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Things you need to clean more than you do

We’ve all heard those dire warnings about how we would be better off licking a toilet seat than our mobile phone – and unfortunately they are true.

Toilet seats are generally cleaned much more often than phones, and aren’t carried through public transport, schools and doctor’s surgeries. In 2013, researchers found that mobile phone screens had up to 140 units per swab of staphylococcus (also known as staph, the bacteria can cause severe stomach sickness).

If that charming thought didn’t put you off your lunch (or certainly off your mobile phone), here are a few more items lurking in your home that could do with a jolly good clean.

The remote control

A study at the University of Virginia revealed that ” the remote control’s surface is among the germiest”.

Snacking while watching TV is the main culprit for getting food particles on the remote that love to bloom into bacteria as you channel surf. Plus, many of us come home and switch on the TV before we wash our hands, so all the germs from the tube home and everywhere else we have been that day are neatly transferred.

Take a damp cloth spritzed with disinfectant, and make sure to scrub between the buttons.

On the same note, tablets, Kindles and keyboards could all use the same treatment!

The dishwasher and washing machine

Seems counterproductive to wash things used for washing, right? With all the hard work you put it through, gunk can clog up the parts of both machines and shorten their lifespan. A quick cycle using vinegar and baking soda instead of detergent will keep them cleaning happily for many years to come.


You might try to avoid shaking hands with someone who has a cold, but how many people with viruses and stomach flus have opened the same door as you? It’s a good practice to wipe doorknobs down with disinfectant whenever you are cleaning surfaces.

Duvet and pillows

We generally wash our bed clothes regularly, but washing the pillows and duvet themselves from time to time (ideally every three months) will get rid of the most stubborn dust mites and skin cells that seep through linen.

Check the labels first – some feather and down fillings may need to be dry cleaned, and larger duvets that don’t fit in your washing machine may also need the services of a professional.

If you can use your own washing machine, make sure the load is balanced to avoid your machine rattling like an angry Dalek. Use a normal spin cycle and air dry outside if possible.

It’s worthwhile running an iron over them once they are dry to kill off any last bacteria particles.