Article by Savannah Sher for BobVila ©
Stick to a Schedule
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the challenge of keeping every room in your house clean, especially now that we’re spending more time than ever at home. Whether you choose to tackle one or two cleaning tasks a day or to whip through all of them on the weekend, your home will stay cleaner if you make sure to take care of these 10 chores every week.
Disinfect Your Sink
The kitchen sink is a breeding ground for bacteria. According to NSF International, an organization that works to protect and improve human health around the globe, the sink is the second dirtiest thing in your home, after kitchen sponges and rags. Ideally, you should wipe down your sink every day. But once a week you need to give it a more thorough cleaning by washing the surface with soap and hot water and then using a disinfecting product to eliminate potentially harmful microorganisms.
Clean Your Microwave
While you probably wipe down the most visible surfaces in your kitchen regularly, you may be neglecting the inside of the microwave. One trick for easily removing stains and grime is to put a half cup of water and a half cup of white vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl and heat it on high until the mixture boils. The steam will loosen any food particles caked onto the interior of the microwave and let you quickly wipe away the residue with a sponge or microfiber cloth.
Clear Out Your Fridge
You should go through your fridge once a week to discard spoiled foods and expired leftovers. According to a study published by NSF International, the vegetable crisper and meat drawer in your fridge can harbor dangerous microbes like salmonella, listeria, E. coli, yeast, and mold. While a weekly deep cleaning isn’t necessary, be sure to wipe up any spills and clear out crumbs and other food debris.
Sweep Your Floors
The high-traffic areas of your home, such as the kitchen and hallways, should be swept or vacuumed daily, especially if you have children or pets. Once a week, however, be sure to give the rest of the rooms in your home attention, sweeping under furniture and in corners to ensure they’re free of dust and dirt.
Launder Your Towels
According to the American Cleaning Institute (ACI), bath towels should be washed after approximately three uses, which for most people means at least once a week. Kitchen towels are particularly productive breeding grounds for bacteria, as noted in a study published in “Food Protection Trends,” so heavily soiled kitchen towels should be washed after every use. Otherwise, laundering them once a week is sufficient.
Clean Your Toilet
Cleaning and disinfecting your toilet weekly is vital for eliminating potentially dangerous microorganisms like E. coli. While the exterior surfaces of the toilet can be wiped down with a paper towel and some all-purpose cleaner, the bowl itself should be scrubbed with a brush and specialty toilet cleaner. It’s a good idea to wipe down your bathroom counters and sink at the same time. Your bathtub and shower can be cleaned every two weeks.
Wash Your Toothbrush Holder
This seemingly innocuous bathroom accessory may be harboring frightening levels of bacteria, according to NSF International. Research by the organization found that the toothbrush holder is actually the third dirtiest place in your house. Fortunately, toothbrush holders can be cleaned quickly and easily. Most are dishwasher-friendly, or you can wash them by hand along with other dishes. You can also wipe them down periodically with a disinfectant.
Wash Your Sheets
Considering we spend a third of our lives in bed, it’s important to launder our sheets often to eliminate the skin cells, body oils, hair, sweat, and dust mites that build up while we sleep. Experts recommend washing your sheets once every one to two weeks. Those who have allergies or tend to sweat in their sleep will benefit from washing their bedding more frequently.
Vacuum Your Rugs and Carpets
Whether you have wall-to-wall carpeting or just a scattering of area rugs as decorative accents, it’s important to clean these soft surfaces at least once a week. Those with pets that shed heavily will benefit from vacuuming twice a week or more. The same is true for rugs in high-traffic areas. As a general rule, vacuum rugs and carpets before they begin showing signs of dirt.
Dust is made up of hair, dead skin cells, pollen, dirt particles, and dust mites, and it is constantly accumulating on surfaces throughout your home. The ACI recommends dusting the furniture in your house weekly, unless you have allergy sufferers in your family, in which case you should dust even more frequently. Rather than using a traditional feather duster, which simply moves dust around, opt for a microfiber cloth that will trap the dirt.