How to rid your home of sick­ness-caus­ing germs

The Tribune (SLO) (Sunday) - - Living - By Paul F.P. Pogue ANGIE’S LIST (TNS)

In the cold and flu sea­son, it’s more im­por­tant than ever to min­i­mize germs that could make you and your fam­ily sick. Fo­cus on these steps when you’re house­clean­ing in or­der to elim­i­nate the nasty bugs tak­ing refuge in your home.

WHERE ARE THE GERMS HID­ING?

You’ll find germs in the most un­ex­pected places. When clean­ing, fo­cus on the el­e­ments you touch most of­ten. Light switches, door­knobs, re­mote con­trols and faucet han­dles all har­bor lots of germs, so clean them care­fully with dis­in­fec­tant wipes. Wash all your bed­ding in hot wa­ter and the hottest dryer set­ting once per week. This in­cludes blan­kets and fur­ni­ture cov­ers.

Reg­u­larly clean your com­puter key­board and any mo­bile de­vices as well.

If you use a hu­mid­i­fier, clean it reg­u­larly. They pro­vide ex­cel­lent breed­ing grounds for bac­te­ria.

Tooth­brush hold­ers, the kitchen sink and sponges are some of the ger­mi­est places in your home, so take spe­cial care to thor­oughly clean them. Soak sponges in a bowl of hot wa­ter and run them through the mi­crowave for a few min­utes. You can also run them through your dish­washer’s san­i­tary cy­cle in­stead. This works best for sponges with metal com­po­nents, which can’t go in the mi­crowave.

Wash your hands reg­u­larly, us­ing soap and warm wa­ter and scrub­bing for at least 15 sec­onds.

When house­clean­ing, don’t over­look your ceil­ing fan, where dust and de­bris can set­tle. Here’s an easy trick to clean it: slide an old pil­low case over each blade, then re­move it care­fully to avoid spilling the dust.

WHO CLEANS THE CLEAN­ERS?

Even if you dili­gently stay on top of house­hold clean­ing, the sup­plies you use aren’t self-clean­ing, and they need reg­u­lar care to stay in good shape. You may think of them as self­clean­ing, since they’re con­stantly doused in soap or clean­ing so­lu­tion, but the grime builds up quickly. Scrub­bing down your clean­ing sup­plies on a reg­u­lar ba­sis keeps your house cleaner and pre­vents the spread of germs.

Clean your brooms at least once per month. Shake out de­bris over a trash can and rinse them thor­oughly. Let them soak in a bucket with a bleach and wa­ter so­lu­tion for about 20 min­utes, then rinse and dry. Take care not to soak wood han­dles, though.

That nasty toi­let brush should be soaked in a quart of wa­ter mixed with two cups of vine­gar, a ta­ble­spoon of bo­rax and a half-tea­spoon of dish soap. Make sure you re­place it ev­ery four to six months.

Mop­ping pads and clean­ing cloths can be cleaned with a quick run through the wash­ing ma­chine’s hottest set­ting.

You no doubt empty your vac­uum’s cham­ber ev­ery time you use it, but all those mov­ing parts re­quire at­ten­tion as well. Reg­u­larly in­spect your fil­ters and re­place them as needed. Check the hose, mov­ing parts and spin­ning head for hair and string and clear it out. At least twice a year, wash the hard at­tach­ments in soapy wa­ter.

Paul F. P. Pogue is a re­porter for Angie’ s List, a trusted provider of lo­cal con­sumer re­views and an on­line mar­ket­place of ser­vices from toprat­ed­providers.VisitAngiesList.com.

Dream­stime/TNS

Door­knobs tend to har­bor dirt and germs, so give them spe­cial at­ten­tion when clean­ing.

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