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How to Clean Your Home's 10 Germiest Places

2/10/2011 12:00:00 AM

Tags: Amy Mayfield, germs, bacteria, white vinegar, natural cleaner, homemade cleaner

At this point in the season, most of us know at least one person who’s fighting a cold or flu. We can’t do much about the germs flying around in schools, workplaces and stores, but we can do a lot to make sure our homes aren’t making us sick. In the March/April issue of Natural Home magazine, health editor Amy Mayfield gives a great rundown on how to keep our homes’ 10 germiest places a little more germ-free.

 1. Sponges and rags. Wash sponges and rags with soap and hot water between uses or replace these items often; wash your hands after touching sponges. Zapping a wet sponge in the microwave for four minutes will kill most disease-causing germs.

2. Cutting boards. Don’t chop vegetables or other ready-to-eat foods on a cutting board used to trim meat, poultry or fish. Wash boards thoroughly with dish detergent and hot water after each use. Replace boards that become deeply scratched.

3. Kitchen surfaces. Spray down countertops with a solution of equal parts warm water and white vinegar and wipe dry using a soft cloth. Thoroughly clean the faucet, sink and knobs, too.

4. Doorknobs. Wash your hands after touching a public doorknob, and regularly clean your own doorknobs with a nontoxic all-purpose cleaner (store-bought or homemade) diluted in hot water.

5. Toothbrushes. Brushing transfers plaque, bacteria and more to your toothbrush. After each use, rinse the toothbrush with tap water and shake several times. Store upright to allow the toothbrush to air dry. Replace it every three months.

6. Shared phones. Unplug or turn off the phone, then spray a cloth with all-purpose cleaner and wipe down the phone. Thoroughly clean the mouthpiece, the germiest part. Use a cotton swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol to clean the number buttons and the spaces between them.

7. Washers and dryers. To thoroughly clean the washer, start a warm wash cycle (with no clothes) and add 5 cups of white vinegar. Run the cycle as normal. Repeat every six months.

8. The remote. Dilute all-purpose cleaner or white vinegar in warm water, then wet a soft cloth with the solution. Wipe the remote, then dry with another soft cloth.

9. Shower curtains. Spray down vinyl curtains regularly with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm water; wash cloth curtains according to label instructions at least once a month.

10. The vacuum. Change the bags often, and remove the brushes and filters for a quick cleaning monthly. Clean the cavity of a bagless vacuum with all-purpose cleaner and let it air dry.

nh cutting board 

Clean cutting boards thoroughly after each use. Photo courtesy Natural Home Products. 

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