How to keep your Home Germ Free

Words like “clean” and “germs” have taken on new meaning in recent months, leaving us all searching for the most effective ways to minimize illness-causing bacteria in our homes. Consider adding one or more of the following home cleaning hacks to your daily, weekly and monthly maintenance routines to protect your loved ones while presenting a welcoming “home clean home” to guests.

woman cleaning countertop

Show Some Love to the Heart of Your Home

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies cleaning as the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces, while disinfecting involves the use of chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. In high-use spaces of the home – such as kitchens and bathrooms – disinfecting is particularly important. Found in most grocery and big box stores, the CDC suggests using EPA-approved antibacterial cleaners. As for frequency, get in the habit of wiping down countertops after each use. Don’t forget appliances – large and small – that see regular use like toasters, microwaves, coffee makers, can openers and refrigerators, as well as doorknobs, trash cans and light switches. Hack: When you run your dishwasher, toss your sponges in there for a good wash that will cut down on bacteria buildup.

Rub-a-dub-scrub – Don’t Forget the Tub

Like kitchen counters, you should get in the habit of wiping down bathroom counters and sinks after each use. Ideally, you should clean your toilets, shower and tub on a weekly basis, and your grout can get a little extra attention once a month. Toss your fabric shower liner in the washing machine or spray down your plastic shower liner with a mixture of bleach and water (¾ cup bleach to 1 gallon of water) once a week to minimize bacteria buildup and ward off the growth of mold and mildew. Consider using disposable paper hand towels, but if you opt for fabric hand towels, swap them out and wash them every two to three days using a color safe bleach. Hack: Stash away the decorative toothbrush holder for the time being and keep toothbrushes in their own protective antibacterial cases – color-coded by family member.

Hands On Approach to Handrails

Just think about the number of times your family climbs up and down the stairs, often holding onto the railing. Be sure to clean those high-touch banisters daily. Depending on the materials and finishes used in your banisters, you can either use disinfectant wipes or a soft rag moistened with an antibacterial all-purpose cleaner that’s safe on wood. Hack: Some disinfectant wipes claim to be safe on wood, but test in an unseen area first to be on the safe side.

Purify the Playroom

Toys receive a lot of touching in households with young children, but they often get overlooked during the cleaning process. Be sure to add them to your weekly cleaning routine instead of just putting them away in the toy box. Plastic toys can be wiped down with a mixture of 3/4 cup of bleach and one gallon of water. Rinse with clean water and allow them to air dry. Hack: Put hard plastic building blocks in a lingerie bag and wash on medium heat in your washing machine with detergent and a touch of bleach before allowing them to air dry.

hand holding mobile phone with photo of living room on it

Keep Screens Clean

From remote controls and smartphones to tablets and laptops, electronics are high-touch objects that often get passed back and forth as easily as, well, germs. To try and minimize the passage of germs, be sure to clean them regularly. A can of pressurized air is great for dislodging crumbs and pet hair from in between keys on a computer keyboard, but to disinfect, you’ll want to use a cotton swab lightly saturated in alcohol. Use a disinfectant wipe to clean your remote controls daily. Hack: When cleaning a smartphone or tablet, make sure it is unplugged and turned off. Never spray cleaner directly on your device, but use a microfiber cloth saturated lightly with a bit of cleaner approved by the device manufacturer.

For even more “home clean home” inspiration, explore our other clean-themed articles: