Boo! There are scary germs lurking in your home, not just around Halloween, but every day. Here are some of the scariest, along with spirited Tricks on how to get rid of them. Once you’re done, relax and have a Treat.
Some of these hiding places will be very obvious – no unmasking needed to recognize these intruders. But, others will probably be ones you haven’t thought of.
- Switches, outlets, knobs and handles – We all recognize that these are some of the favorite places for germs to chill out on. But, really, when was the last time you put out a “no vacancy” sign in these areas? Grab a damp microfiber with some cleaning agent (Clorox, or something with a little bleach is a great antimicrobial and best for color and chemical safe items – or a Clorox wipe), but even a little diluted dishwashing soap on a microfiber will clean 99% of germs if the proper wiping technique is used. Now, look for the items you frequently use, but don’t frequently clean. Here’s some of favorites. Feel free to share what you like to clean that may not be on here. Switches and switchplates; outlets where you typically plug in your computer, small appliances, an electric toothbrush (clean that while you’re at it); draw handles, knobs and pulls on cabinets and doors (both sides), the refrigerator and freezer handles, sink faucets and handles, toilet levers, dresser drawer handles, toilet paper holders (when was the last time you cleaned the part that you put the roll on?!); plastic drape, shutter and blind pulls; doorbells, doorknockers; medicine cabinet edges; mirrored closet door handles and edges.
- Pet Dishes – You dress up your favorite dog and cat in fancy pet Halloween costumes. But, it is time pay a little more attention to the dog food dish and dog water dish. If you wash your pet bowls frequently, great. But, most of us look at that water dish and think, “yeah, I can do that tomorrow,” all too often. The National Sanitation Foundation found these to be the fourth most germ infested place in your home. And, they often harbor Salmonella. How is that for a Halloween fright? Rule of thumb… if you can see or feel slime or grime on your pet bowls, it is already past the time to wash them with bleach.
- Kitchen Sponges and Kitchen Sinks – Did you know that National Safety Foundation found these two items to be the germiest in your home? To clean your sink, apply a multipurpose cleaner, ideally with bleach (as long as this is safe for your type of sink), and using the scrubbing side of a clean sponge, working top to bottom, clean all the way down to the exposed areas of the trap. Be sure to spend a little extra time cleaning the seams between the sink and the drain. Don’t forget to clean the underside of the trap, including the rubber components. Often, the disposal side has a removable rubber piece. If so, remove it and clean both sides. If it is permanent, just be sure to scrub the underside of the rubber. DO NOT PUT YOUR HANDS INTO THE DISPOSAL AREA! Ideally, let the cleanser stay on the scrubbed surface for a minute to give the bleach more time to kill the germs, then rinse and shine per usual, being sure to use clean microfiber towels to shine (vs the already germy dirty ones). Once you are done with the sink, the very best way to tackle sponge cleaning is to clean it well with soap and water by sudsing it and rinsing thoroughly, then microwave it for about 1 minute (a little longer if you have a lower wattage microwave); let it cool for a few minutes, ring out any remaining water, and then let dry by placing it on a (clean and germ free) dish drying rack or sponge rack. Here is a great video with sink cleaning instructions.
- Toothbrush Holder – You may think your toothbrush holder is harboring little creep crawly scary germs, weather it is hidden in the medicine cabinet or is a beautiful piece of art sitting on your bathroom counter. The reality is it ranks high up there on the list of things with enough germs to make you sick. The lovely wet toothbrush gets set in the holder and then drips and air drys, giving bacteria and mold a lovely place to set up camp. So, empty out the holder and give it a nice deserved scrub.
- Dog Toys – Fido’s dishes were bad enough. But, his toys are frightfully full of germs, too. Most common culprit on these bad boys are Coliform, Staph and Yeast. Yuck! Wash toys made of cloth in the washer with bleach. For rubber, plastic and nylon toys, clean with soap and water and then let soak in a bleach and water solution. Be sure to rinse well and let air dry.
Were you able to tackle this list today? Good job! Relax and have a treat knowing your home is a little more protected from germ goblins. Happy Halloween!