Keeping our homes clean is a never-ending task, so knowing where to focus our efforts can come in mighty helpful. Of course we know germs can linger in toilets or on dishes containing raw meat, we might overlook a few other common spots bacteria and viruses like to hang out. A quick wipe-down with diluted vinegar will clean up these offending spots quickly and easily.
1. Sponges and rags. When we wipe dishes or countertops with soiled rags, we’re simply transferring bacteria from one place to another. To make sure you’re actually ridding your kitchen of bacteria, wash sponges and rags with soap and hot water between uses or replace these items often. Dropping a sponge in boiling water or heating it (while wet) in the microwave for four minutes will kill most disease-causing germs. The sponge will be hot, so be careful when removing it from the microwave.
Another great option? Make your own quick-wipes: Store multiple squares of cotton cloth (think cut up old T-shirts or pajamas) in a container filled with a mixture of 1 cup water, 1 ounce liquid castile soap and 6 to 8 drops of your favorite essential oil (try antimicrobial lemon or tea tree). Wipe down counters with the wipes, then toss them in the wash and return them to the jar for reuse. Get many more natural cleaning recipes.
2. The remote control. Often used but rarely cleaned, remotes can harbor tons of germs, especially if you have kids. Dilute white vinegar in warm water, then wet a soft cloth with the solution. Wipe remote and dry with another soft cloth. And don’t forget video game controls and computer mice while you’re at it!
3. The vacuum. We think of the vacuum as a cleaning tool, not a home for germs. But vacuum brushes, bags and filters make great hiding places for germs like E. coli. Because food is sucked into the vacuum, bacteria can survive for a long time inside. To keep bacteria out, change vacuum bags often, and remove brushes and filters for a quick cleaning monthly. Clean the cavity of a bagless vacuum with vinegar or all-purpose cleaner and let it air dry.