Home & Family

Nine “Neglected” Areas of the Home to Clean

clean

There’s an old proverb that says cleanliness is next to godliness. It means that those who are spiritually pure are close to God. However, the saying is often applied to personal hygiene and the practice of cleaning one’s home. Author Erma Bombeck had a great response to the household cleaning claim. She quipped, “Cleanliness is not next to godliness. It isn’t even in the same neighborhood. No one has ever gotten a religious experience out of removing burned-on cheese from the grill of the toaster oven.” Despite the lack of a religious epiphany, regular cleanings have many benefits, such as reducing irritating dust and allergens, preventing bug and rodent infestations, and reducing germs and bacteria that can make people ill. So, whether we like doing it or not, cleaning promotes overall wellness.

Did you know that there are overlooked areas of the home that we tend to forget about when it comes to cleaning? Here are nine examples:

  1. Light switches are frequently touched by different people and are a common landing place for germs and finger oils. Most experts will suggest cleaning frequently used light switches two times a week. Since they are electrical, never get the switches wet. Simply spray a soft cloth (just until damp – never wet) with an antibacterial liquid cleaner to wipe the switches. Then follow with a clean, dry cloth.

2. Doorknobs, too, are frequently touched and thus harbor germs. There are many natural home remedies to clean doorknobs, such as a 50-50 mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  A recommended method to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 involves spraying an antibacterial liquid cleaner on a cleaning cloth to wipe away germs. Then follow with a clean, dry cloth. For specialty doorknobs that may tarnish, such as brass, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.

3. Hand railings offer stability but are another area of the home that hands touch often. Thus, they can become germy, sticky, and grimy. For wood railings, clean with a solution of two cups water and one cup distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray a clean rag with the solution until damp and wipe on the wood until dirt and grime are removed. Immediately and completely dry the wood with a clean cloth. Repeat the process as needed. For metal railings, such as wrought iron, a solution of water with a splash of mild dish soap works well to clean off surfaces. Follow with clear water and then dry thoroughly.

4. Kitchen sinks should be regularly cleaned as food particles can leave illness-causing bacteria behind. There are numerous ways to clean a sink, such as rinsing the sink with hot water, coating a clean wet sponge with antibacterial soap, wiping the soap all over the sink, and re-rinsing thoroughly with hot water before drying with a clean cloth. A few other popular methods include applying a solution of bleach and water regularly and letting the solution run down the drain. A stainless-steel sink can also be rinsed, sprinkled with baking soda, and wiped in the direction of the grain. Next, it can be sprayed with undiluted white vinegar, rinsed, and then buffed with olive oil. For specialty sinks, such as copper, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

5. Faucet handles and spray heads are well-used home features that are often touched by dirty hands. Thus, kitchen faucets require frequent cleaning with antibacterial soap and hot water. Dry with a soft cloth. Or use a microfiber cloth and some vinegar to help remove calcium build up. To cleanse a faucet spray-head, fill a Ziplock with equal parts water and white vinegar. Submerge the faucet head into the bag and secure it by zipping the bag as far closed as possible. For extra hold, also secure a bag with a rubber band. Leave in place for 10 minutes or longer as needed. Alternatively, use a clean scrub brush with plastic bristles to unclog plugged-up heads.

6. The bottom oven drawer is often used to store oven trays. Its low location tends to make it a catch-all for dust and crumbs. While the oven is cool, open the drawer and remove contents. Make a small bucket of warm soapy water (warm water with few drops of liquid dish detergent). Dip a clean rag into the bucket and squeeze out excess water. Wipe away the crumbs and dust and repeat if necessary. Dry thoroughly.

7. Door seals of refrigerator/dishwasher tend to get slimy or gritty over time. A quick and easy way to clean them is by making a 50-50 mix of vinegar and water. Dip a Q-Tip into the solution and run the damp Q-Tip along with the seal, getting into the crevices. Repeat as needed. Use a rag dipped into the mixture to remove exterior grime. Then, dry the seals off with some dry Q-Tips and paper towels.

8. Toilet paper roll holders can be germy as uncleansed hands might touch them. It’s also near the toilet, and flushing can release some germs into the air that can come in contact with nearby surfaces. The best way to clean them is to remove the toilet paper from the holder. Wash removable rod in a bucket filled with hot water and antibacterial soap, then dry. Mist the parts attached to the wall with an antibacterial disinfectant spray and thoroughly dry.

9. Inside washing machine is another area that requires cleaning yet is often overlooked. Cleaning your washer can keep your appliance performing well and reduces musty odors and the chance of getting spots or marks on your clothing, bedding, or towels. Simply pour a quart of white vinegar into the wash drum with a cup of baking soda and scrub the interior drum with a stiff nylon brush. Then set the machine to its hottest and most heavy-duty setting and run it empty. Or use a commercial product and follow directions on the box.

When doing housework, keep your eyes open for items that might be overlooked in your regular routine. This includes other frequently touched surfaces like doorbells, television remote controls, and security system buttons, or places where dirt can hide, such as the top of the fridge and the dust-catching space between the top of the kitchen cabinets and the ceiling. By paying careful attention, you’re bound to discover some new spaces that can benefit from a good cleaning and help make your home sparkle and shine.

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