Here’s How Often You Should Be Cleaning Common Household Items

The importance of maintaining good hygiene in the home has never been more relevant. This is a good time to check in and take a look at how often we should be cleaning our everyday household items. Spoiler alert: it’s more frequently than you might think.

From computer keyboards to TV remotes and even air-conditioning filters, there’s never been a better time to give your home a good antibacterial spruce-up. Let’s take a look at what you can do to keep your abode in tip-top shape.

Kitchen Counters: Daily

kitchen counter cleaning
Jason Briscoe/Unsplash
Jason Briscoe/Unsplash

It might go without saying, but keeping the area where you prepare your food clean is a huge priority. Every time you cook raw meat like chicken, it’s not just the knives you use that need a good cleaning. Studies have shown that it’s difficult to know exactly how far dangerous germs like Salmonella can spread, so wiping down your counters daily is vital.

The best product to use is an antibacterial spray or a sanitizing product that kills all the nasties. No one wants to end up with food poisoning when it could’ve been avoided by simply washing down the surfaces.

Remote Controls: Weekly

remote control
StockSnap/Pixabay
StockSnap/Pixabay

Aside from our phones, remote controls get the most action in a lot of households. While they aren’t used as much as our handsets, we do constantly touch them to flick through the channels. Given that, they need some antibacterial attention once in a while, too.

Be sure to wipe your clickers over at least once a week. These items need to be treated with a little more TLC, as over saturating them with cleaning fluids can break them beyond repair. Take the batteries out, dip a cotton swab in a mild soapy solution and scrub the buttons and the in-between spaces. After this, wipe it over with vinegar to put an end to the bacteria.

Humidifier: Every Three Days

Humidifier: Every Three Days
DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images
DAVID MCNEW/AFP via Getty Images

If you’ve never thought to clean your humidifier, then don’t worry. You’re not the only one. After all, humidifiers in themselves are cleaning products as they help dampen the air. However, this makes them ideal homes for your not-so-friendly neighborhood mold and mildew.

Cleaning instructions can differ from brand to brand, but most companies agree that using bleach or vinegar is a good option. Crack that bad boy open every three days to make sure that you’re not unknowingly breathing in spores of mold instead of your gorgeously scented essential oils. As a side note, be sure that your home is only around 45% humid. Any more than that and you might get some unwanted visitors.

The Kitchen Floor: Weekly

mopping kitchen
Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images
Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images

Kitchen floors are going to get dirty, especially if you live in a busy household. Things often get dropped on the floor when we cook and if you’ve got a kitchen-dining space then spillages are even more common. Messes should be mopped up and taken care of when they happen, but general floor mops should be done at least weekly.

There are tons of great floor cleaning products out there that kill bacteria. Some come ready diluted, while others are easily made up in a mop bucket. If you have kids who tend to drop as much food as they eat, consider mopping the floor on a daily basis instead.

Towels: After Around Four Uses

stack of towels
joe137/Pixabay
joe137/Pixabay

Some people wash towels after every single use, but as it turns out, that might be overkill. Most of us use the little blankets of fluffiness when we’re freshly clean out of the shower or the tub, meaning that (in theory) they stay relatively germ-free.

Sticking them in the laundry after about four uses is the best way to avoid any funky smells or unwanted bacteria. Be sure to hang your towels back up to dry after you use them though — throwing them on the floor doesn’t count and could lead to all sorts of skin issues that aren’t pretty.

Toilet: Daily

cleaning supplies
nastya_gepp/Pixabay
nastya_gepp/Pixabay

We get it – getting down and dirty with your toilet every single day of the week seems like a punishment reserved for the fiery pits of hell, but trust us when we say it’s worth it. Clearly, the toilet bowl is a breeding ground for bacteria that can fester for days before that weekly clean.

The best way to keep everyone in your household safe from infection is by giving the toilet bowl and seat a wipedown on the daily. You don’t have to use fancy products; a bottle of bleach will do the trick and leave your toilet sparkling. Cleaning daily also helps prevent limescale buildup which can be tricky to remove.

