21 Dirtiest Places in Your Home

It's hard to find time to clean when you have a busy schedule. Follow our tips on how to clean the dirtiest items in your home.

Photo By: Amy Bartlam

Photo By: Eric Perry ©2014, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Jenn Feldman Designs

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Photo By: Loch and Key

Photo By: Lindsay Chambers

Photo By: Jennie Andrews Photography

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Photo By: Leah Verwey

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Photo By: Johnson Giles of Loch & Key Productions

Photo By: Windermere Real Estate, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Photo By: Carley Knobloch

Photo By: Emily Fazio

Photo By: Marian Parsons, Mustard Seed Interiors

Kitchen: Sink Area

Raw meat, raw fish, what’s left of dinner — the sink has plenty of growing bacteria. Give it a scrub with baking soda, then follow up with a white vinegar soak. Add a few tablespoons of vinegar to warm water, or place vinegar-saturated paper towels in the sink for 15 minutes to completely sanitize.

Kitchen: Coffee Maker Reservoir

Your morning cup of joe may have more than caffeine in it. It may also be full of microbes. That’s because the water reservoir on your coffeemaker is an incubator of germs that will make you sick - staph, strep, and the one everybody dreads, E. coli. Remove the reservoir once a month and wash it with hot, soapy water. Flush it with vinegar regularly to clean it.

Read Our Article: How to Clean a Keurig-Style Coffee Maker

Kitchen: Garbage Can

You take your trash out every day, but you need to clean the garbage can, too. The typical garbage bin has 411 germs per square inch living on it and in it. To give you an idea how dirty that is, a toilet seat has 295 germs per square inch. Bust the bacteria by wiping the outside of the can down with a hot, soapy sponge once a week. Once a month, take the can outside, spray the interior with a mix of bleach and water, and hose it out.

Kitchen: Refrigerator Handle

Germs can live on refrigerator handles for at least two days. Apply a small amount of dishwashing soap to a damp microfiber cloth to wipe away bacteria. Avoid using bleach or other harsh cleaners to prevent chemicals from getting in your food.

Kitchen: Cutting Boards

A clean cutting board is important since you place food directly on it. Using soap can wear down a wooden board, but vinegar will gently disinfect it. Scrub with a baking soda paste and salt for a deep clean.

Kitchen: Sponge

If the kitchen sponge smells, that's proof that it's harboring bacteria. Place a wet sponge into the microwave for a minute and a half to kill bugs, or run it through the dishwasher (and replace it regularly).

Kitchen: Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal can also produce a foul odor if not cleaned regularly. Pour half a cup of baking soda down the drain followed by a cup of vinegar. Let the mixture bubble for a few minutes; then pour a bucket of hot water down the drain to rinse. Grind half a lemon in the disposal for extra cleaning power and a fresh scent.

Read Our Article: Smelly Garbage Disposal? Freshen It Up With These DIY Cleaning Cubes

Kitchen: Faucet

The aerator on your faucet, the little screen at the bottom of the spout, is a hotbed of bacteria. Remove and soak it in white vinegar every couple months to get rid of germs and lime buildup.

Kitchen: Can Opener

The blade on your can opener is a grubby breeding ground for germs like salmonella, E. coli, yeast and molds. And that blade touches your food every time you use it. Ugh. Keep the microbes away by cleaning it with antibacterial dish soap after each use, and be sure to wipe it dry before you store it lest more bacteria grow on the damp blade.

Kitchen: Oven Knobs

You touch oven knobs frequently while handling food, but how often do you clean them? Pull the knobs off, and give them a good cleaning with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water. For stubborn stains, let the vinegar sit for at least 10 minutes.

Family Room: Stair Railing

Lots of hands touch the stair railing, so, of course, the usual suspects live there: E. coli, staph, and viruses. Wipe it down once a month with a disinfecting cleaner. Clean it more often if someone in your family is sick or you have guests. Because company brings germs.

Living Room: Remote Control

Everyone touches the remote, often times while snacking. Use a cotton swab dampened with rubbing alcohol to clean germs without damaging delicate buttons. Tip: Use disinfectant wipes to clean the remote in a hotel room.

Bedroom: Mattress

This is going to keep you up at night: Your mattress is full of dead skin cells and dust mites that eat your dead skin cells. There’s also sweat, stains from the coffee you spilled when you had breakfast in bed, and other icky things. Clean your mattress every six months. Vacuum it, spot clean stains, and take it outside to air out because UV rays kill bacteria.

WATCH: Learn How to Clean a Mattress to Remove Stains and Odors

Bathroom: Toothbrush

Water alone won't sanitize months of growing bacteria. Put your toothbrush in the dishwasher, or use a UV cleaner for 10 minutes to get rid of bacteria.

Bathroom: Shower Curtain

Getting rid of mold on your shower curtains is easier than you think. Spray plastic shower curtain liners with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water, and run fabric curtains through the washing machine once a month.

WATCH: DIY Shower Curtain Cleaner

Bathroom: Walls

Nobody wants to think about it, but when you flush with the toilet lid open, nearby surfaces get contaminated. Your favorite all-purpose spray or hydrogen peroxide is a simple solution to this nasty problem.

Home Office: Computer Keyboard

You touch your face. You type an email. You reach for your lunch. You type a report. You get the idea. To clean your computer's keyboard, unplug it first. Next, gently wipe with a 1:1 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water, but make sure not to get your keyboard too wet.

Every Room: Light Switches

Light switches are one of the dirtiest items in your home, which results in an abundance of germs. To clean, spray a cloth with all-purpose cleaner or a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water. Gently wipe the faceplate and switch.

Every Room: Walls

While you're at it, go ahead and give all of your walls a good scrubbing. Wipe off any loose dust with a soft cloth, then gently scrub off any dirt with an all-purpose cleaner that's safe for your walls. (Test in an inconspicuous area first if you’re unsure.) Don’t forget the molding!

Read Our Article: Everything You Need to Know About Cleaning Walls and Wallpaper

Every Room: Pet Toys

Your pup’s toys can be loaded with staph, yeast, and mold. All that drool and dirt can make a squeak toy a germ’s paradise. Keep the ick away by washing hard toys regularly with hot, soapy water. Throw the soft toys in the washer once a month. And when they get really gross? Throw them out and get your dog child new toys.

Bonus: Dog Bowls

To clean your pets' bowls, remove the food and water and run them through the dishwasher. Use vinegar to get rid of lime buildup, and wash with dish soap in between dishwashing cycles.

Shop This Look