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The 8 Dirtiest Places in the House

Laura Richards
June 26, 2017

Find out the eight dirtiest places in the house, why they're so dirty and how to keep them spick and span!


When most people think of the dirtiest places in the house, they come up with the obvious -- toilets, floors and trash cans. There are, however, several areas that are often overlooked but can be the dirtiest of all.

We asked professional cleaners for the places that they pay attention to—but that you may not. Here's what they told us: 

  1. Doorknobs, Cabinet Handles and Handrails
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many germs and illnesses are transferred from hands to surfaces. Think of how many people touch your door handles, cabinet handles and handrails in one day. Yup, it could send you running for the hills.

    Cleaning Tip:
    Regularly wipe down all interior and exterior door handles, as well as cabinet handles and handrails, with a disinfecting wipe. Do so more frequently during cold and flu season. For more great tips, read on to 7 Ways to Prepare for Cold and Flu Season.
  2. Floors/Rugs at All Exterior Doors
    You've likely come home from walking the dog or a day at work without thinking about what you may be tracking into your home on the bottoms of your shoes: toxic fertilizers from your lawn, fecal matter and even lead, which can occur naturally in soil. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends all homes have a no-shoes policy to keep all that bad stuff right where it belongs -- at the door!

    Cleaning Tip:
    Whenever possible, have a machine-washable throw rug at each exterior door so you can regularly wash away the grime that people track into your home.
  3. Refrigerator and Freezer
    Have you ever taken a close look at your deli or produce drawer? How about what's lurking below your kid's freezer ice packs and those gallons of ice cream? Crumbs, spills, remnants of food and even (gulp) hair can get into the nooks and crannies of your fridge and freezer.

    Cleaning Tip:
    Once a month, take everything out of your fridge and clean it with a solution of warm water and vinegar. If you're tight on space, use an empty laundry basket to store fridge or freezer items while you clean.
  4. Silverware Tray
    That plastic or metal tray that holds your silverware also plays host to a lot of crumbs and general grossness. Just take a peek right now.

    Cleaning Tip:
    Soak it in warm water and a squirt of dish soap or run it through the dishwasher.
  5. Kitchen Sink
    For something that gets rinsed with soap and water all day long, it harbors some pretty gross germs from food remnants and dirt. Think about when you rinse raw chicken in the sink: Have you ever thought to thoroughly disinfect the sink afterward? Your kitchen sink is a breeding ground for bacteria like salmonella, which, according to foodsafety.gov, causes food poisoning.

    Cleaning Tip:
    Every day, spray your sink with vinegar and water, and give it a quick scrub with a handheld brush. You can run the brush through the dishwasher to disinfect it -- and throw kitchen sponges in the dishwasher every time you run it, too.
  6. Stove Range Hood
    Have you taken a look at that thing lately? It's a magnet for grease layered with dust. Most homes have a range hood or exhaust fan over their stove, but many people haven't thought to clean it. They should -- especially the filters that suck up grease, smoke and more.

    Cleaning Tip:
    Most models have removable filters that you can run through your dishwasher or soak in hot, soapy water before air drying.
  7. Bathtubs
    The tub is a hot spot for germs and mold due to the high humidity, dirt, grime, soap scum and bacteria that collect there. Mold and gunk can form around shampoo bottles, too.

    Cleaning Tip:
    You should break out the bleach spray and rubber gloves for this one. You can also use an abrasive eraser sponge, but check your tub surfaces first.
  8. Bathroom Sink Items
    You probably know that dirty hands infect sink handles, but what about the other items on your bathroom sink? Your toothbrush and its holder harbors bacteria and germs and so does the top of your soap dispenser pump.

    Cleaning Tip:
    Regularly disinfect the sink and soap pump with a disinfectant wipe or a paper towel with a spray of vinegar. Run your toothbrush holder through the dishwasher. If the holder isn't washable (or if it's bolted to the wall), wipe it down with warm water and vinegar.

Looking for an eco-friendly cleaning alternative? Try these 20 Natural Cleaners to Replace Your Family's Household Cleaners.

Are there any other sneaky spots that you consider one of the dirtiest places in the house? Tell us about them in the comments!

Laura Richards is a Boston-based freelance writer and the mother of four boys, including a set of identical twins. She has written for numerous publications and is the president of On Point Communications.

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