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The 8 Things You Didn’t Know You Should Be Cleaning


Most of us understand the importance of regular cleaning around the house. It’s easy to tackle the basics like sweeping your floors and wiping off countertops. Don’t forget to scrub the toilets and sinks. But, there are some things in your home that you might not know you should be cleaning.

Let’s cover a few of those items that you’re probably not cleaning, but should be. Because some unexpected cleaning tasks might surprise you—or gross you out.


Remote controls make life convenient. Whether you use one for the TV, thermostat, fan, or any other feature in your smart house, it’s nice to be able to press a button and bring a device to life.

But, think about how often you’re pressing those buttons, and how dirty your hands are. One study found that your TV remote might be 20 times dirtier than your toilet. Depending on the type of bacteria lingering on the devices, you could put yourself at risk for anything from the common cold to a staph infection every time you pick one up.

Thankfully, cleaning your remote is easy. Take an alcohol-based wipe (at least 70% alcohol!) and swipe it over every inch of the device, including in between the buttons. Allow it to dry completely, and you’re good to go. Do that at least once or twice a week to keep bacteria at bay.

TV Remote Control Holder with 5 Compartments

Keep your remote controls organized after cleaning.


A woman fluffs a pillow.

It might be difficult to have a restful night’s sleep when you realize your pillows are housing dead skin cells and sweat. If you don’t clean your pillow, it can accumulate some pretty gnarly things like dust bites.

Before washing your pillows, check the care label to find out if they’re machine washable. If they are, follow any instructions, but in general, you can toss them in the machine every three months on a gentle cycle, with a clear detergent, and wash them with hot water. That will help to remove dead skin cells and any unwanted “guests” that might be making your pillow their home.

Once they’re washed, you can dry them, but if you want to keep your pillow from getting clumpy as it dries, throw a couple of tennis balls in the dryer (or dryer balls). They’ll help to fluff the pillows as they tumble. Of course, you can always line-dry them as well.

Wool Dryer Balls

Keep items fluffy and soft by using dryer balls.

Door Knobs and Door Handles

If you thought you touched your remotes frequently, think about how much more your hand grips door knobs and handles throughout your home each day.

The same principle for remotes applies to them. Door knobs can be breeding grounds for harmful bacteria because of how often they get touched each day. Plus, if you live with family members or roommates, you’re not the only one touching them, and you don’t know what other people might have lingering on their skin.

Use an alcohol-based cleaner or doorknobs and door handles every day, if possible. You can also use disinfecting cleaners and sanitizing wipes—just be sure to let the cleaner sit. Allowing it time to work is how sanitization happens.

Method Antibacterial All-Purpose Cleaner Spray

All purpose cleaners are a cleaning supply must-have.

Garbage Disposal

Someone puts baking soda in the sink to clean
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

Unfortunately, too many people wait until there’s a stink in the sink to clean their garbage disposal. It’s something that should be cleaned and freshened up regularly to prevent bad smells and the risk of bacterial growth.

To quickly clean your disposal, try putting a few spoonfuls of baking soda down the drain, and then adding a cup of distilled vinegar. Let the mixture bubble for a few minutes, before flushing with hot water.

To keep your garbage disposal fresh and free of nasty smells, try pulverizing citrus peels with it once or twice a week.

Affresh Garbage Disposal Cleaner

You can always purchase specific garbage disposal cleaner.

Trash Cans


Most of us recognize that trash cans probably aren’t the cleanest items in our homes, but when was the last time you actually cleaned one? It’s alright, I cringed when I thought about it, too.

There can be more than 400 different types of germs lurking in your trash can at any given time thanks to particles seeping through from bags. Plus, leftover food, debris, and leakage can lead to a nasty smell. No one wants that in their home.

To keep your trash can clean, every time you change out a trash bag, give the can a quick spray with disinfectant and wipe it down. Then, about once a month, do a deeper cleaning of the can by using bleach diluted with water to disinfect. When finished, follow up with dish soap and water, rinse, and allow it to dry.

Amazon Basics 5 Liter Trash Can

In case your trash can is just too far gone.

Toothbrush Holder

Colorful toothbrushes sit in a clear glass.

Your toothbrush is something you use every day to keep your mouth clean, but have you ever considered how dirty it might be thanks to where you’re storing it? A 2011 study by NSF International discovered that 64% of toothbrush holders were growing mold or yeast.

That’s worse than most toilet seats.

The easiest way to clean a toothbrush holder is to toss it in the dishwasher at least once a month, if not more often. That will help to get rid of any gunk while disinfecting the holder so your toothbrushes stay clean.

GFWARE Toothbrush Holders for Bathrooms

Start fresh with this sleek marble toothbrush holder.

Microwave Filters

Microwaves make cooking quick, convenient, and easy. You probably use yours several times a week to heat up food, make some popcorn, or cook frozen meals. While it’s easy to tell when the inside of your microwave needs cleaning (especially after that jar of spaghetti sauce exploded everywhere), you might not clean the filter and grease trap as often.

Unfortunately, if you don’t change or clean that filter regularly, you’ll start to see more grease stains on the walls and cabinets around your microwave. Your exhaust fan will also become less efficient, and the filter itself will develop a gunky, sticky residue.

According to Maytag, the best way to clean a microwave filter is to submerge it in a container of hot water and dish soap for 10 minutes (or longer) and wipe it clean.

Spardar Angry Mama Microwave Oven Steam Cleaner

Keep your microwave's interior clean with this handy gadget.

Light Switches

A person flips a light switch.
Steve Cukrov/Shutterstock.com

Like door knobs and remotes, light switches are something you probably touch dozens of times each day without thinking about it. Unfortunately, that’s what makes them breeding grounds for bacteria.

Again, if you live with other people, different germs are being implanted on those switches every time they get touched. When you go to turn the light on or off again, those germs could transfer to your hands and cause you to get sick—especially if you touch your face or mouth.

The easiest way to keep light switches clean is to dampen a cloth with your favorite disinfecting spray and wipe them down a couple of times each week.

If you haven’t been regularly cleaning these household items, you’re not alone. But, before you get too grossed out by the germs that might be lingering, focus on the good news. Most of these things are really easy to clean and will only take a few extra minutes to do so.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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