11 Disgusting Home Objects You're Forgetting to Clean

Banish bacteria, dust, and grime on common household objects with these quick and clever tips.

Certain areas of your home (such as the bathroom floor and kitchen countertops) make a good scrub-down obvious. Other household objects, however, are easier to forget during your regular clean-up routine, which means dirt, dust, and germs can build up without you noticing. Even if you diligently stick to a weekly cleaning schedule, your home isn't completely clean until you've wiped down and sanitized these items. To help safeguard your family's health and safety, start paying attention to these 11 commonly used items and areas you might be forgetting while cleaning your house. Get your favorite cleaning solution or disinfecting product ready: you're going to need it.

sleek white kitchen with modern appliances and gold details
James Nathan Schroder

1. Kitchen Handles

Need a hand during dinner prep? You're likely using one to open the refrigerator door—even if you just finished handling raw meat. If left untreated, refrigerator, freezer, and oven handles become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Scrub kitchen cabinet and appliance handles down once a week (or immediately after touching them with messy hands) with a cloth and a disinfectant spray or a mix of one part hot water and one part vinegar.

blue painted bathroom vanity sink with toothbrush holder

2. Toothbrush Holder

Keep your pearly whites clean and your toothbrush holder cleaner. Throw the dirty bathroom accessory in the dishwasher once a week, or sterilize it by hand with hot water and soap. It's also a good idea to regularly clean toothbrushes, especially during flu season. Boil brushes in water for two to three minutes.

small office area with rolling doors
Kritsada Panichgul

3. Computer Accessories

Think of all the times you've coughed, sneezed, or blown your nose at your desk. Now try to remember the last time you cleaned your mouse and keyboard. To clean your desk and office items, use disinfecting wipes to banish bacteria and prevent germs from spreading in your office. Alternatively, you can detach your computer's keyboard and mouse, then dip a soft-bristled toothbrush in soapy water and gently scrub the surface.

round wooden table with greenery place settings
Carson Downing

4. Place Mats

Place mats are great at protecting wood finishes from food stains, but they can get filthy fast. Rinse plastic or vinyl place mats with warm water and soap and let dry completely. Fabric mats can be thrown in the laundry machine with like-color linens, but be sure to hand-wash anything embroidered.

Colorful painting on wall by railing at home
Jason Donnelly

5. Handrails and Doorknobs

Keep your balance without picking up any pathogens by regularly wiping down railings. To clean wood handrails, use a microfiber cloth dampened with a solution of hot water and vinegar or warm, soapy water. Wipe dry with a polishing cloth. Treat doorknobs to the same cleaning routine.

Mirror above entryway bench
David Tsay

6. Light Switches

Grimy hands touch light switches every single day. Luckily, you probably already have what you need to clean them well. Clean the switch plate with a disinfectant spray or a slightly damp cloth soaked in hot water and vinegar. Wipe dry with a polishing cloth.

tote bag containing groceries
Blaine Moats

7. Reusable Shopping Bags

Reusable shopping bags hold heavy items and provide an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic. However, the bags can start to smell, collect stains, and become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold if not cleaned regularly. Wash fabric grocery bags in your laundry machine, or invest in plastic bags that can easily be wiped down.

green food tags freezer basket food storage
Adam Albright Photography, Inc.

8. Ice Cube Trays

It's easy to refill ice cube trays for months without a thought, but trays are susceptible to food remnants or odors inside your freezer. It's smart to clean plastic ice cube trays on a regular basis. Each time they're empty, give the trays a thorough wash with hot water and dish soap. Many can also be placed in the top rack of your dishwasher.

Water bottles in plastic and wicker baskets
Laura Moss Photography Corp

9. Water Bottles

Put down your reusable water bottle. Before you take another sip, draw a hot, soapy bath for it: That's the best, easiest way to clean a water bottle. Let soak for five to 10 minutes. Use a bottle brush to scrub the interior, and utilize a toothpick to get inside the mouthpiece if needed. Rinse thoroughly.

kitchen corner with sink near window

10. Faucet

Faucets might just be the dirtiest thing in your home. Scrub handles daily with hot water and dish soap, or sanitize them with a disinfecting spray. For stuck-on stains or watermarks, make a paste with baking soda and vinegar, apply it to the faucet, let sit, then rinse off with warm water.

kitchen sink filling with soap water with color striped bowls
Marty Baldwin

11. Kitchen Sponge and Scrub Brush

Your dishes and kitchen surfaces don't stand a chance at staying clean if you're not regularly disinfecting your sponge. Between uses, disinfect your kitchen sponge with one of our recommended cleaning methods. For a natural kitchen sponge cleaning solution, opt for boiling water or vinegar. For a deep clean, wash with bleach, or pop your sponge into the microwave or dishwasher.

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