10 of the Most Important Surfaces to Sanitize
With springtime creeping in, the rush for spring cleaning is nearly upon us—time to rev up the vacuum, break out the duster, and stock up on cleaning agents!
Ever since the covid-19 pandemic, cleaning the home has been one of the most important pastimes for families at the beginning of spring. Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends frequent house cleaning, especially if someone in your home is susceptible to catching an illness. They also stress the importance of reading the product labels of your agents prior to cleaning—survey, then spray!
But before you get busy seeking out those hiding spots germs like to use, it pays to take a step back and get a game plan together. Cleaning the floors is a given, but what about the other places around the house that are frequently touched? Where should you start to ensure clean surfaces are plentiful in your home?
Don’t grab the sanitizing wipes and disinfecting products just yet. We’ll list 10 of the most important high-touch surfaces to clean with sanitizer that might be easily overlooked when disinfecting your home. Make sure your spring cleaning strategy targets each of these locations!
It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised to learn how many doorknobs and handles remain unclean for years. Being some of the most common surfaces people touch in most households—used by both family members and visitors—makes these entrances into the different rooms of your home double as entrances for germs onto your skin. Faucet handles are prime locations to clean, too.
When you disinfect doorknobs, make sure to clean back the front and back of the knob. Don’t forget there’s usually a doorknob or handle on both sides of the door!
2. Light Switches
Similar to doorknobs, many people use light switches multiple times per day, flicking them on and off frequently and inadvertently rubbing bacteria on the switches as they do so. While you clean both the “on” and “off” sides of the light switch, you should also wipe its plastic base too; fumbling hands tend to accidentally swipe the cover rather than the switch itself.
Air drying should be sufficient to allow light switches to fully sanitize, but make sure to use an alcohol-based solution. Alcohol disinfects and dries in a short period of time, making it suitable for quick cleaning of electronics.
Did you know that keyboards and desktops can harbor over 400 times the bacteria of a toilet seat? This is especially true for keyboards in public settings or those that are shared by multiple people.
Needless to say, fingers tend to be all over keyboard surfaces, making them prime real estate for dangerous pathogens to linger. A good sanitizing wipe can clear the keys’ surfaces of grime and skin residue. Don’t forget to shake dust and foreign particles out from under the keys for a thorough cleaning (and you might want to give the mouse some attention, too).
Trackpads on laptops, combined with their integrated keyboards, are just as dirty as desktop computer setups. The only saving grace for laptops is that they are normally used by only one individual. Nevertheless, laptop screens tend to loom closer to a user’s face, meaning the chance of becoming infected with harmful pathogens is still a possibility.
Be mindful to only use alcohol-based sanitizers on laptops, as other chemicals that don’t dry as quickly can seep inside the hardware and cause problems. Clean both the outside and the inside of the laptop for the best coverage.
This doesn’t mean just kitchen countertops either (although those are a great place to start cleaning)—dressers, desks, shelves, and cabinets all deserve a thorough wipe-down. In many cases, surfaces in the living room or bedroom or more prone to collect dust than the counters in the kitchen, making them just as valid of a disinfecting target.
If your shelves or counters have knickknacks, picture frames, or plants on display, it’s best to clear them first to ensure the entire surface gets clean. Try to wear gloves to keep the dust or chemicals on hard surfaces from getting on your own skin!
Depending on the material, tables will often see grime build up along their surfaces or crumbs stuck in cracks. If you notice the latter, it’s usually more efficient to enlist the aid of a vacuum cleaner to suck out all the stray particles. A dish scrubbing brush (along with disinfecting wipes) can also make short work of the buildup or stubborn food stains lingering on the table’s finish.
Keep in mind that kitchen tables are for eating, and so leaving chemicals on their surfaces can be dangerous! Properly dry them with dish towels or paper towels after disinfecting to keep the risks of contamination to a minimum.
How often do you reach for the TV remote, video game controller, or garage door opener? These objects change hands frequently and should be cleaned regularly to minimize the presence of bacteria. Skin residue likes to collect in thin lines where people’s fingers prefer to rest. If you see pale lines reaching across the surface of your controllers, it’s time to sanitize.
Like laptops, controllers should only be cleaned with rubbing alcohol instead of household cleaner or water to avoid damaging any of the internal components.
The touchscreen on your phone, tablet, or watch reigns as perhaps one of the dirtiest surfaces you’ll encounter in your daily routine, with phone screens commonly containing triple the bacteria compared to doorknobs, the next dirtiest thing in the house. When you factor in the frequency with which we interact with our smart devices, it all makes too much sense.
For the best results, purchase a pack of small alcohol wipes and rub the surface of the screen while the device’s power is off. Then take a microfiber cloth and gently dry it to remove excess moisture or smudges.
We sit in chairs every day, and though we don’t always intend to stay for long, the germs we carry certainly prefer to check in for an extended vacation. Particularly in the case of armchairs, bacteria often enjoy the soft (sometimes gritty) surfaces that allow dust, skin, and hair to collect.
When cleaning chairs, prioritize the arms before covering the rest of the seat. Sanitizing wipes are friendly with most chair materials, but be wary with leather! Soap and water should be used instead for finer materials.
Rounding out our list comes the place where many people spend a lot of their time (we won’t judge!) winding down after work: the living room sofas, couches, and recliners! Crumbs funnel beneath the cushions, hair and dust gather on the surfaces, and stains are easy to come by.
Rather than using traditional sanitizing solutions right off the bat, couches must be approached with a careful plan. Read your couch’s cleaning tag to figure out whether or not you should use hot water, solvent-based disinfectant spray, or simply vacuum. The material will matter, so pick the correct cleaning products for your needs!
Your Hands Need Cleaning, Too
Try as you may, sanitizing the surfaces around your house to remove every trace of pathogens is impossible. You’re bound to miss a spot here or there, and some bacteria are quick to reproduce if the conditions are right. Completely removing the threat of infectious disease isn’t always in the cards (as we saw with sars-cov-2, AKA the coronavirus).The best solution? When handwashing isn’t available, invest in a quality hand sanitizer to kill germs on your skin before they find ways into your body. Muse Health’s Fragrance-free Hand Sanitizer contains the serum you need to eliminate 99% of bacteria while rejuvenating your hands with moisturizing, natural oils. Visit our store page to lea