I like to think that I know a fair bit about cleaning; after all, I’ve spent plenty of years earning my stripes with cleaning services. New York City can be a pretty dirty place, but like most people, I do my best to keep my home neat and clean (though having two young boys in the house can make that a challenge!). But even I’m not always perfect, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s occasionally overlooked something that really could have used a good scrubbing sooner. You might think it’s not a big deal, but the little things you forget to clean can actually come back to haunt you, making you sick. Here are some reminders for you: Have you cleaned these things lately?
We use the towels in our kitchen every day to dry our clean dishes, but we don’t always clean the towels themselves as frequently as we should. And since these towels are often damp, they make a great breeding ground for germs. To keep yourself healthy and your dishes perfectly clean, make sure to hang your dish towels up so they dry thoroughly after each use. Also, don’t keep using the same towel day after day: Throw it in the washer every day or so and switch to a fresh, clean one.
I’m pretty sure this one is everyone’s guilty secret: You buy groceries and shove them in the fridge, and as you do, those old containers and half-eaten leftovers get pushed farther and farther toward the back, turning into science experiments instead of food. And even the good stuff you just bought can make your fridge filthy if it happens to leak or spill. The fridge can easily turn into a happy home for mold and bacteria if you’re not careful. Make sure to keep on top of things to prevent someone from getting sick. Every month or so, take everything out of the fridge, throw out all of the bad stuff, then before you put the fresh food back, scrub the inside of the fridge thoroughly with either your favorite all-purpose cleaner, hot water and dish soap, or a tablespoon of baking soda dissolved in a quart of water.
Taking your own canvas bags to the grocery store can help save the environment, but if you’re not careful, it can be bad for your health. Loading up those bags with groceries week after week can leave behind residues from food and packaging that are laden with germs, especially if those bags had carried meat or dairy. To keep from toting bacteria along with your purchases, throw your canvas bags in the washer once a week. Also, make sure that when you buy germy things like meats and fish, you get them wrapped or even double wrapped in plastic, so they don’t leak onto your bags and your other groceries.
The Ceiling Fan
Look up: What do you see? If you’re in a room that has a ceiling fan, the answer might very well be “allergens.” After all, when’s the last time you dusted the blades of your ceiling fan? It can be a pain to do, and since you can’t see the tops of the blades, it’s easy not to think about them. But keeping them clean doesn’t have to be a horrible chore if you’ve got a spare pillowcase around. Simply pull over a stepladder to get up close to the fan, put the pillowcase over one of the blades, then drag it toward you to pull the dust off of the blade and collect it inside the pillowcase. Repeat with each blade and you’ll have a clean, dust-free fan in no time.
Your Favorite Coffee Mug
Here’s a spot at the office you might not have thought of. Do you drink your morning coffee out of the same mug every day? If so, you might be drinking more than just cream and sugar with your coffee. Office coffee mugs can get pretty disgusting, and it’s easy to get busy at work and forget to clean yours. But even if you did give it a good scrubbing in the office kitchen, that’s not always the best idea. The sponge you used was used by everyone else in your office, and it sits there by the sink damp all day, breeding germs. To get your mug truly clean, take it home every day and run it through the dishwasher.
To keep your spaces looking like you hired professional cleaning services, New York City residents should take a top-to-bottom approach to cleaning, like the pros do. When you clean any space, whether it’s a room of your home or your office cubicle, start at the top and work your way downward, turning around in every direction and running your eyes around the space every once in a while as you work to make sure that you don’t miss a spot. There are so many places where germs can be hiding, and they’re not always the biggest, most obviously visible spots. If you’ve overlooked one of these frequently forgotten areas until now, don’t beat yourself up about it; just take care of it now, and you’ll be on your way to a cleaner, healthier living space.