One of two very neat and clean children that belong to me (the third is a complete slob) was giving me grief because I was changing his sheets this morning. I think he was complaining just for the sake of complaining simply because it’s Monday morning. It could also have something to do with the fact that he stayed up far too late watching the Super Bowl. Whatever the source of his objection, I decided to press on with changing the sheets and cleaning all the nasty little areas where germs like to hide. We’re just trying to make it through flu season without too much drama. As I have learned over time, there are some particularly disgusting places that you don’t want to miss when you’re cleaning your house.
Dirty Sheets and Mattresses
Despite what my kids might think, it’s pretty much a given that we should wash our sheets at least every week. If someone isn’t feeling well, I toss those suckers in the wash on the hot cycle more frequently. I recently read a rather disgusting statistic that we lose about a pound of skin cells each year while sleeping. That would be equivalent to a loaf of bread, but I wouldn’t advise to make that substitute for your flour! You will want to periodically wash your blankets along with your sheets. Thankfully, sheets and blankets are easy, but what about the mattress and pillows?
Pillows should be given a good shake each day to get rid of dust and dead skin cells. When you change your sheets, you can hang your pillows outside on a sunny day. Your foam and synthetic pillows can also be put in the washing machine and you should do this about every six months. They need to be dried thoroughly so make sure to dry them for at least an hour on medium heat. Pillows that are still damp inside can become moldy. Down pillows should be hand washed only and thoroughly rung out. They should also be dried on medium heat as well.
Your mattress should be cleaned twice a year as well. We spend about 1/3 of our lives in bed and our mattresses are not always given the attention they need. Make sure to read the label on your mattress for any specific instructions specific to that brand. The first thing you will want to do it use your vacuum upholstery attachment to thoroughly vacuum both sides of your mattress. A standard vacuum should do the trick, but if you’re really hard core then you may want to go with a Dyson. After vacuuming, dump a box of baking soda on your mattress and let it sit for as long as possible (24 hours would be ideal) and then vacuum it off. Now sleep tight!
Washing Machine Cleaning
You would think that this contraption would be self-cleaning! You add soap and water and it does the job for you right? Wrong! Some the gunk from your clothes, towels and sheets collects on the walls of your washing machine. It also remains damp when you finish a wash and close the door. It’s a great idea to freshen up the washing machine by washing it down with a little lavender oil or use some vinegar for a cleaning that is far overdue.
Dirty Door Handles
We are all grossed out by the prospect of touching a door handle in a public restroom, but we give the door handles at home far less consideration. I admit this occurred to me when my son used his hand as a tissue on the way out the door! I assume this wasn’t an isolated incident and I started cleaning all the door handles in our home on a regular basis. A mixture of vinegar and water works well for everyday cleaning and the knobs can get the same treatment. However, during cold and flu season I like to use OnGuard essential oil from DoTerra, but Tea Tree Oil will also do the trick.
My couch is really nasty! It’s probably my fault for letting my kids snack on the couch but Big Bang Theory really isn’t the same without cheddar bunnies and wasabi peas. Having two dogs doesn’t help in keeping the couch clean either, as two wet dogs run in from playing in the snow and beeline for the couch. So along with the occasional loose change, I find a ton of crumbs wrapped neatly in a ball of dust and dog hair. Luckily, I have leather couches that can just be wiped down. If you have fabric upholstery, you may need a natural spot cleaner for the occasional spill or muddy paw. I like to use the skinny tool on the vacuum cleaner to get into the cracks and crevices between the cushions. The couch is a breeding ground for allergy causing dust and should be given a once over whenever you do your regular vacuuming. Also, it’s helpful to put down a blanket to ward off the mess caused by kids and pets. That way you can simply throw it in the washing machine.
Does anything really need to be said about this? Sponges get really nasty very quickly and are a breeding ground for bacteria. I throw my kitchen sponge in the wash whenever I clean my kitchen towels and always have one or two sponges on deck. When I feel that a sponge has overstayed its welcome, it usually gets demoted to a toilet scrubber before being tossed in the trash.
That handy little catcher in the drain is great for collecting food that you don’t want to clog your drain. However, it basically grosses me out and needs to be washed down often. Every once in a while, I like to toss it in the dishwasher on the top shelf to get it extra clean.
Winning The Battle On Dirt
It’s important to remember those hidden areas or forgotten spots when doing your cleaning. From our mattresses to our sponges, there is dirt and bacteria accumulating in our homes. One helpful tip is to add infrequent tasks such as mattress cleaning to your calendar or simply do this deep cleaning when you change your batteries in your smoke alarms, which is usually when we change our clocks. Happy Scrubbing!!!