We all know we should keep our homes clean, if for no other reason than we want to be able to friends over for coffee every now and then without wondering if their shoes will stick to the kitchen floor. Oh, you don’t think about that? Just me? Hm.
The truth is, having a clean home isn’t just about the way it looks, but about removing the germs and dirt that can get and keep your family sick. We all know we need to vacuum the carpets and wash the toilet and put away laundry (eh, sometimes) but what about those areas that collect dirt and germs on a regular basis that we totally neglect? Let’s dive into some of the biggest culprits.
1. Your cell phone. How often do you give your cell phone a good cleaning? And wiping the screen on your pant legs to remove the greasy fingerprints doesn’t count. Our phones have become an extension of our hands and therefore, an extension of how we pick up germs and bacteria. Our phones spend their days in our hands, in and out of our pockets, purses and bags and near our face. They are a hot bed for dirty, nasty little creatures. Making it a routine to clean your entire phone often will help reduce the germs that you pass from it to you and vice versa.
2. Your light switches. If you have light colored light switches in your home like I do, you will probably notice upon further examination that they are covered in grime and dirt. And why wouldn’t they be? We touch them all day long, and so do our kids. Especially when sickness runs through your home, cleaning off light switches is a super important task in keeping the spread of germs down. It takes less than 5 minutes to clean off all the light switches in your home, either with a damp cloth spritzed with disinfectant or vinegar or a Clorox wipe.
3. Your door knobs. Much like the light switches above, door knobs are used all day, every day and are rarely cleaned. Think about the last thing your child touched (their nose, their mouth, their butt…) and now think about them opening and closing the doors in the house. Barf, right? It is really easy to clean these and can be done exactly like the switches. Honestly, I walk around the house with the container of Clorox wipes and clean off knobs and switches at the same time.
4. Your remote control. I remember many years ago, I took a good look at our remote control and I almost threw up. We use it so often and without really looking at it that I had never noticed how dirty it was. The areas between the buttons were clogged full of dirt and grime and the buttons were greasy. A great tool for cleaning remotes, or anything with buttons, is a Q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol or your favorite disinfectant. The Q-tip gets right in between the buttons and removes the years of finger grime (and let’s be honest, probably food remnants.)
5. Your fans (both ceiling and free-standing) Fans are so easy to ignore, especially when they are running. But the second you turn them off, you see the dust hanging from the blades like jungle plants. The same goes for free-standing fans, whose blades collect dust, dirt and grease easily. For ceiling fans, use a pillow case to cover the blade and remove the dust and dirt. This prevents the dust from falling over the floor and walls. To clean small standing or desk fans, remove the cover, rinse with soapy water and wipe the blades with a damp cloth. Done and done. No more blowing dust into the air.
6. Bathroom walls and ceiling. Even if you have a ventilation system in your bathroom, it is likely that the water and steam is collecting on the walls and ceiling, possibly creating a mold situation. The best way to combat this is to use the vent fan as often as possible and also clean the walls and ceiling on a regular basis. If you see the start of mold (black, gray or green dots usually in the corners), get on top of it as soon as possible. You don’t want to mess around with mold. Wipe the area down first with a mild soap and water. Let it dry completely and then go back with a bleach/water solution and apply. After 20-30 minutes, apply more bleach/water solution and wait for it to dry. This cleans the area and also removes the mold.
7. Your range hood. When I used to own a cleaning company and do rental clean-outs, this was one of the dirtiest places to tackle. Why? Because the grease collects so easily and the steam creates humidity that makes the grease stick even easier. The easiest way to clean the range hood is with a good degreaser or Dawn dish soap with hot water. Spray the degreaser on and under the hood and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Drape a towel over the stove top to collect any run-off and prevent an even bigger mess (who has time for that!) Scrub the top and under side with a non-scratch sponge and repeat as necessary. When the range is clean, it will appear to sparkle like magic. Try it, you’ll see.
Now that you know all the gross, grimy places you’re missing in your home, you can get down to the business of cleaning everything else. But, uh, where do you start? Even if you are a "Cleaning doesn't suck that bad" kinda mom, keeping a running tally of all the things that need to be cleaned in the house can be a daunting task! Sign up below to receive your free house cleaning master list, broken down by room. Print it out, keep it in a binder, hang it on the wall (it colorful and pretty) and use it to create your cleaning schedule or just as a useful guide for #allthethings that need to be cleaned in our homes.