Even a sparkling interior can be dirtier than you think.

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If you're a Martha Stewart fan, you probably have a cleaning routine-at least for places where dirt is quick to accumulate and tough to ignore. But while vanity-cleaning the dust on your shelves and the crumbs on your floor is (as we say) a good thing, the bacterial buildup in less "dirty" areas poses more of a threat. Focus on these five often-overlooked, but important, spots to ensure that your efforts keep your health and your home at their best.

The Phone

Landlines may be on the wane, but they still pose a seriously germy threat to any home they're in. (Mobile users, you're not off the hook. Would you hold the bottom of your purse against your face?) Refresh your receiver at least once a month to keep a dirty mouth from catching up with you.

The Shower Curtain

You may leave the shower cleaner than you came in, but the same can't be said for the curtain, where moisture welcomes and breeds bacteria. Liners are inexpensive to replace, but washing the curtain is more sustainable-a vinyl, nylon, cotton, or hemp liner can be machine-washed in hot water and mild detergent. Rehang the liner to dry. Do this at the start of every season, and consider trimming your curtains so they'll trap less dust and moisture.

Handles and Switches

From light switches and refrigerator handles to the flusher on your toilet, these small and unassuming spots are often overlooked in a regular cleaning routine. But don't neglect these commonly used fixtures as they can be hiding loads of germs. A weekly wipe down with your cleaning solution of choice can help keep the bacteria at bay.

Cleaning Tools

If they're crawling with germs, how can they do right by the rest of your space? Brooms, mops, dusters, and other cleaning tools should be washed and dried thoroughly after each use. And don't neglect the insides of your dishwasher and laundry machine. Follow your manufacturer's instructions to keep these workhorses in fighting shape.

The Kitchen

Between cutting boards used to prepare raw meat, sponges and dish towels that do daily duty, and shelves wiped out far less often than food that sits on them, the kitchen has tons of moving parts-and falling behind could have serious consequences. Go in for a deep-clean, and remember that there's more to maintenance than wiping up spills.

Comments (13)

Anonymous
April 14, 2019
The bottom of the dishwasher door! Hard to see but it can get quite yucky!
Anonymous
February 19, 2019
Try your freezer. It has worked for me to get rid of musty odors.
Anonymous
February 19, 2019
These are all great reminders to keep our home clean and healthy, too. I would like to know in one of your emails the best way to remove musty odors from items having been kept in a damp area for awhile. I recently purchased a handbag through the mail, and have tired everything I know to combat it: fresh air and baking soda. Thank you. Carolyn Medina
Anonymous
February 14, 2019
I won't say it's filthy, but the dryer vent is definitely worth cleaning. Just get one of these long flexible lint removers https://amzn.to/2X53Uuq and you're good to go. They are good for dryer and fridge duct too.
Anonymous
February 3, 2019
To clean the string of your blinds, use warm water and a few drops of Dawn dish soap and some white vinegar. Use a clean sponge dipped into the solution and wrap the sponge around the cord, running it up and down the cord. Repeat a couple more times. I then use another new sponge with just warm water on it running it up and down the cord. Repeat a couple more times. This removes the dirt that was there. Let dry before using the cord to open the blinds again.
Anonymous
March 3, 2018
Also, in bathrooms doorknobs, toilet handle and light switches.
Anonymous
March 3, 2018
I live in an apartment with window blinds. I keep the blades clean and dusted, but, the string is beginning to look dirty. Any tips on how to keep them white?? Thanx in advance!raf
Anonymous
March 2, 2018
Also don't forget the door knobs.
Anonymous
March 2, 2018
In addition to all mentioned above I find that Im wiping down the TV remote controls & my eye glasses (readers).
Anonymous
March 2, 2018
Light switches, shower drains, vacuum refrigerator grills...
Anonymous
March 2, 2018
Re cleaning the gas stove, you neglected to mention - or perhaps don't know - that you can also remove the "gas port" cover (the one you said to use toothpicks to poke into all the holes) and clean them by rinsing (if necessary) or by using a dry "scourer"; you just line them up with the two small guides on either side of the base from which you've removed them.
Anonymous
March 2, 2018
Yes, you missed the germ magnet door knobs .
Anonymous
October 8, 2014
As it is Spring here in Australia, I am having a short break from scrubbing my deck from winter and all the small birds that come for shelter, it is a tedious but satisfactory job. I love what you have mentioned as I am constantly cleaning my stove top (gas), just lift all the racks off and a good clean when needed (frequently) and it always looks like new. Thank you for your tips though.