Here's another series I am starting this year; it's called "Top Spots." The first post in this series will be "Top Spots To Clean To Stay Healthy This Winter." Yes, I know; who wants to clean, right? But it is necessary to keep your home environment healthy and, in turn, keep you healthy. First, let's talk about the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing. Did you know there was a difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing? Here is the simple definition of each.
Cleaning doesn't remove all the germs, but it does lower the number of germs in your home.
Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs on items though it doesn't clean surfaces.
Sanitizing is the process when you cleaning or disinfecting an area to reduce the number of germs on it to a safer level.
- BATHROOMS spots to clean and how to clean them
- KITCHEN SURFACES areas to clean and how to clean them
- KNOBS AND HANDLES GALORE spots to clean and how to clean them
- FABRICS areas to clean and how to clean them
- SWITCHES AND PULLS areas to clean and how to clean them
- TECHNOLOGY areas to clean and how to clean them
- OTHER INFORMATION
Wasn't that interesting? We will be focusing on cleaning today. So, here we go.
Routine cleaning works best to help you keep germs at bay. If you don't have time to clean from top to bottom in your home, focus on these areas. And, updated in 2023, I added some ways to disinfect the different areas of your home.
BATHROOMS spots to clean and how to clean them
Toilet - ½ cup of bleach and pour it into your toilet bowl, using a toilet brush to scrub it, let sit for five minutes before flushing.
Tub - Mix ⅓ cup of bleach with 1 gallon of cold water. Using a sponge wipe the walls and tub and let sit for 5 minutes. Then rinse.
Bathroom Sink - use nonabrusive soap and let sit for a few minutes before rinsing and wiping down.
Floor around the Toilet - wet this area then use disinfectant spray and wipe the area to remove germs.
KITCHEN SURFACES areas to clean and how to clean them
Kitchen counters - Clean with isopropyl rubbing alcohol (at least 70%) wipes and let dry.
The Kitchen sink - plug the sink and fill will 1 part bleach and 3 parts water and let sit overnight to reduce the germs
Cutting boards - scrub the cutting boards with soap and hot water. Keeping meat on plastic cutting boards work well to stop cross contamination.
Updated 2023 - Spice jars - As people cook they can easily spread bacteria between picking up and handling meat like chicken and pickup spice jars to use them.
Updated 2023 - Kitchen sponges - soaking a sponge in a diluted bleach solution or placing it in the dishwasher on high heat.
Update 2023 - Refrigerator handles - Use a disinfectant wipe to remove germs from the handles.
Update 2023 - Waste Baskets - use a bleach spray or all-purpose cleaner spray and let sit for 5 minutes, then rinse and dry with a paper towel.
KNOBS AND HANDLES GALORE spots to clean and how to clean them
Door Knobs - Use disinfectant wipes and allow to dry.
Cabinet knobs - use disinfectant wipes and allow to dry.
Toothbrush handles and the bristles - use a mouthwash that is a disinfectant like Listerine or place the toothbrush handle in the dishwasher.
Faucet handles - disinfect these handles by using rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth.
Oven knobs - remove and wipe with a mild soap, dry and reattach. Do not soak.
Update in 2023 - Microwave handles can easily spread germs. - Use a disinfectant wipe and let dry completly.
***AD*** from Released Repurpose Reorganize: My List Simplified journal is a wonderful organizing tool for planning a move or a renovation. Use it to corral all the to-dos.
FABRICS areas to clean and how to clean them
Sheets / Bedding - machine wash on the hottest water using a detergent and Bleach or color safe bleach in a high efficiency clothes washer. Be sure that it soaks for 10 minutes.
Dishtowels - boiling your dish cloths in a sauce pan to sterilize them. Read more here.
Tablecloths - use a quality color safe bleach in permanent press cycle.
Bath towels / Hand towels / Wash clothes - Machine wash on the hottest setting and add non bleach or bleach depending on the color.
Throws - use small amount of detergent and use in the gentle cycle to protect the fabric.
Winter gloves - wash with anti-bacterial soap or solution and wa rm water
Winter Coats - Put in the washing machine on a delicate cycle. with cold water and delicate soap.
Visit our Laundry Room Cleaning Tips and Tricks for more information!
SWITCHES AND PULLS areas to clean and how to clean them
Light switches - Use a disinfectant wipe after cleaning with a window cleaner sprayed on a paper towel.
Pull strings for fans and ceiling lights - use disinfectant wipes by wiping them down and letting them dry.
Update 2023 - curtain cords - use disinfectant wipes and let dry.
TECHNOLOGY areas to clean and how to clean them
"A desk is capable of supporting 10 million bacteria, and the average office contains 20,961 germs per square inch, according to research."
Laptop keyboard and mouse - Use a microfiber clothes and spray with window cleaner. Let dry and use a disinfectant wipe over the keys and mouse.
Phone display and case - use a disinfectant wipe and let dry.
Tablet display and case - use window cleaner or electronic cleaner and dry with a microfiber cloth.
Television remote controls and buttons - use electronic cleaner wipes
Calculator keys - Use an disinfectant wipe and let dry.
