry baskets and hampers are coated with fecal matter from dirty underwear and bacteria from sweaty clothes. If you’ve been outdoors, pollen probably transferred to your hamper, too.
It may sound like no big deal — you’re going to wash those clothes, after all. But think of all the times you’ve reached into the hamper to wear something just one more time. Or all of the surfaces you’ve touched while doing laundry.
How to Clean Laundry Baskets and Hampers
- Plastic laundry baskets clean up well with disinfecting wipes or sprays. Scrub stains with hot, soapy water and rinse. Do this at the end of each laundry day, and you won’t have to worry.
- Fabric laundry hampers go into the washer for easy cleaning. Line dry or use a lower heat setting to prevent shrinkage. Do this weekly.
5. Floor Registers
Dust settles on floors. It settles in your heating system’s floor registers, too. So does pet hair. If you have small children, it’s also possible there are a few toys, crushed Cheerios, or other surprises in there. Every time your system runs, it’s forcing that debris into your air.
How to Clean Floor Registers
- Pull the register vents out and wash them with hot, soapy water. If they’re metal, you can put them through the dishwasher on the top rack but need to dry them thoroughly by hand.
- While the vents dry, use your vacuum’s hose to clean dust in the duct.
- Finally, using a damp microfiber cloth, wipe the inside of the duct and return the register vent to place.
- Do this monthly.