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If you’ve been avoiding spring-cleaning since the start of the season, you’re not the only one.
For most of us, the thought of steaming our carpets or cleaning out the crisper section of the refrigerator makes us want to crawl under the covers and wish for winter. Almost.
Since we all can use some extra motivation to get our rubber gloves on, we’ve rounded up the leading expert advice about how often you should clean everything and, more important, why.
Turns out, your home is harboring more bacteria than a public trash can. Motivated yet? Take a deep breath and read on to see how frequently you should be cleaning your house.
Truth time: It’s more than once a year.
Frequency: Every week.
For years, the conventional wisdom was that cooking food in a microwave oven was a great way to kill bacteria and make it safe to eat. If you’re guilty of zapping days-old takeout in the microwave, we’ve got some worrying news: New research suggests that might be a myth, so keeping your microwave splash-free is crucial. We recommend wiping it down once a week, then doing a deep cleaning twice a month. Try this handy concoction: Mix half a cup of water with half a cup of white vinegar in a heat-safe dish. Microwave it on high until the window steams up, then wipe the interior with a sponge. Easy.
Frequency: Every week.
The toilet has a reputation as one of the dirtiest areas of a bathroom, but according to new research, it’s got nothing on your bathtub. Elizabeth Scoot, co-director of the Center for Hygiene and Health in Home and Community at Simmons College in Boston, compared the bacteria she found on tubs to trash cans. You’ll want to read these findings before you take a bath. Scoot found skin infection-causing bacteria in 26 percent of tubs tested, compared with just 6 percent of garbage cans. Yes, your bathtub is officially grubbier than the trash. The verdict: Clean your bathtub as often as your toilet – ideally every week.
Frequency: Every one to two weeks.
Surprisingly, fresh findings suggest your bed linen isn’t as dirty as you might think. “We’ve done research that showed that you don’t get as much exposure to dust mites (when) in bed as we once thought,” said Euan Tovey, head of the Allergen Research Group at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research. He says you’re subjected to dust mites whenever you’re moving, not just when you’re in your bed. But before you forgo washing your sheets, take note: Results vary depending on your sleeping routine. If you don’t shower after work or snooze in the buff, opt to wash bed linens every one to two weeks in hot water.
Frequency: Every month.
Brace yourselves: Scientists say salad drawers contain 750 times the safe level of bacteria, making them one of the main places to clean regularly. Don’t wait for a spring-cleaning reminder; this part of your home deserves monthly attention.