When it comes to cleaning, most people know to hit the common areas: toilets, sinks, floors, etc. But just because something appears spotless doesn't mean it's not a breeding ground for bacteria and other germs. While most bacteria are harmless, germs and dusts particles can make us more susceptible to colds and allergies. To minimize bacteria spread, we've rounded up 11 surprising places people often forget to clean but should. Many of these germ-ridden places get infected through constant touch, so don't forget to wash your hands as much as possible!
Credit/debit cards. Think about how many times you use your cards a day. Now, think about how many sales people handle those cards, what their hands have come in contact throughout the day, and what's lurking in the crevices of card-swipe machines. Yes, with every transaction, your cards can be as dirty as ever-circulating cash dollars. It's important to clean your cards as often as you can with anti-bacteria wipes, then let them air dry before returning them back to your wallet.
Electronics. From measuring the amount we use our cell phones, we can all assume our electronics carry lots of germs, but the level of contamination may be worse than you think. The Daily Mail reported that mobile phones contain 18 times more bacteria than toilet handles. Similarly, the New York Daily News found Staphylococcus aureus, the leading cause of staph infections, while testing demo iPads in 2010.
Toothbrush holder. Few people notice how much residue water drips down from your toothbrush into the holder with every cleaning. Do you ever notice mold or discoloration grow at the bottom the cup? Don't let the grime spread to your toothbrush, and eventually your teeth, by letting one-part bleach and three-parts water soak in the holder for an hour. Then rinse and dry upside-down on a dish rack or in the dishwasher.
Rug bottoms. Sure, you may move the rug to sweep or mop under it, but what's the point if the dirt and particles attached to the rug's underside comes in contact with the floor again? Avoid mopping the floor twice, and simply vacuum both sides of the rug.
On top of large appliances. Dust and particles can build up on top of your refrigerator, stove vents, or other appliances too tall to see. But just because these germs live up high doesn't stop them from trickling down into your food. Wipe down these surface areas with white vinegar. Then, rinse with a water-lemon mixture, and dry with a cloth. This can also go for underneath large appliances, if movable.
Window and door tracks. While mildew and grime buildup can be obvious on windows and glass doors, the tracks underneath are often overlooked. Spray exterior window tracks with your garden hose, and from the inside, spray the track with an all-purpose cleaning solution. Scrub the track with a brush, and rinse with a water-soaked cloth. Then, dry with a different cloth. Use this same method for sliding doors and bathroom shower door tracks.
Ceiling fans. The tops of ceiling fan blades are so overlooked that a thick layer of dust, resembling mold on ripe fruit, can build up. And, residue particles from the dust can be dispersed through the room with every use of the fan, contributing to sinus infections and allergies. To clean, simply climb a ladder and spray a solution of two-tablespoons white vinegar and water into a cloth bag, like a pillowcase. Insert the bag around the blade, and drag the bag along the blade's surface, collecting and cleaning the dust. Then, use a cloth to clean up any leftover particles.
Toilet roll holder. When flushing, toilet water can easily by sprayed around the area. And though you may only touch the roll holder to refill the paper, think about how much bacteria has collected with every flush. Once a month, either disinfect the entire roll holder with a sanitizing wipe or clean with a bleach and water solution.
Box spring. With constant bed sheet washing and a mattress in between, people often forget to address the dust-collecting bed spring below. Not to mention pesky bed bugs love to hang out in its crevices. Prevent future irritation and simply use a vacuum hose to suck up any dust. Also, be sure to flip over the box spring to vacuum around dust cover.
Light switches. Transferring bacteria is as easy as a flick of a switch. Literally. Instead, simply apply rubbing alcohol or an all-purpose cleaner into a cloth and buff the light switch until it is grease-free. And, again, wash your hands as often as you can.
Salt and pepper shakers. Don't just refill your shakers once they're empty, as they can be infected with germs! In fact, salt and pepper shakers had one of the highest concentrations of cold and flu viruses, according to a study by the University of Virginia. Be sure to sanitize shakers in the dishwasher, and use disinfectant wipes to clean the surfaces when salt or pepper remains in the shaker.