You take pride in your home. After all, you’ve spent a lot of time turning it into your castle, choosing the right furniture, paint and decorations.
And making regular repairs, and keeping it fresh and clean, is a reflection of that pride. But no matter how hard we try, or how carefully we plan, there are things that all of us tend to forget to clean.
Cleaning these overlooked spots makes your home healthier
Following are the top three household items most folks should be cleaning more often. Tackling these often overlooked cleaning jobs will make your home an even healthier and more inviting place to live.
1. Shower curtain and liners:
You’d never skip scrubbing the toilet or the tub. But many of us never give a second thought to the shower curtain or liner. If you haven’t cleaned either one lately, it’s time to change that.
Shampoo, conditioner and bath soap leave a thin film of soap scum on your shower curtain and liner. But even worse, the warm moist environment in your bathroom makes them the perfect breeding ground for molds and mildew.
You should be washing your curtain and liner at least once a month, and replacing the liner a couple of times a year. Simply toss them both into the washing machine with your regular detergent and a half a cup of baking soda.
When the machine gets to the rinse cycle toss in a half a cup of white vinegar. Hang the liner to dry. Between washings, spray the liner with a water and vinegar mix to discourage molds and mildew from growing.
2. Veggie and meat drawers:
While most of us wipe the shelves in the refrigerator down regularly many of us forget to give the vegetable and meat drawers the attention they need. And according to NSF International, a public health and safety company, that’s a big mistake.
NSF’s 2013 Household Germ Study concluded that meat and vegetable drawers are at the top the list when it come to the “germiest” spots in our homes.1 NSF’s testing revealed a number of microorganisms that can make people sick—including Salmonella, Listeria, E.coli, yeast and mold—living in both.
You should be wiping down the insides of your fridge once a week, and giving it a deep clean four times a year. A deep clean means unplugging the appliance and removing everything.
Toss out any expired or about to expire foods. Then wipe down all the surfaces with a mixture of baking soda and warm water. Remove the vegetable and meat drawers and scrub them out with baking soda and water. Next, soak them in warm water and then give them a wash with dish soap. Allow them to dry completely before returning them to the refrigerator.
It may seem strange that you need to clean a machine that cleans other things. But the truth is you should be cleaning your dishwasher once a month to kill germs, and keep it working efficiently.
An incredible 62 percent of household dishwashers contained fungi when a team of researchers in Slovenia tested them. Fifty-six percent of the fungi found were potentially harmful black yeasts, according to the study published in the journal Fungal Biology.
And when another group of researchers took over 800 samples from appliances in 177 different homes, they confirmed that dishwashers are often harboring some ugly bugs. Their testing found a variety of fungi including more black yeast.
Many fungi find the warm moist environment of your dishwasher irresistible. And the salt found in most dishwasher soaps is a feast for certain types of black yeast, including the Exophiala that had set up camp in many of the dishwashers tested.
Once a month encourage the bugs to move out by giving your dishwasher a complete cleaning. Remove the inside racks and scrub them clean with dish soap and hot water.
Wipe down the interior of the machine with a hot soapy rag or sponge. Don’t forget to spend some time scrubbing around the rubber door seal, a favorite hiding spot for fungus. Return the racks to the machine.
Next, fill a small bowl with white vinegar and place on the top rack and run through a cycle on the hottest setting. Remove the bowl and then sprinkle about a cup of baking soda onto the bottom of the machine and run again on hot.
Finish the job by wiping down all the interior surfaces with a mixture of hot water and non-chlorine bleach, such as 7th Generation Chlorine-Free
Make sure your home sweet home is a bug-free home too by making these often overlooked cleaning jobs a part of your regular routine.
1. “2013 NSF International Household Germ Study,” Executive Summary, NSF.org, Accessed 7/25/2017
2. “Dishwashers–a man-made ecological niche accommodating human opportunistic fungal pathogens,” Fungal Biol. 2011 Oct;115(10):997-1007, Accessed 7/25/2017
3. “Dishwashers are a major source of human opportunistic yeast-like fungi in indoor environments in Mersin, Turkey,” Medical Mycology, Volume 51, 2013 – Issue 5, Accessed 7/25/2017
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
Follow Alice and HealthierTalk on Twitter and Facebook.