I'm the furthest thing from a germaphobe. In fact, I think that bacteria (at least the beneficial kind) is essential to the way people's bodies function and take care of themselves. That being said, replacing the germy items in your house is crucial for maintaining a clean and hygienic space.
When it comes to the dirtiest objects in your home, the answers aren't always obvious. Sure, everyone cringes at the idea of the toilet brush or the garbage, but according to Debbie Sardone, America's Top Cleaning business consultant and a leading expert in the cleaning industry, germs are often lurking in the places we consider to be safe and comfortable. Remote controls and cell phones are "some of the dirtiest things you can touch, so remember to wipe them down regularly," Sardone says. The same goes for handbags and pet areas.
When I asked her which household things people should replace most often, Sardone was more than willing to share her insights — as well as a few cool cleaning hacks, too. The best news: Oftentimes, when you go to replace your germiest items, there are options available that are even more sanitary than your last version, so things stay cleaner for longer.
1Replace The Obvious Things, Like Your Toilet Brush
"Toilet brushes get yucky and the bristles get flat over time," says Sardone. "Throw them out and get a new one when you discover the bristles are no longer standing at attention!" This Dip-San hygienic toilet brush is specifically made to be much more sanitary than your average brush. The holder has a special compartment that holds sanitizing liquid, and all you have to do is depress the handle to de-germ the brush.
2Kitchen Sponges Hold Onto And Transfer Bacteria
According to Sardone, "Your kitchen sponge will tell YOU when it's time to toss and replace. Give the sponge a little sniff, and if it smells sour, it's holding bacteria, time to toss." These five Feihe Creative antibacterial washing brushes are made from tear-resistant non-toxic silicone and can scrub away anything without scratching or damaging. "I wash mine right in the dishwasher," says one reviewer. "They come out really spotless, no leftover oil or bits."
3Sheets Retain Body Oil, Stains, And Odors
"Sheets wear out, too. If they aren't made of 100 percent cotton, you will notice over time they begin to 'pill,' making them feel scratchy and uncomfortable. Time for a new set," says Sardone. "Also, over time sheets begin to retain body oil, stains, and odors. If washing in hot water with a little white vinegar doesn't eliminate the odors, it might just be time to replace." People are loving these Cosy House bamboo bed sheets because they come in multiple different sizes and colors, feel ridiculously soft, lightweight, and breathable, are naturally antibacterial, and last way longer than cotton sheets. This set comes with a flat sheet, a fitted sheet, and two pillowcases.
4Don't Wait Until You Go To The Dentist To Get A New Toothbrush
When it comes to your toothbrush, Sardone says, "Don't wait 'til your next visit to the dentist. If you've been sick with colds and flu, toss the toothbrush and buy new ones!" These Rainboo bamboo toothbrushes are biodegradable, non-toxic and BPA-free, and tons of fun. They come in a set of five, make an awesome gift, and seriously help to brighten up your bathroom.
5Stop Putting Your Bag On The Floor
"The bottom of a woman's handbag can be germier than most toilet seats because women place them on the bathroom floor of public restrooms when no hook is provided!" says Sardone. "Never again plop your purse onto the kitchen table and clean the bottom occasionally with sanitizing wipes." I'm in love with this Clipa 2 handbag holder, because it opens and clips onto any surface (tabletops, bars, chairs, and car seats) to hold your bag up off the floor. It can hold up to 30 pounds, comes in tons of colors, and clips onto your purse when it's not in use.
6Avoid Cross Contamination With Your Wooden Cutting Boards
"Wood cutting boards need to be replaced every so often. They can retain bacteria and odors. Never use the same wood board for cutting meat as you use for cutting fruits and veggies," Sardone says. She recommends avoiding plastic and going with "marble, glass, or bamboo cutting boards." This bamboo cutting board set is made with crossed layers, so it's extremely durable and easy to clean. Because it comes with three different boards in three sizes, you can easily tell which one is for vegetables, which is for meat, and which is for everything else.
7Bamboo Dish Towels Are Much More Hygienic
"Bamboo dishtowels contain some antibacterial properties, and are soft, durable, and sustainable!" says Sardone. These bamboo dish towels are made with 100 percent organic materials, and because they're 75 percent bamboo, they're way softer, more absorbent, and more hygienic than dish towels made from anything else.
8Coffee Makers Are A Breeding Ground For Bacteria
"Coffee makers can be a breeding ground for bacteria due to the dark, moist, conditions," Sardone says. "To keep clean, run a 50/50 mixture of water and white vinegar through it once a month." When it's time to replace, this Hamilton Beach coffee maker is awesome because it can make a single cup or a full pot, reviewers say it's really simple to clean, and it's got cool features like a timer, automatic shut-off, and different brew strengths.
9Get A Super Absorbent Door Mat If You Have Pets
Pet areas are a challenge to keep clean, but Sardone suggests keeping a handy cordless vac nearby or grabbing the Swiffer on a daily basis. "Strategically place door mats at every door from the outside to help minimize the dirt and grass tracked in by the dogs," she says. This Dog Gone smart Dirty Dog doormat is specifically made for sopping wet dogs because it's got a ridiculously high absorption rate, a durable stitch, and a non-grip backing to stop skidding and sliding.
10Get A Reusable Water Bottle That's Hygienic And Easy To Clean
"Reusable plastic water bottles can contain a plethora of germs and bacteria including E. Coli," says Sardone. "Only use the wide mouth kind that can be carefully cleaned with a bottle brush, and soak once a week for two minutes in a watered down bleach solution." This purifyou premium glass water bottle is made from BPA-free glass with a wide mouth, so it's easy to clean and won't leach chemicals when you wash it, and it's got a silicon sleeve that both protects and insulates.
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