11 items you’re probably not cleaning but should
CLEANING is a chore. It's time consuming but necessary, and both annoying and satisfying at the same time.
I hate to tell you, but there are a lot of things you're not cleaning or washing, but should be. Just when you didn't need any more Sunday jobs, right?
Granted, your mobile phone isn't exactly washable. But it is wipeable.
The average phone has 18 times more bacteria on it than a toilet seat and most phones also have faecal matter on them - which then gets transferred to your face.
Antibacterial wipes are too abrasive for phones so instead use a sunglasses cleaner and microfibre cloth.
I asked my barber how many of her customers have visible earwax, given that she looks directly into ear canals all day long. She replied "a lot" with a pretty perturbed look.
There are some dangers to over-cleaning your ears - don't shove things all the way down your ear canal - but you can clean your ears gently.
THE BOTTOM OF YOUR BAG
Think about where your handbag or gym bag gets placed throughout your day: in lockers that are never cleaned; on the carpet in your office; on public transport floors.
Then, when you get home, you might put it on your kitchen counter, your sofa, or even your bed. Pretty nasty, right?
YOUR GYM SHOES
Did you know you can put sneakers in the washing machine? Your gym shoes need a wash, stat. Their absorbent nature makes them mop-like.
They're covered not just in your dirt and sweat, but the dirt and sweat of so many others from your gym.
YOUR PILLOW CASES
We've heard that we should be washing our pillows and duvet inners, but few people wash their pillow cases enough for hygienic skincare.
While your sheets only need to be washed once a week, your pillowcases should be changed every two nights to prevent dead skin cells, hair product residue, and bacteria being reapplied to your face, which can cause breakouts.
YOUR SMARTWATCH/ FITNESS TRACKER
Again we're faced with the uncleaned sweat problem, this time with smartwatches and fitness/activity trackers.
They need to be cleaned as frequently as every item of clothing you wear while exercising, because they spend their lives rubbing directly on the skin.
For rubber-strapped smartwatches and fitness trackers, dish soap and a bit of hot water should safely and efficiency clean the wristbands.
YOUR VACUUM FILTER
Notice your vacuum isn't sucking up dirt with as much force as it once did? It's probably because you never clean your filter.
This is the removable, spongelike part of the vacuum that sits between the hose and the bag (or bagless canister) where dirt is collected.
YOUR CAR'S STEERING WHEEL
When you're out and about, touching everything from supermarket trolleys to EFTPOS machine keypads, your hands are getting dirty.
You'll often wash them when you get home, but miss a crucial step in preventing germs from spreading - you never wipe down your car's steering wheel.
Unless you use hand sanitiser all day long, the steering wheel's porous fibres will be clogged with gross stuff from the outside world, which is then put back onto your hands every time you drive anywhere.
YOUR HOME'S DOOR LOCKS AND KEYS
Have you ever thrown a bit of disinfectant spray and a cloth on your house's front door locks, or the keys you carry around with you? You probably should.
Everything from the knobs and the deadbolts in your home to individual keys and garage door openers get touched by dirty hands multiple times a day.
YOUR TOOTHBRUSH HOLDER AND SOAP DISPENSER
Scientists at the US's National Sanitisation Foundation have found that your toothbrush holder is probably the dirtiest place in your whole bathroom.
In fact, 27 per cent of household toothbrush holders contain bacteria that can make you sick, like staphylococcus and E. coli.
What's more, your soap dispenser - you know, the thing you touch with filthy hands and never clean - also needs a good scrub in hot, soapy water.
This article originally appeared on The New Zealand Herald.