Telephones - use a disinfectant wipe and clean all raised keys.
Updated - 2023 - Game controllers, of course. - using a disinfectant wipe be sure to clean all the controler buttons, even the ones on the sides and the bottom of the controllers.
Check out my post about The Most Important Places to Clean in the Office for even more tips!
Washing your hands often, of course, is crucial to keeping yourself healthy this winter as well.
"Handwashing is like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy."
If the pandemic taught us anything, it is washing your hands for 30 seconds with soap (cold or warm water is fine) when you enter your home will significantly reduce the amount of germs you bring into your home.
Did you know there is a Global Handwashing Day? It's on October 15th.
I hope this helped you get your home clean so you can stay healthy this winter. Let me know if I missed other areas in your home by leaving a comment below. I would love to hear from you.
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Great idea for a blog post. Knowing what needs to get done and then using a list to plan when it's going to happen would mean more success in keeping up your home.
I have heard that the dishcloth in the kitchen is one of the dirtiest things. So we change the dishcloth everyday. It is an interesting dilemma because most people wipe the counters and stoves with their dishcloth.
Great tips, Sabrina! It is scary how many germs there are on the technology we use every day! I like your tips about cleaning light switches and doorknobs, they can easily be overlooked, but are touched frequently.
The germ data about the desk area is quite sobering, with desks harboring 20,291 germs per square inch. You motivated me to do some extra cleaning. Yikes! I often do what I call a "quick clean." It's better than not cleaning at all, but clearly, I need to up my game. Thanks for the nudge.
I feel your pain! Every time I come across germ stats it makes me clean more thoroughly. Thanks for commenting.
Of course I read this sitting at my desk, so I was a little grossed out by the data, but it was a good reminder!
I know how you feel! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.
Those are some great tips. I admit I only clean about half of the spots that are listed. I need to do better.
Tips like this is so beneficial to me, and are time savers.
I have an apartment, where I work. Cleaning that is hard enough during the week. I also have a house where I go to on the weekends. It is closed up until the weekend, so I do the work of cleaning and maintaining it in 2 days, instead of the whole week.
Little tips like this means a lot and helps me get the job done faster, thanks for sharing.
I'm glad it helped, William. Thanks for commenting.
Great tips! Thx for sharing, Sabrina. I'm always amazed at how many places bacteria can be lurking.
I know what you mean. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Doreen.
Hi Sabrina - great list and I follow most of them, although my computer and mouse are often neglected. Will have to smarten up there.
I once read somewhere that keeping the doorknobs, cupboard and especially fridge handles sanitized will do two things - keep things sanitary and people will think the rest of the house is clean.
Glad you put the bathroom first - that is always my priority.
I heard that too. I agree, it does make the house seem cleaner too. =) Thanks for mentioning it.
Great list Sabrina and I see a few things on there that I never think about, like handles and light switches. Anything on my desk is normally a priority for me since I spend so much time working here, but the rest of the house, well I can always use a good reminder. Thanks!
I have another one for you Sabrina, the refrigerator. The only reason I thoguht of that is that I cleaned my fridge today after defrosting a piece of meat in it and having it srip down into the vegetable drawer.
Great one, Ken. Thanks for sharing.
Rose Mary Griffith
I was crazed about cleaning my desk, phone, door knob, etc., when I worked in an office. Oh the cooties those employees brought to my HR door! I'm less of a maniac working from home but totally can see how important keeping up on this stuff is. If there's a way to avoid being sick, I sure want to use it!
It's so important wherever we for long periods of time.
Glad you mentioned the computer. I think this, the mouse, and the phone are common bacteria "share" points that we don't tend to think of!
I totally agree.
So many germs lurking everywhere!
I wipe my keyboard, phone and mouse almost daily at work, especially if someone has sat at my desk. There are no excuses nowadays with sprays and wipes available specifically for this.
Antibacterial sprays are a must. I have a bottle at home and a mini bottle in my bag. I normally offer some to people who have sneezed into their hands.
Thank you for your tips.
I totally agree. Thanks for commenting.
Handy list of tasks! Glad I have a cleaning service! I can hand it to them. October 15, 2016 sounds like a perfect time to start thinking about winter.
Great idea, Beth. =) Stay healthy.
Great suggestions for keeping your home free of germs. When it comes to not getting flu or something similar this winter the main thing is to wash your hands whenever you have been in contact with other people and touched surfaces outside your home. And, not to forget, use antibacterial gel apart from soap. If you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with a virus on your hands you will get it.
Great tips, Catarina. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I've never heard of global hand washing day but that surely sounds like a good idea. I'm always flabbergasted when I see people leave a public restroom without washing their hands. Ewwww. I do a lot more cleaning than disinfecting in my home because I don't like to use chemicals, so these are definitely some good tips for me.
Global Handwashing Day?! What a hoot. Well, let me say, I'm so grateful to have a housekeeper who does 75% of this cleaning to sanitizing. But I do prefer to do my own fabrics, and technology items. Your list is as complete as I can think about. Thanks Sabrina.
Thanks Patricia. It was fun to put it together. Yes, Global handwashing day is a thing. =)