We know what you’re thinking: “Another thing to add to my to-do list?!” But trust us when we say there’s a method behind our madness — these chores will make a huge difference in your home in the long run.
They might not look dirty, but dish towels were deemed the most contaminated spot in the kitchen in a USDA-funded study. And the same goes for the small towels in your bathroom, according to Carolyn Forte, director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute: “Hand towels get dirtier faster since you use them more than once per day. They should be changed every couple days, or even every day, if you have a large family.”
When you think about the stuff you put on your countertops (car keys, mail, your purse) it’s impossible to ignore how dirty they are — and don’t get us started on leaving out crumbs for critters (eek!). So you should wipe down and disinfect every day. Just make sure you don’t use the same sponge, paper towel, or cloth for the job: “It’s not good practice to use one wipe across multiple surfaces, because this will likely cause cross-contamination,” says Michaelle Exhume, a product analyst in the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute.
The easiest way to rid your shower tiles of grout is regular upkeep, which is why our cleaning expert Heloise says you should run a squeegee over tile after every use. By drying the walls, you’ll prevent mildew stains.
Even though you might think after washing your hands or the dishes the basin in your sink would be as clean as can be, you actually leave behind grime and bacteria that sticks to the basin’s walls. If you’re serious about being clean, Forte says you should use an eraser-type sponge (like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser) to remove marks, then sanitize by plugging the drain, filling the basin with warm water, and swishing a tablespoon of bleach around. Let it sit for five minutes, then rinse and air dry.
Leftover sauce and crumbs overnight will just attract bugs and make dish washing way more difficult than necessary the next day. Instead, hand wash serving plates and utensils or tuck them away in the dishwasher (without rinsing!) before calling it quits.
If you’re like us, you probably brew a fresh cup (or pot!) of coffee every day. And since your coffee maker is a hot bed for bacteria and mold, you do need to clean it daily. “It’s best to wash the removable parts of your coffee maker after every use to remove coffee, grinds, and oil,” says Forte. “You can hand wash at the sink with warm and soapy water, but usually the pieces are dishwasher-safe. And don’t forget to wipe down the outside and the warming plate where spills can burn on.”
If you cooked dinner, face it: You probably dropped food on the floor in the process. But thankfully all it takes is a quick Swiffer or sweep up after you finish the dishes to pick up those remnants — and ensure unwanted guests (*cough* bugs *cough*) don’t get to ’em first.