You may disinfect your favorite kitchen sponge in a mixture of bleach and water. Or you may run it through a cycle in the dishwasher. If you're in a real hurry, you might dampen a used sponge before zapping it in the microwave.
If you take any one of these steps to rid your kitchen sponge of germs and bacteria, your house is probably as pristine as an operating room. But you probably also represent the minority. For most of us, cleaning is something of a discovery process as we learn about those nooks and crannies throughout our home – and the dirt that lurks within them.
In the spirit of exploration, here are 10 dirty places inside your home that may have escaped your attention – at least until now:
- Faucet aerators: Blame a weak or uneven flow of water on the aerator, which is probably clogged with dirt and something that can only be described as muck.
- The dryer and dryer vent: The lint trap is obvious enough. But clumps of lint often congregate around the rim of the dryer and in the vent – and are the source of thousands of household fires every year.
- The oven: If you've ever wondered why you don't have a clear view of what's cooking in your oven, it's probably the grease and splatters that have lodged between the glass panels.
- The dishwasher: Even all that hot, steamy and soapy water isn't enough to flush your dishwasher of the many food particles that get stuck in the grate, filter and utensil rack.
- The garbage disposal: If pouring some baking soda down the drain isn't stemming odors, chances are it's some buildup under the splashguard that you must remove.
- Bath fan grills: Looking up, they may not seem dirty. But the inside of the grills are often caked with dirt and grime that cling with a vengeance with the aid of moisture and humidity.
- Water heater: Sediment builds in a water heater, choking its efficiency (and ability to deliver hot water where it's needed) and shortening its lifespan.
- HVAC condensate drain line: Located near the compressor (the outdoor unit) and attached to the wall of your house, a clogged drain line usually causes leaks, mold growth and odors.
- Your mattress. A two-person job if there ever was one, shifting a mattress around to vacuum it, spot-clean stains and sprinkle it with baking soda may even help you sleep better at night.
- Doorknobs: Yes, doorknobs (and not only because everyone deserves at least one blissfully simple task on a cleaning list). We see and touch doorknobs every day – with who knows what on our hands.
If you're just getting warmed up, First Quality Roofing & Insulation has compiled a handy Home Maintenance Checklist. It is chock-full of ideas to keep your home in tip-top shape while leaving the very top part – the roof – to the experts. Download your free copy of the checklist – and get your kitchen sponge ready for action.