Are You Cleaning Often Enough?

28 Mar 20184 min read

There are millions of bacteria living on the surface of everything you touch. No matter how hard you clean, you'll never get rid of them all. In fact, being exposed to some bacteria is good for our immune systems. However, there are lots of everyday items we forget to clean, or don't realise are such magnets for the kind of bacteria that can make you sick.

Chore blimey!

In a study from cleaning experts Jeyes, Brits were found to spend an average of just under 3 hours per day carrying out household chores. The study also found that;

  • Only 47% say they clean regularly
  • 64% of Brits only clean when the house seems dirty or messy
  • 84% make more effort when they are expecting a visitor
  • 62% voted cleaning the oven as the most disliked chore

In your bed, between the buttons of your TV remote and even on your mobile phone - these places can contain common but dangerous germs that can cause you to become ill.

Common household germs that can make you sick

  • Staphylococcus aureus, or staph
  • Yeast and mould
  • Salmonella
  • Escherichia coli, or E. coli
  • Faecal matter

Even if you do wipe something down, are you cleaning it properly, or just skimming over the surface?

If you're starting to itch, don't worry. Here's our guide to when you should clean and exactly how to clean some of the items you use on a daily basis.

An infographic about the household items you should clean once a week or more.

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Clean once a week or more

If you’re a fan of contouring, highlighting or any other make up trend, then you should be familiar with a set of make up brushes. One trend you need to be aware of is to clean any brushes you use with liquid make up, such as foundation and concealer, at least once a week. Mark it in your diary if you have to, but don’t forget! Because among the nasty bacteria that can live in the bristles or on a sponge is streptococcus. This can cause strep throat, scarlet fever and impetigo as well as any number of skin irritations. So, if you suffer from acne, pimples or outbreaks of spots, your make up brushes could be the cause.

Prying a favourite toy out of the arms of a toddler might be a struggle, but soft and cuddly toys are a breeding ground. From dust mites and bed bugs to oral bacteria, they’re the perfect home for germs. If the toy is delicate or old, machine washing might not be an option, but for dust mites and bed bugs, you can pop it in the freezer for a few hours, ideally overnight and the cold will kill them.

An infographic about household items you should clean once a month or more.

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Clean once a month or more

Mobile phones can carry a build-up of bacteria and make up. If you notice you’re getting spots in the area where you hold your phone to your face, there’s a strong chance this is caused by the bacteria from your phone getting onto your skin.

Wash the surface of phones with an anti-bacterial wipe once a week and if they have buttons use a tooth pick to get between them.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a washing machine or dishwasher doesn’t need much washing itself. It’s filled with cleaning liquids and water all the time, so it can’t be that dirty, right? Wrong.

A dishwasher can contain E.coli and pathogens linked to infections of the urinary tract and skin. They likely enter the dishwasher via tap water and contaminated food. The best way to rid your dishwasher of these germs is to let it cool before opening the door and wiping the rubber seal, where microbes often lurk.

To rise the inside fully, place a cup of vinegar in a container on the upper rack of the machine and run through a hot water cycle. This will not only wash away grease and dirt but remove musty smells too. You can do the same with your washing machine.

An infographic about the household items you should clean every one to six months or more.

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Clean between one - six months or more

Your mattress is quite a big purchase and if you treat it well, should last you for years. There are things you can do to keep your mattress fresh on a daily basis, but to get the most from it, you should be turning it once every six months. A full spring clean of your mattress is advised. You’ll need a completely new mattress every 7 years. Read more in our guide on when to change your mattress.

Your toothbrush or toothbrush head should be changed every 3-6 months. It’s not just because the bristles wear down. The brush will hold millions of oral bacteria. In between changes, make sure it’s exposed to the air, so the bristles can dry properly but also store it away from the toilet. Did you know that when you flush the toilet chain and don’t put the lid down first, particles of toilet water, including faecal matter can spray up to 6 feet? You don’t want that on your toothbrush.

A clean country

When it comes to housework, a YouGov survey found that the Brits are perhaps not as clean a nation as we like to think we are. They found;

  • Just 27% of British people enjoy hoovering.
  • Only 22% enjoy doing the laundry and washing up and only 25% of people enjoy cleaning the house.
  • 44% enjoy tidying and organising.
  • The average Brit spends 32 minutes less on cleaning their house each week compared to 2014. This amounts to 28 hours less cleaning time a year.
  • 76% of Brits believe cleaning is important to their health of their family.

Many people believe the bathroom to be the most germ-ridden room in their home, but in fact it’s the kitchen. Contamination from raw food and bacteria from out of date food quickly multiplies when surfaces aren't washed properly and spreads through the use of dishcloths or sponges.

We’ll leave you with this shocking statistic from the Global Hygiene Council: Your dish cloth is most likely dirtier than your toilet flush handle or button.

Happy cleaning!