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Cleaning the dirtiest things in your home

Where does the murk lurk in your house? The dirtiest things in your house might seem obvious, but grime and bacteria sometimes lurk in unexpected places. Here’s where to look – and what you should be cleaning.

1. Kitchen sponge

Yes, the very thing you use to clean other things is often teeming with grime itself. The Global Hygiene Council found that an average of 19.6 billion bacteria live in kitchen sponges in British homes. You might not want to think about that too much! The good news is that it’s easy to send those 19.6 billion bacteria on their merry way.

How to clean: Just pop the sponge into the dishwasher or washing machine, or give it a scrub with hot soapy water yourself. You could also put it in the microwave on high for a minute or two – and while you’re at it, it’s a good idea to to stick in any other sponges or cloths you use to clean regularly too (bathroom sponges and flannels come in a close second as bacteria parties).

2. Mobile phone

It makes sense really, your phone goes everywhere you do and you quite possibly touch it more often than any other object. Researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Queen Mary, University of London found that one in six mobiles is contaminated by — look away now if you’re squeamish — fecal matter.

How to clean: a quick swipe with a disinfectant wipe should do the trick.

3. Fridge – inside and out

You store uncooked food in your fridge, so it’s important to make sure that everything is in a sealed container, and give the fridge a good clean once a week. Don’t forget the outside – the Global Hygiene Council found no less than 217,000 bacteria living on fridge door handles in the average British home.

How to clean: Make sure you clean the inside and outside of your fridge with warm soapy water or an anti-bacterial spray.

4. Washing machine

Did you know you should always wash your hands after removing clothes from the machine? All the dirt and grime from cleaning your clothes has to go somewhere, and some of it ends up in the machine itself.

How to clean: Run a small, hot white load and add some bleach. It’s also worthwhile leaving the door open for a little while after removing a load to let it air out.

5. Bathroom walls and toilet base

Okay, this one probably wasn’t too surprising. If you have small children – or men – in your house, there’s a good chance that the area around the toilet will need some disinfectant TLC.

How to clean: Wipe the area down using hot water with a few splashes of vinegar to deodorise the area too.