10 things you aren’t cleaning, but should be

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The average working American spends 58 minutes a day on housework, but somewhere between scrubbing and scouring, your cleaning regime may be falling short. Disinfecting your home can help reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria, so before you put on those rubber gloves, consider these 10 household areas that are often overlooked.


Americans check their cellphones about 47 times a day. Yet, they rarely clean them. To disinfect your phone without destroying its internal functions, use a gentle disinfectant wipe on the surface — avoiding ports, and drying completely. Then focus on the case, thoroughly cleaning the back and sides.

Shared computers

Your home computer, whether it’s a desktop or laptop, may be the germiest thing you own. Start by powering down and flipping the keyboard over, gently shaking out debris. Then focus on surfaces, disinfecting your keyboard and mouse with a gentle disinfectant wipe. Pat dry, and avoid getting moisture into openings.


Have you ever counted the handles and knobs in your house? Chances are there are lots of them … and they’re filthy. Take inventory of the doors, cabinets, closets and dressers in your home. Then, using a household cleaner, wipe down any surface that hands touch.

Kitchen sponge

No matter how soapy it gets, your kitchen sponge is not germ-resistant. Some people microwave them to bust bacteria, but your best bet is using bleach. Using one part bleach and nine parts water, soak the sponge for about 30 seconds. Store the extra, unused solution for future use.

Light switches

Under every visible fingerprint are many more you cannot see. Considering that our hands have approximately 1,500 bacteria on them, it’s time to give light switches some love. To clean, use standard kitchen cleaner, but never spray directly onto the switch. Lightly spray a cloth, and buff until clean.

Toothbrush holder

Your toothbrush has a 3-to-4-month shelf life — but your holder is in it for the long haul. Make sure it’s free from foam and bacteria by cleaning it once a week. Start by washing it out with hot water, then pour mouthwash in it to sanitize. Rinse it out, wipe it down and put it back to work.

Remote controls

TV remotes are dominated by grimy fingers and wedged under couch cushions, so they need to be cleaned. You can clean remotes with a small amount of soap and water — taking care not to let water into the remote itself. To clear extra gunk from around the buttons, use a toothpick.

Reusable grocery bags

Be sure to bag raw meat, fish and poultry in individual plastic bags to avoid illness before placing them in reusable bags. While canvas or cloth bags can be thrown in the washer, clean plastic-lined bags with a cloth and soapy water.

Yoga mats

Bacteria grows in warm, moist environments, so it loves your yoga mat’s porous material. Avoid skin infections by mixing 1 cup of white vinegar, 2 cups of water and 10 drops of tea tree oil, and using it on a cotton towel to wipe down the mat. Then hang it to dry for at least 24 hours.


Anatomically speaking, ear wax is vital to our ear health, but when it comes to our earbuds, we can do without it. Easily clean your earbuds by mixing a few drops of mild dish detergent with warm water. Remove any silicone covers, and wipe the buds using a very small amount of liquid. Make sure they dry completely before using them again.

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