There are certain areas of our home that we tend to neglect when it comes to our cleaning routines. However, it’s often these precise areas that need the extra attention, as the opportunity for spreading bacteria in these places is the highest.
If you would like to know which areas of your home are without a doubt the dirtiest then read on. I challenge you to get to the end of the article before you abandon to put on your rubber gloves and get scrubbing!
The oven is a massive breeding ground for bacteria. Many people put off cleaning the oven until its at its worst. There are several issues with this; the longer you leave dried-on food, the more difficult it’ll be for you to remove and it’ll leave a bad smell in your kitchen. Every time you use your oven while it’s dirty, you are cooking that dried on food and it will cling to the interior of the oven every time you use it.
You also risk leaving dangerous bacteria to spread which can lead to foodborne illnesses. So rather than giving your oven a good scrub only twice a year, make the effort to clean it out once a month. It will be much less of a taxing exercise and will leave your kitchen considerably more hygienic.
The extractor fan is another area of your kitchen that many people neglect when they are cleaning. As the fan draws in steam and condensation from the stove as you are cooking, it also brings with it grease and food particles which then sit inside the vents of the fan and breed. If your kitchens extractor is in the form of a cooker hood, you will notice that the top of the hood probably has a thick layer of grime on the top of it. Bugs, dust and other gross things stick to this layer making your kitchen very germy and smelly.
Try to remove the vent from the extractor fan every few months and run it through your dishwasher. Give the inside of the fan a wipe with a very slightly damp cloth and use some anti bacterial spray to give the top of the cooker hood a once over.
Not only is the kitchen sink itself an area that collects lots of food crumbs and other fragments, but the drain and plumbing connected to the sink is even more of a danger zone for germs. Make sure that you are giving the sink a good scrub with an anti-bacterial or bleach based product every few days and tip some disinfectant down the drain to keep it sterile. I like to put a kettle full of boiling water down the sink every day – this keeps sink and pipework clean which will avoid plumbing issues later down the line.
DISH CLOTHS AND SPONGES
Dishcloths and sponges are one of the germiest items we come into daily contact with in our home. After you have finished using these for whatever you’re cleaning (dishes, toilet, floors, etc) the dirt collected just sits in the fibres of the cloths and festers. Dishcloths should either be replaced or put into the machine on a 90-degree wash once a week. Anything that you use for cleaning the toilet should be thrown away or washed after every use. Never cross-contaminate cloths that have been used for floors or toilets in your kitchen. Allowing germs to spread in this way can lead to serious illness.
Crumbs and food particles collect in your cutlery tray very quickly. This is a high traffic area of your kitchen and if you have family members and children reaching for cutlery with contaminated hands, these germs are going to spread fast. Try to empty your cutlery tray every few weeks and put it into the dishwasher. If you don’t have a dishwasher in your home then give the tray and drawers a wipe down with a disinfecting product to ensure foodborne illnesses aren’t spread.
SKIRTING BOARDS & BEHIND FURNITURE
If you suffer from asthma but aren’t sure why it’s aggravated when you’re at home, it might be because there is a build-up of dust sitting behind your furniture and along the skirting boards in your home. Dust, spiders and other nasties gather in these areas, so make sure that you’re moving everything around and vacuuming those hard to reach areas regularly. You will often find more than dust if you have a move around – loose change, jewellery and toys are well known to end up down the sides of furniture within your home.
This one is going to make you feel extremely grossed out. Our toothbrush holders are usually kept in close proximity to the toilet, meaning that as we use and flush the toilet every day, tiny particles of dirty toilet water (containing you know what) travel through the air and land on both our toothbrush and the toothbrush holder. This is one of the reasons that dentists recommend that we change our toothbrush every three months. So also make sure to run your toothbrush holder through the dishwasher every couple of weeks to keep it sanitary.
DISHWASHER & WASHING MACHINE
Machinery which is used for cleaning might not be what first comes to mind when you are considering the dirtiest areas of your home. However, your dishwasher has a filter in it that collects food particles, which should be emptied and cleaned regularly. Similarly, your washing machines creates a build-up of ‘gunk’ in the seal over time. You can purchase products that are specially designed to clean your machines, however if you are looking to save money or don’t want to use harsh chemicals, wiping down the seals and filters of your machines with a vinegar and baking soda and lemon juice solution and then running an empty cycle on the hottest setting should do the trick.
As much as we love our furry family members, pets bring a lot of unwanted bacteria into our homes. As they come in and out of the house with muddy paws, the dirt they bring in travels all around our home. As they clean their paws and coat with their tongue, they then transfer these microorganisms to their dinner bowls. To keep your pet’s clean and healthy, make sure to clean their food and water bowls every day with warm soapy water and once a week in a light bleach mixture.
Kitchen cupboards are frequently overlooked when cleaning our homes, especially the cupboards at height. Even when we make an effort to re-seal food products before putting them away, containers inevitably do leak and spill over, allowing stale food to collect in the corners of our cupboards. Germs can also be spread when reaching for food items, crockery, and glassware with contaminated hands. Your cupboards are a warm dark area, which is ideal area for spiders and other creepy crawlies to live and we certainly don’t want these getting into our food! So make an effort to remove everything from your kitchen cupboards every few months and wipe down all the shelves.
FRIDGE AND FREEZER
Similarly to our kitchen cupboards, foods are bound to leak onto the shelves of our fridge and freezer. Leaving meat and dairy products in the fridge uncovered can allow these to leak fluids onto the fridge which can lead to food poising’s including salmonella and e-coli. Make sure that all foods but particularly meat, fish and dairy products are sealed and covered securely before storing them away to avoid leaks. Be sure to wipe down the interior of your fridge and freezer at least once a month and if you can, remove the shelves, drawers, and attachments and run them through the dishwasher now and then.
DOOR HANDLES, CUPBOARD HANDLES
We touch door and cupboard handles every single day, usually leaving traces of dirt and food contamination in our tracks. We try to teach children to wash their hands after using the toilet, but we know realistically, they won’t be doing this every time. That’s why it’s so important to be disinfecting the toilet flush, and door handles in every room of our home every week.
Last but certainly not least; make sure to wash soft furnishings including rugs, cushions, and blankets at least once a month. The fibres of these fabrics allow for dust and bacteria to collect, leaving your home germy and smelly. If you allow pets on the sofa, this will be an increased risk in your home. Rugs and carpets can often hold up to eight times their weight in dust and dirt and some can be dirtier than the street outside. Make sure to remove cushion covers, duvet covers, blankets and rugs every few weeks and run them through the washing machine on a hot wash. For larger rugs and carpets, make sure to use a powerful hoover and wipe down with a hot soapy sponge as often as possible. If you want your home to be gleaming clean then you may even want to consider investing in a carpet cleaner.
We come into regular contact with the stove knobs as we are cooking our daily meals, therefore it’s only natural that they are going to come into contact with contaminated hands. Additionally, as with your oven and extractor fan, the steam and condensation that hits the air while you’re cooking dinner settles and leaves a sticky residue on the knobs of your cooker. If you allow this residue to amass then dust and other fibres in the air will be attracted and stick to the surface. Make sure you’re wiping these down once a week to keep grime at bay.