If you haven’t already noticed all those sniffly co-workers and empty desks, it’s prime cold and flu season. So let’s talk about germs for a moment, shall we? You’ve heard the horror stories of icky viruses running rampant in offices and public places, but your home is just as susceptible to the stuff — even if you are a self-proclaimed neat freak. Among the factors that can contribute to your home’s germy-ness are daily cleaning habits and neglected surfaces.
To help you stay on high alert when it comes to keeping your home as flu-free as possible, we’ve rounded up a list of frequently used surfaces and areas that you may be forgetting to disinfect, or just not showing enough love. Read on to discover where germs are most likely to live in your home and get ready to kill them all.
1. Cutting Boards: Cutting boards are filled with loads bacteria and unwanted germs left over from a quick rinse versus a proper clean. Be sure to wipe down your cutting board with a solution of water and bleach (or water and vinegar to avoid those chemicals) to keep it germ-free.
2. Sponges and Dish Rags: According to the National Sanitation Foundation, more than 75 percent of dish sponges and rags contain Salmonella, E. coli. So how do you kill these and other nasty germs? Heat damp sponges in the microwave for a minute to kill bacteria and wash dish towels a few times a week. Switching out sponges more frequently this time of year will also help. Or stock up on these sponges, which have a built-in alert when it’s time to toss.
3. Bathroom and Kitchen Light Switches: The fact is that sometimes people don’t wash their hands after preparing food or visiting the bathroom. We know it’s not you, but perhaps that guest you had over last week. Clean those switches with sanitizing wipes or your multi-purpose spray often, especially after having company over.
4. Knobs and Handles (Including Appliances!): Similar to light switches, these surfaces get a LOT of action. Disinfect a couple times a week with wipes and don’t forget those kitchen appliances like oven knobs and fridge and microwave handles.
5. Faucets: This one may be a no-brainer but it’s important to know that you need to clean every nook and cranny of your faucets. Germs can get in the tiniest areas and keep growing with all the moisture surrounding them. When cleaning surfaces like faucets with disinfectant wipes, the most important tip is to NOT reuse the same wipe on multiple surfaces. Use a fresh one each time to avoid spreading germs from one surface to another.
6. Remote Control: When’s the last time you disinfected your remote control? If you can’t remember, it’s been too long. Remotes are handled by everyone in the family and all kinds of guests, so should be cleaned at *least* once a week.
7. Family Tablet and Family Phone: Shared electronics like tablets and home phones are often responsible for spreading all kinds of viruses in a household. Use electronic wipes to avoid any damage to the device but make sure you have them handy so people can wipe after each use — especially if they are feeling a little under the weather.
8. Game Controllers: Game controllers are rarely cleaned, change hands often, and are frequently used when a family member is sick. Use disinfectant wipes at least once a week to keep flu germs at bay.
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(Photos via Getty)