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How to clean the dirtiest place in your home

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
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If you are busy like almost everyone is these days, there is a good chance you skimp on spring cleaning. But there is one place in your home that is the dirtiest and full of germs that should not be neglected. Donna Duberg, a germ expert at Saint Louis University reminds us that spring cleaning rituals are less common than decades ago, which means more household contamination.

Make the bathroom a spring cleaning focus
If you have time for nothing else related to spring cleaning, Duberg says make sure your bathroom is sanitized.

Germs especially thrive in the bathroom that is one of the most frequently visited places in the home - in the tub, shower and toilet – your most ‘private’ places.

But you also do not want to overdo it, exposing yourself to toxins and harsh chemicals that might lead to cancer or respiratory problems. Spring cleaning the bathroom should be simple and free from health risks.

Tips for making your bathroom germ free
Don’t be a ‘germophobe’: There’s no need to use full strength cleaners in your bathroom. Make sure you dilute them and follow instructions for proper ventilation. Either open a window or put the fan on so you do not inhale dangerous fumes.

Cancer causing bathroom cleaners are everywhere on the store shelves. Make sure you understand how some cleaners can affect the endocrine and nervous system and lead to cancer.

If you’re looking for non-toxic, effective cleaning products, visit the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website for a list of common household cleaners included in their “Hall of Shame” (Hint – ‘green’ does not always mean ‘green’)

Read labels: You might think mixing ammonia and bleach is a good idea, but the result can send you to the emergency room with respiratory distress, which may be one reason Duberg says to read the labels on cleaning products. You will find information about how much to dilute produces and how long to leave it on surfaces to get rid of your germy bathroom.

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Keep up with regular cleaning: Washing the sink, tub and toilet regularly can make spring cleaning less cumbersome. If you have not done any ‘deep cleaning’, be prepared to deal with bathtub mold and shower curtain scum that can be breeding grounds for bacteria.

Put up your toothbrush once and for all: If you fail to put your toothbrush away, germs from the toilet can contaminate it. Dry it off after each use with a paper towel first. Duberg says when we flush with the toilet up the result is about 3 million toilet bowl germs that spread by aerosol to our toothbrush.

When family or friends are sick: If you have sick family members or a visiting friend, disinfect the bathroom with 10 percent bleach. Use it within 24 hours and make a fresh batch for your next cleaning.

Bleach is toxic to pets and children, making it important to watch everything down afterward with warm soapy water.

Shine your bathroom with a simple solution: One part vinegar and 9 parts water can put a shine on your bathroom faucets and sink and even the floor. Use a spray bottle for a finishing bathroom cleaning touch.

To remove scum, use undiluted white vinegar and baking soda that can also be used as a good overall non-toxic cleaner. “The fewer the cleaning products, the better,” says Duberg in a press release. “Vinegar is inexpensive, is not harmful to kids and pets and always leaves a shine”

Spring cleaning may have gone by the wayside over the years, but one area you do not want to skip is the dirtiest place in the home. Cleaning the bathroom can help stop infections .

Saint Louis University

Image credit: Biing