Make-Up Brushes: Weekly And Monthly

Make-Up Brushes: Weekly And Monthly
Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images
Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images

Ironically, people with acne tend to use make-up more frequently than those who don’t, but unwashed brushes could be contributing to the problem. If you apply your make-up in the bathroom and leave the brushes out on the counter, they can become unimaginably dirty. Even if you put them away, they need to be cleaned.

Any brushes used to apply wet products should be given a good wash with soapy water bi-weekly. That’s especially applicable for sponges that are often moist all the way through. Dry product brushes can be cleaned monthly as they aren’t as prone to bacteria.

Air Conditioner Filters: Monthly

Air Conditioner Filters: Monthly
BuildPix/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images
BuildPix/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

If you live in a hot climate, then air conditioning is a complete godsend. Having a unit is essential for making life more comfortable, but be sure to clean those filters monthly. No one wants to be inhaling a barrage of dirt and dust.

In order to keep the air inside your home top-notch, take those filters out and give them a good clean, or if possible, replace them entirely. If the air conditioning unit or heater is in your bedroom, this is particularly important to stop you from breathing in harmful germs when you’re sleeping.

Razors: Replace Every Two Weeks

man shaving
Supply/Unsplash
Supply/Unsplash

Many people tend to use a razor until they go blunt, but this is a potentially dangerous habit. Dead skin and hair live in the razors and breed bacteria which can lead to nasty infections like impetigo. Not only that, but razors that aren’t fresh can be painful to use and cause cuts, allowing the germs to seep into your system.

Ideally, razors should be replaced every one to two weeks, depending on how frequently you use them. When the razors aren’t in use, putting protective caps on them can help keep them sanitary.

Your Smartphone: Daily

Your Smartphone: Daily
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images
Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/picture alliance via Getty Images

When you think about cleaning the house, most people are immediately drawn to the kitchen counters and dirty dishes. Many of us fail to think about our smartphones, even though we touch them frequently throughout the day.

Our smartphones go everywhere with us, from bustling bars to the office, and even (in some cases) the bathroom! This makes it a perfect breeding ground for bacteria. The best way to clean your handset is with rubbing alcohol, but be sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines before you dive straight in. The last thing you want is to make an expensive mistake!

Dishwasher: Monthly

dishwasher: monthly
Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Dishwashers wash dishes, but they also need to be washed themselves. Just imagine all the little bits of food that get sucked up into them. It’s not healthy. Every month, take care to go through these steps.

Wipe the front of the machine down with cleaning solution or soap. Remove the filters and make sure they’re emptied. Clean all the parts that come out in the sink. Finally, put two cups full of white vinegar in the bottom rack and put it on a normal washing cycle. This should kill any lingering bacteria.

Rugs And Carpets: Weekly

clean-rug
The Creative Exchange/Unsplash
The Creative Exchange/Unsplash

It’s no secret that rugs and carpets get grimy from time to time. Not only do they walked on, but things get dropped on them frequently. They can become breeding grounds for germs, and they harbor pet hair, dead skin, and dust.

All carpets and rugs should be thoroughly vacuumed at least once a week. Depending on the number of pets and amount of foot traffic you have flowing through your home, it might be worth doing more regularly than this. Where possible, rugs should be thrown in the wash just as often to keep them as clean as a whistle.

Computer Keyboards: Weekly

keyboard
Karolina Grabowska/Pixabay
Karolina Grabowska/Pixabay

An overwhelming amount of people work with computers on a daily basis, whether you’re a freelancer pounding the keys at home or an administrator in an office. Computer keyboards and computer mice are the perfect breeding grounds for everything unsettling.

Microbiologists agree that they should be being wiped down at least once a week with rubbing alcohol, but if you’re working in an environment where germs abound (such as a hospital or other healthcare setting) this should be done daily at the end of the workday to avoid the spread of contagion. This is even more applicable if you’re working at a shared console.

