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Think your home is clean? Think again. Some obvious (and not-so-obvious) spots could be collecting epic amounts of gunk, grime and bacteria. Ew! Check out the 10 of the biggest dirt and germ magnets in your house and the best ways to get them squeaky clean and disinfected.
1. Dryer Lint Trap
Do you use dryer sheets? If so, simply pulling the lint out of the trap after every couple of loads—you already do that, right?—isn’t enough. Dryer sheets are covered with a silicone-based film that can build up on the lint trap filter and create an invisible barrier. Wash it every six months to improve the performance of your dryer and increase its lifespan. Get instructions at Broken Secrets.
2. Inside the Dishwasher
Why would something that gets washed out with hot water and soap need to be cleaned? Well, tiny bits of food, grease, and soap scum can cling together and get deposited in the corners of the dishwasher. After a time, they can make your dishwasher look and smell bad and decrease its efficiency. Check out One Good Thing by Jillee’s advice on how to sanitize it.
3. Door Knobs and Light Switches
Everyone touches door knobs and light switches almost every time they enter and exit a room, making them one of the dirtiest places in your home. Start wiping them down with a non-toxic disinfectant during your regular cleaning to stop the spread of germs, advises BrightNest. It'll also help remove marks from dirt and grime.
4. Refrigerator Coils
Spending just 15 minutes every six months cleaning your refrigerator coils can eliminate 70 percent of refrigerator malfunctions, extend the appliance’s lifespan, and keep it running at maximum efficiency. When dirt and dust clog the coils, they can’t release heat properly, causing the compressor to run longer and work harder than it should. Invest in a $7 coil brush and follow Tidy Mom’s instructions.
5. Kitchen Sink
Studies have shown there is more E. coli in a kitchen sink than in the toilet after you flush it. Appetizing, right? Bacteria love its wet atmosphere and feeding on food particles left on dirty dishes and put down the drain, according to Food & Wine. Clean the sink basin daily with a disinfectant made for the kitchen to kill all the bad pathogens.
6. Bed Pillows
Did you know an accumulation of dust mites and their waste can make a pillow double its weight in two years? (Studies have also shown this also causes mattress weights to double in 10 years—we may never sleep well again!) In addition to the the dead skin that rubs off while we sleep and the occasional drool stain, bed pillows no longer sound like a nice place to rest one’s head. The good news: Most are washable and should be laundered twice a year. Find out how at A Bowl Full of Lemons.
7. Computer Keyboard
Dust, crumbs, grease and stickiness from who knows what can all can add up to one grimy keyboard. And do your kids use your computer? Imagine where those grubby little hands have been! Some studies have shown keyboards have more bacteria than a toilet seat. PC World shares the easy steps for both regular and thorough keyboard cleaning jobs.
8. Cell Phone
Each square inch of your cell phone has about 25,000 germs, making it dirtier than your pet’s food dish, a shoe’s sole, and, of course, a toilet seat. (Someone should really start a PR campaign for toilets so they stop getting such a bad rap.) Check out GeekSugar’s tips for cleaning your smartphone without destroying it.
9. Trash Can
Traces of food and liquids can escape the trash bag and contaminate the trash can itself. The inside of the can’s lid is an especially likely culprit for bacteria, mold and mildew. Use disinfecting wipes on the lid every time you take out the trash, and follow the deep cleaning instructions at How to Clean Stuff for monthly maintenance.
10. Remote Control
You may have heard that the remote control in a typical hotel room is disgusting, but the one in your own home isn’t any better. It makes sense: People are constantly handling it—often while eating, coughing, and sneezing—making it one of the germiest household surfaces. One study found that half of the remote controls tested were positive for cold viruses. Check out Clean My Space for the most effective way to get a remote control clean.
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