While there are a number of household chores that undoubtedly require cleaning and disinfection – toilets, counters and floors, for example – there are as many that go under the radar. Often these are high contact areas or places that intrinsically collect bacteria, dirt and grime due to their frequency of use.
Typically, you should clean, disinfect, or sanitize these areas once or twice a day, says Carolyn Forté, director of the Home Appliance and Cleaning Product Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. But what exactly should you tackle? Forté says that the 8 points below probably need your attention.
1. Door handles
It may sound obvious, but how often really to clean your door handles? The easiest way to fix them: Wipe off any visible dust with a dry cloth; give them a good scrub with a soapy cloth, give them a good scrub; then rinse.
Zap all persistent bacteria with a disinfectant like Microban 24, which kills 99.9% of bacteria initially and continues to work throughout the day to kill the bacteria for 24 hours. Let sit for five minutes, then wipe with a cloth.
2. Light switches
Have you ever stopped to think about the number of times you turn the lights on and off? (Answer: a lot, especially if kids love to leave them on and you’re the only one who turns them off.) To keep all that dirt out, wipe the light switches regularly with a cloth.
Think of all the things you touch before you turn on the tap. (A little disgusting, huh?) Start with your favorite cleaning product, then disinfect with Microban 24. Let it sit for five minutes, then wipe with a microfiber cloth.
4. Remote controls
Almost everyone touches the remote controls, whether for the TV or the ceiling fan. To clean them, first remove the batteries and replace the cover. Then moisten a cloth with a cleaning product and pass the whole remote control, paying particular attention to the spaces between the buttons. For narrow grooves, use a cotton swab – just be careful not to get any liquid in the controls.
If there are pesky crumbs stuck between the buttons, use a toothpick to gently dislodge them. Finally, dry the remote control with a lint-free cloth and replace the batteries. Here! You are ready for the movie night.
5. Stair railings
You probably hit your ramp every time you go up and down the stairs – and we would dare guess that it is at least a dozen times a day. To disinfect, wipe off visible dust and debris and strike the top, sides and all other areas that hands tend to grasp with a disinfectant. Just make sure your product is suitable for the finish!
Electronics are delicate because they require special attention to avoid saturating the control panels and damaging the machines. LCD screens also require special attention, as some cleaning products can cause irreparable damage. Always consult the owner’s manual. If you don’t have it, manufacturers often put this information on their websites.
In general, however, you can safely clean very sensitive areas like the keyboard or mouse by spraying a cloth with a cleaning product and then wiping. To disinfect, spray Microban 24 on a cloth and wipe dry.
7. Cabinet handles
Think about what you touch most often in the kitchen and bathroom. Chances are your cabinet handles are up there with your countertops. Give these spots one more time by wiping off grease or grime from the handles with soapy water, then rinse and dry. Kill bacteria and germs with Microban 24; let sit for five minutes, then polish with a microfiber cloth to make it shine.
8. Trash cans
All kinds of disgusting things go in your trash cans, but how often do you actually stop to clean the trash cans themselves? To effectively combat this dirt, clean the can and removable plastic liners with warm soapy water. Then rinse, dry and spray all sides with a disinfectant spray.
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