Furniture: Monthly

Furniture: Monthly
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Upholstered furniture might have never appeared on your to-do list, but it’s time to add it in. Fabrics have a tendency to hold onto pretty much anything, especially in a family home. It’s important to get out the vacuum and use it to give your sofa and other furniture a good cleaning each month.

If possible, remove the cushion covers and put them in the wash — but be careful to follow guidelines depending on the type of material. It’s also advisable to enlist the help of a professional upholstery cleaning service twice yearly to keep that couch in tip-top shape.

Shower Curtains: Monthly

Partial view of a bathroom with a skylight.
Quick Image/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images
Quick Image/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Have you ever cleaned your shower curtain? It might look as fresh as the day you bought it, but in all likelihood, it’s teeming with bacteria. It’s a moist environment that is the ideal home for anything that loves to grow. What’s more, it comes into contact with your skin. The same applies to glass doors, too.

If possible, take your shower curtain down and put it in the washing machine. If it’s not, a solution of white vinegar mixed with a few drops of your favorite essential oil will help to sanitize it while also muting the smell. This works for both curtains and glass and should protect against limescale build-up for a while, too.

Bed Linen: Weekly

Bed Linen: Weekly
Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images
Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images

There’s nothing quite like the smell of fresh linen, is there? Sliding in between the sheets when you’ve just changed them is a wonderful perk of life that never gets old. That’s not to say that actually changing them isn’t sometimes hard work, though.

In reality, bedsheets collect all of your dead skin cells, sweat, and bodily fluids, all of which encourage dust mites. If you don’t feel like sharing your bed with the little critters, be sure to wash your sheets at least once a week. If you sweat more or have pets in your bed, you might want to consider doing this more frequently.

Picture Frames/Ornaments: Weekly

Picture Frames/Ornaments: Weekly
Stefan Klein/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Stefan Klein/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Keeping that pesky dust off family pictures and other decorations isn’t just for cleanliness, it’s for appearances, too. No one wants to display a beautiful photo with a thick layer of grime. If you suffer from allergies this one is particularly important.

Every week, use a microfiber cloth to give all of your trinkets a once over. If you’re a hay fever sufferer then you could find that this helps you out in the summer months, but it’s a good idea to do all year round. Kiss goodbye to bothersome dust mites and lingering pollen in one fell swoop — just be sure to take an antihistamine beforehand if you’re sensitive.

Blinds/Curtains: Every Four Months

blinds
yeniguel/Pixabay
yeniguel/Pixabay

Taking down a set of heavy drapes or cleaning blinds is a job that none of us look forward to, but it’s a necessary evil. Luckily, it’s something we can get away with doing every four months and not every week. Wiping down blinds with hot soapy water helps keep the dust at bay, making for a much healthier environment.

Ideally, drapes should go into the washing machine but if this isn’t possible, then take them out into the yard and beat them to get some of the dust out. You can then spray them with an antibacterial solution. If you have a steam cleaner, this is very effective, while some companies also offer an at-home service.

Ceiling Fans: Every Three Months

ceiling fan
JamesDeMers/Pixabay
JamesDeMers/Pixabay

Having a ceiling fan is a great luxury and perfect for keeping the air moving in your home. However, as many of them have flat blades, this is the perfect settling ground for thick layers of dust. When you hit the on switch, that means mites are spread all about the place.

Giving them a quick once over with all-purpose cleaner each week would be beneficial, but if you can’t easily reach them then every three months is advisable. That way, the allergens will be kept at bay and your family won’t be sneezing their way through the living room.

Bras: Every Three Or Four Wears

clothes drying
Greg Montani/Pixabay
Greg Montani/Pixabay

Unlike other underwear, bras don’t need to be washed after every single outing. Keeping them on for three or four wearings might make you feel a little bit guilty, but it’s not going to cause you any harm. However, there are no hard and fast rules here. If you’re a heavy sweater then it’s important to wash them more frequently.

This one really varies from person to person, but the general rule is four days at the maximum. Throw them in the washer along with your other dedicates. Pro tip: avoid using any overly scented fabric softener or detergent as this could lead to irritation.