Best cleaning tips for spring

Spring is here and it’s time to dust down those shelves, mop that floor and even give your chopping boards a good inspection. Our best cleaning tips will make it super easy.

Spring cleaning isn’t all about making our homes completely bacteria-free. Good bugs are essential for good gut health and all the immune-boosting benefits they bring. But some, such as E.coli, can make us seriously unwell. Bacteria can multiply quickly and like environments that are warm, moist and supply them with nutrients – kitchen cloths for instance.

Here’s how to deal with our home’s dirtiest offenders, with some of the best cleaning tips to limit the spread of germs through our living spaces.

Cleaning the kitchen

How often should you change your kitchen sponge?

This item might be one of the dirtiest things in the home, and makes the transference of germs to our sparkling ‘clean’ favourite mugs super easy. Disinfect the sponge between uses and don’t leave it sitting in the wet – put it where it can air-dry. Change monthly.

When should tea towels be cleaned?

Want to do one thing right now to improve your home hygiene? Change your tea towel. We should all be doing this daily. One study identified tea towels as the most contaminated surface involved in food prep, and the author recommended avoiding using the same towel for every task in the kitchen.

How often should you clean your bin?  

There are no prizes for guessing the kitchen bin can be a germ hotspot. So when did you last clean yours? Make it once a week. Washing  with warm water and soap, then rinsing, is one way to clean, but can be tricky given a bin’s size. Disinfectant is another option. A foot-pedal design can help to avoid the spread of germs because you don’t need to touch the lid with your hands.

Are plastic chopping boards more hygienic?

Contrary to popular wisdom, research has found bacteria actually survives better on plastic boards than wooden ones. Whatever your preference, the important thing is to clean boards thoroughly after use, then dry them well. Using a separate board for raw food that needs cooking, such as chicken, and ready-to-eat food, like salad, can help avoid contamination.

Cleaning the bathroom

Aromatherapy-Oil-bath liz earle wellbeing

Should you close the lid before you flush a toilet?

Shut the lid before you flush to help stop germs, such as E. coli, being sprayed into the air, some say up to six feet! Is your toothbrush kept within the vicinity? It might be prudent to store it away from the loo, ideally in the bathroom cupboard.

When keeping up with regular (weekly) cleans, remember to disinfect the loo brush too. A good way to do this is to submerge the brush head in a little WC cleaner already in the toilet bowl for five minutes before flushing.

How often should you change bath towels?

There’s plenty of debate among microbiologists when it comes to how often we should wash our towels. Some argue we should wash them after three uses, while some suggest that we can easily get away with washing them every week or 10 days. Everyone agrees that the key to cutting down on laundry is to make sure every family member has their own towel, and to always hang all towels up between uses to fully dry.

Cleaning the bedroom

Liz asleep in bed

How often should you change your sheets?

Warmth from our body, moisture from sweat and food in the form of skin cells help make our bed sheets, duvets and pillows deliciously hospitable for dust mites, which can cause allergies. Allergy UK says to wash bedding that isn’t encased in barrier covers each week and that washing at 60°C or above will kill mites. Wash and dry clean duvets and pillows ideally every six months.

How do you clean light switches?

These (and remote controls) also crop up as contenders for dirtiest items, and are easily overlooked in favour of bigger items. Whip around them at least once a week. Use a microfibre cloth for light switches (so you’re not using liquid), and clean remote controls (such as TV, alarms, garage door etc.) with a wipe of mild diluted disinfectant.

Which temperature is best for laundry?

The NHS website advises that underwear, towels and household linen should be washed at a minimum of 40°C to help prevent germs from spreading. Other clothes should be OK on a low-temperature eco-setting.

Cleaning the office

Liz and the wellbeing team having lunch

How to clean a computer keyboard?

Tests have found that computer keyboards can harbor more germs that loo seats, among them bugs that could cause food poisoning. Poor hand hygiene and food dropped between the keys create a perfect storm, and sharing a keyboard with someone who is unwell could mean picking up their bugs. Turn off and unplug laptops, mice and keyboards, shake out dust and crumbs, and wipe using a damp cloth with diluted disinfectant regularly.

Should you clean your mobile phone?

When did you last really clean your mobile? Many phones make their way into the bathroom or public loos, and some of us scroll recipes as we cook in the kitchen. Germs on our mobiles won’t automatically make us ill, even if they are near our faces, but good phone hygiene is highly advisable and helps keep skin blemishes at bay. Keep your phone out of the bathroom and clean weekly with a microfibre cloth.  

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