Cleaning the home isn’t just about sweeping floors and wiping down surfaces. These tasks are done specifically for the visible dust, dirt, and grime that naturally build up in many areas of the house.
But what about the harmful but invisible bacteria that infiltrate your living spaces? How do you kill these germs? Here, you'll learn the proper way to clean and disinfect items found in the home that attract bacteria, germs, and viruses the most.
Most of you change your pillowcases regularly, but are you washing your actual pillows, too? Aside from dirt, saliva, and oil, potentially harmful bacteria, mold, and fungi also build up on pillows.
WHAT TO DO: Most pillows can be washed with a mild detergent using the warmest setting of the washing machine. You can check the washing instructions on the labels to be sure. Let them completely dry under the sun before using them again.
It seems like common sense that doorknobs are some of the dirtiest things in the home. People touch and use them multiple times daily. Experts say the flu virus can “live” on surfaces like these for up to two days. So, make it a point to disinfect them regularly.
WHAT TO DO: Wash the doorknob first with detergent and water. Then, spray it with a disinfectant solution. Let the solution sit for 1 minute. Wipe with a clean, dry cloth after.
3. TV REMOTE CONTROL
Most of the people in your house also use or touch the TV remote control many times every day, making it one of the potentially dirtiest items in your home. However, it’s something many do not even realize they should clean.
WHAT TO DO: First, remove the batteries. Use an alcohol-based or disinfecting wipe to clean it thoroughly. Another alternative is a clean, cotton cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol. Then, with an alcohol-dipped cotton bud, clean the nooks and grooves in between the buttons.
4. CHOPPING BOARD
Whether made of wood or plastic, these boards are often contaminated with bacteria from raw meat and fish. Experts even recommend that people have separate chopping boards for raw animal products and for fresh veggies and fruits.
WHAT TO DO: Wash the board in hot, soapy water after each use. To sanitize it, use a disinfectant solution to coat all sides. Let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse with clean water and air-dry.
Your clothes are also a possible breeding ground of germs, especially when not handled or washed properly. Germs can transfer from the dirty clothes to your hands. They can also spread from one garment to another.
WHAT TO DO: Separate “high-risk” items. These are your workout clothes, baby clothes with vomit or poop, and items worn over infected skin or wounds. Vomit, poop, and other dried mucus should be scraped off first before throwing the clothes in the wash.
For washing and treating, use a laundry detergent and a fabric conditioner with antibacterial properties, such as these ones from Surf, to help disinfect the items. These products were made to help get rid of the bacteria in the clothes.
If you have a dryer that uses high temperatures, dry your clothes in high heat for at least 28 minutes. You can also hang them up to dry under the sun. The sun's ultraviolet rays have disinfection properties.
BONUS TIP: Always wash your hands properly after doing chores—yes, even after laundry time!
With the right products and a little know-how, you can help kill germs in your home, keeping your family healthy.