Scrubbing the burnt food that’s caked on the bottom of the oven and the grease covering the oven door is possibly the least appetizing item on a house cleaning to-do list. Oliver notes that the temperatures in the oven get so hot that bacteria have no hope of surviving, but germs aren’t the only reason to get the scouring pads out.
“Nothing ruins a delicately flavored meal like something that burns in the bottom of the oven,” says Oliver. “You end up with cupcakes that taste like char.”
A dirty stove can also cause a grease fire.
Your oven’s self-cleaning feature is a good default setting, but nothing equates to the effectiveness of old-fashioned elbow grease. Oven cleaners often contain harsh chemicals. Lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar can do the job without the smell of chemicals affecting the next meal you cook.
3. Ceiling fan blades
Turning on the ceiling fan can provide a cool breeze on a hot, humid afternoon, but it will also scatter the dust and pollen that has built up on the fan blades. Cue the runny nose and sneeze.
“Ceiling fans cause problems by increasing the spread of allergens in the air,” says Dr. Hugh H. Windom, allergist and founder of Windom Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Specialists in Sarasota, Florida.
Wipe the ceiling fan blades with a damp cloth to make sure your allergies don’t flare up every time you turn on the ceiling fan.
4. Reusable shopping bags
Admit it: the bags you throw in your suitcase after every shopping spree have never seen the inside of the washing machine. These bags, which are often used and never cleaned, are breeding grounds for bacteria. In one test, the number of bacteria multiplied tenfold when a reusable bag of leaked meat juice was left in the trunk of a car for two hours.
“We found more E. coli and feces in a lot of these reusable bags than in your underwear,” says Charles P. Gerba, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona. Carrying raw meat products and raw vegetables, you could easily make a salmonella salad . “
Gerba suggests sticking to cloth bags that can be washed and tossing them in the machine after each use (washing in hot water). It’s also a good idea to label separate bags for meat and products.
5. Dryer vent
They know that a clogged fluff filter is a fire hazard, so remove it after each load. But when was the last time you cleaned the dryer vent? Lint can also get caught in the vent that leads from your dryer to the outside of the house. If you don’t clean them, it causes $ 35 million in burn losses every year.
Use a thin brush with a long handle to remove lint from the air vents (or let a professional do the job). The good news: it only needs to be done every three months.
Although the average person changes their sheets every 24 days, they most likely ignore their mattresses. A 2018 study published in the Royal Society Open Science compared the numbers of bacteria found in chimpanzee beds to the numbers in human beds. Our primate relatives made for a cleaner sleeping environment. Only 3.5 percent of the bacteria came from skin, saliva, and feces, compared to 35 percent in human beds.
To clean your mattress, take off the sheets and vacuum the entire mattress. Pay particular attention to the crevices where dirt and dust can collect. Use a stain remover to treat stains on the spot. Sprinkle baking soda on the mattress to deodorize it and vacuum again to remove the baking soda. Plan to repeat the entire process every six months.
7. Kitchen sponge
Your kitchen sponge may be dirtier than the surfaces you are trying to clean. In a study, the researchers found 309 different types of bacteria, from Salmonella to Listeria, on kitchen sponges. The concentrations were up to 45 billion bacteria per square centimeter.
“Bacteria grow in large numbers because [sponges] are moist and always take in food that bacteria can feed on, ”explains Gerba.
Sticking a sponge in the microwave can kill bacteria. However, it may be better to replace the germinated kitchen sponge regularly. Research has shown that the strongest bacteria can survive the microwave and your sponge will be smelly and germier than ever before.
According to Gerba, the number of bacteria is highest after three days. Then replace your old kitchen sponge with a new one.
Nobody wants to spend more time cleaning, but the extra effort will leave you with a healthier home.
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