Home Advisor: Tips for tackling the grossest parts of your home
Many of us spend our weekends chasing dirt and grime in our homes — vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing and washing. And no matter what we do, we’re suspicious that we didn’t and will never get it all. The truth is: We’re right. Here’s a look at some of the grossest parts of your home and what you can do to address them.
Are you a fan of the five-second rule? Turns out it’s pretty gross. Floors are some of the most bacteria-ridden parts of the home, and carpets are the absolute worst. The only thing that can get those deeply rooted germs up is an annual steam cleaning or a complete replacement.
► Clean your carpets once a year.
► Replace carpet that has surpassed a quality lifespan (10 to 15 years).
► Go shoeless in the home when possible.
► Clean other flooring with material-appropriate disinfectant solutions.
Our countertops see a lot of action and, as much as we try to keep up, they are teeming with bacteria morning, noon and night. We must use disinfectants to truly kill the germs.
► Disinfect countertops regularly.
► Replace old, porous surfaces with a bacteria-resistant material like quartz or stainless steel.
SHOWERS AND TUBS
Moisture is a playground for bacteria, and you’ve probably spent a good amount of time battling mold growth in your shower or bathtub. As much you’re cleaning that space now, you may want to double it.
► Clean regularly with a disinfecting solution.
► Consider mold remediation services if things have gone too far.
► Replace your old tub or shower for a fresh start.
The kitchen sink is an incredibly moist and bacteria-prone area. Tiny bits of food mixed with droplets of water are an open invitation to E. coli and salmonella.
► Clean the sink with soap and water and dry it at the end of every day.
► Pour hot water and bleach down the drain twice a month.
► Use a chlorinated product and long-handled scrubbing tool to deep-clean the disposal.
It’s easy to assume that washing machines self-clean with every cycle. However, with every wash, your clothes are actually depositing germs in the washer. In fact, mold levels become elevated in damp and wet conditions. And, according to the experts, they multiply when they hit a damp surface and disperse even more mold spores into the air.
► At least once a month, run an empty wash at the hottest temperature with a cup of either bleach or vinegar.
The fridge can get pretty thick with bacteria — especially on the bottom shelves. Think of the constant rotation of food, where it came from and how often you wash your hands before you reach for the milk. Also consider the age of this and other appliances and whether or not you’re due to upgrade.
► Disinfect your fridge twice a month.
► Don’t keep food past its expiration date.
► Never fill the fridge to capacity — it prevents air circulation.
► Store food appropriately, with raw meat on the bottom, eggs in the middle and sodas on the top.
GROSS THINGS TO DISINFECT/REPLACE REGULARLY
► Toothbrush holders
► Handles and knobs
► Cutting boards
► Above cabinets
► Light switches
► Around stove
► Stove knobs
► Pet bowls
Lauren White is a reporter for HomeAdvisor, an online marketplace connecting homeowners with trusted service professionals to complete home projects. Visit HomeAdvisor.com