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Do You Need to Clean Your Cleaning Supplies?

Someone wrings out a sponge.
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Cleaning supplies are essential for keeping our homes clean and hygienic. These tools are designed to remove dirt, dust, and bacteria from surfaces, making our living spaces safer and healthier. But have you ever stopped to consider whether your cleaning supplies themselves need to be cleaned? Here’s what the experts have to say.

Do You Need to Clean Your Cleaning Supplies?

Someone cleans a washing machine

Yes, you need to clean your cleaning supplies, says Vera Peterson, President of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company. Cleaning supplies can become breeding grounds for bacteria and other germs, which can lead to cross-contamination and the spread of harmful pathogens.

“Cleaning supplies retain the dirt, bacteria, and other debris you cleaned up which means the supplies will need to be cleaned as well,” said Peterson.

Scotch-Brite Non-Scratch Scrub Sponges

A kitchen cleaning must-have.

Sponges and cloths used to clean surfaces like kitchen counters or bathroom sinks, for example, can harbor harmful bacteria that can make you sick if they come into contact with your food or mouth. Vacuum cleaners, dusters, and brooms can also accumulate dirt and debris over time, which can reduce their effectiveness at cleaning and even cause them to spread more dirt and dust around your home.

Probably maintaining your cleaning supplies will help them last longer and do their jobs better.

How Do You Know When to Clean Your Supplies?

Someone holds a bucket of cleaning supplies
Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

The frequency with which you should clean your cleaning supplies depends on the type of supply and how often you use them. For example, if you use a vacuum cleaner daily, you may need to clean the filter and dustbin more frequently than if you only use it once a week. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to clean your cleaning supplies at least once a month, but more often if you use them frequently.

Peterson also pointed out that your cleaning supplies will stop working as well if they are dirty. If your duster is having issues picking up dust, for example, it needs to be cleaned in order to continue cleaning everything else efficiently.

Swiffer 360 Dusters Extendable Handle Starter Kit

Disposable dusters don't need to be cleaned.

How to Clean Your Cleaning Supplies

Someone squeezes a sponge

We’ve established that yes, you do need to clean your cleaning supplies regularly. Here’s how to do it.

Vacuum Cleaner

Someone uses a vacuum

To clean a vacuum cleaner, start by unplugging it and removing the dustbin or bag. Empty the contents into a trash bag, then wipe down the dustbin or bag with a damp cloth.

Use a small brush or toothbrush to clean the filter, and replace it if it’s damaged or excessively dirty. Finally, wipe down the outside of the vacuum cleaner with a damp cloth and allow it to dry completely before using it again.

Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

Great for cleaning pretty much everything.


Someone squeezes a sponge
Kryuchka Yaroslav/Shutterstock.com

Sponges are notorious for harboring bacteria, so it’s important to clean them regularly. To clean a sponge, rinse it thoroughly with hot water, then microwave it on high for 30 seconds to kill any remaining bacteria.

If you don’t want to microwave it, you can soak the sponge in a solution of water and bleach for a few minutes before rinsing it thoroughly and allowing it to dry. You can even run a sponge through the dishwasher for super simple cleaning.

Peterson also pointed out that if your sponge has a funky odor that won’t go away, it’s time to replace it with a new one.

Leanne Stapf, COO of The Cleaning Authority, says that you should avoid using bleach and fabric softeners when washing anything that contains microfiber materials, as these can destroy the fibers. Stick to using a mild detergent when washing these materials.

MR.SIGA Non-Scratch Cellulose Scrub Sponge

Enjoy streak-free cleaning with this 12-pack of odor-eliminating sponges.


Using a duster

To clean a duster, start by shaking it outside to remove any loose dust and debris, says Peterson. Then, soak it in a solution of warm water and dish soap for a few minutes before rinsing it thoroughly and allowing it to air dry.

If you don’t want to worry about cleaning your duster, you may want to consider buying disposable ones instead. These are easy to find and take the hassle out of cleaning.

Microfiber Duster

This mini detachable microfiber head can be used wet or dry, and is machine or hand washable

Washing Machine

A washing machine
Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com

Cleaning your washing machine regularly can help prevent the buildup of dirt, mold, and mildew, which can affect its performance and cause unpleasant odors. Stapf recommends cleaning your washing machine every couple of months.

To clean it, fill your washing machine with hot water and add a cup of white vinegar to the water. Run the washing machine through a complete cycle, using the hottest water setting. Once the cycle is complete, leave the lid or door open to allow the washing machine to air out and dry completely. For front-loading machines, be sure to clean the rubber seal around the door, as this area can trap moisture and harbor bacteria.

Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner

Helps remove odor-causing residues and grime.


A woman using a broom
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

To clean a broom, use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe down the bristles, then rinse them thoroughly with hot water. For extra cleaning power, you can soak the bristles in a solution of water and mild detergent before rinsing them again and allowing them to air dry.

Outdoor/Indoor Broom

Every house needs a good broom.


Someone uses a mop
Diego Cervo/Shutterstock.com

To clean a mop, start by removing the mop head and soaking it in a solution of warm water and mild detergent for a few minutes. Rinse the mop head thoroughly, then hang it up to dry in a well-ventilated area.

“Do not store away until all of the fibers in the mop head are dry,” said Peterson.

A damp mop head can harbor bacteria and mold. Make sure your mop is completely dry before storing it.

O-Cedar EasyWring RinseClean Microfiber Spin Mop

Easy to use and suitable for all hard floors.

Taking the time to clean your cleaning supplies is a small but important step toward maintaining a clean and healthy home. By following these tips, you can get the most out of your cleaning supplies.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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