Even with cleaning hacks to speed up the process, nobody wants to spend their Sunday afternoon working their way through huge piles of laundry, cleaning the kitchen, or driving to the dry cleaner and car wash, but these chores are a (sad, but true) reality of adult living. (Plus, doing them regularly makes spring cleaning less of a slog.) If you’re anything like us, though, you’re constantly wondering how often most of these things are actually necessary — even if you’re doing your very best to pretend that you know exactly how and when all of these domestic duties need doing. It’s time to drop the act, because we’ve scoured the internet to get real deal information on how often we should all be cleaning basic clothing and household items. Read on for all the details!
1. Car: If you live in an area that experiences a lot of bad weather, you should consider making a trip to the car wash every one to two weeks to avoid excessive build-up of precipitation on your ride (especially if your streets are salted in the winter). The cumulative effects of this kind of weather can take longer to remove and can even damage your paint job if left for too long. If you don’t deal with these kinds of weather problems (lucky you!), you should aim for a car wash approximately once a month.
2. Pillows: Pillows should be tossed into the washing machine every three to six months to help get rid of dust mites, which can actually add weight to pillows over time (gross) and aggravate allergies. If you thought Clean Sheet Night was a reason to celebrate, just wait until you experience Clean Pillow Night!
3. Purses & Wallets: We’re about to really gross you out — did you know that your purses and wallets may be carrying tons of unwanted germs? Tests have shown that they do (just think about how many random floors you’ve set that purse down on, or where the cash in your wallet has been), and to avoid getting them in your system, you should wipe down these accessories with baby wipes (or, for cotton, use a standard washing machine) about once a week.
4. Jeans: We all know that icky feeling of too-small, just-washed denim. Since jeans do shrink after a good cleaning, it’s best to wait to wash them until you’ve worn them four or five times. Looking for more expert tips? Turn your jeans inside-out before throwing them into the washing machine, and let them drip-dry if you have the time and space.
5. Bras: You should wash your bras after every third or fourth wear. Remember also that it’s a bad idea to wear the same bra two days in a row, because the elastic needs a full 24 hours to reshape itself. If you have a solid rotation of comfy and flattering bras and follow that one-day rule, you’ll easily be able to go weeks or even months between bra laundry days. Don’t forget to keep them out of the dryer too — the heat and tumbling will trash the elastic, dramatically reducing the bra’s lifespan.
6. Mattresses: Cleaning pros recommend that your mattress get a good cleaning every six months — and the good news is that this chore is actually a lot easier than it sounds! The best way to clean a mattress is to vacuum the top of it and then wipe up any stains with a damp, soapy cloth. Done and done.
7. Throw Pillows & Blankets: Since you’re likely only using these decor items for short periods at a time (or layering them with more substantial pieces), you don’t need to care for them as often as you do your bed pillows, comforters, etc. Giving your throw pillows and blankets a good cleaning once per season should be more than enough!
8. Refrigerator: Yes, we know this is an annoying and disgusting task, but keeping your refrigerator clean and sanitary is really important for your health. Who wants germs or funky fridge tastes on their food? Once a week, you should take everything out of the refrigerator and wipe down the inside with a mixture of water and white vinegar. This will also give you a regular opportunity to check the expiration dates on all of your food and to get rid of things before they get stinky — it doesn’t get cleaner than that.
9. Cleaning Appliances: If you’re going to use your washing machine, vacuum, and dishwasher to get the rest of your belongings clean, it’s important to make sure that they themselves are in tip-top shape. It’s best to wipe out these appliances once a month.
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(Photos via Getty)