The 10 Dirtiest Things in Your Home

#1. The Bathtub

You know you’ve been putting off cleaning the tub. It’s not the most fun job, but oh so necessary! We use the shower and bathtub to remove all the dirt and grime each day. While it seems all this would get washed down the drain, the bacteria lingers making your bathtub more dangerous than the toilet when it comes to bacteria. It won’t take long and it’s not very difficult, here’s all you need to do:

What You Will Need:

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Spray the entire bathtub with the bathroom cleaner.
  2. Use the soft bristled brush to scrub away any build-up.
  3. If soap scum is being stubborn, the Magic Eraser is your secret weapon. You’ll be amazed at how easily it removes all kinds of dirt with very little effort!
  4. Rinse with clean water.
  5. Enjoy! If you clean the tub just once a week it will be much faster than cleaning it every couple of weeks.

#2. The Kitchen Drain

We know germy the kitchen sink can be and how important it is to keep it clean, and we do. So where is that smell coming from? Chances are it’s the goop that’s collected in your drain. Here’s a couple of tricks to remove odors from the drain.

What You Will Need:

  • Baking soda
  • White Vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt
  • Hot Water
  • Bowl or pitcher

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by running very hot water through the drain to flush out any loose debris.
  2. Next, you have several options.
    1. Pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain and wash it down with hot water.
    2. Pour 1 cup of vinegar or lemon juice down the drain and let it set for 30 minutes. Then flush it down the drain with hot water.
    3. To prevent grease build-up, make a strong salt brine and pour that down the drain.
  3. Chemical cleaners are always an option, but should be used more sparingly. For a more eco-friendly cleaner, pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain. Wash it down with ½ cup of vinegar. This will immediately cause a foaming and fizzing reaction. This is good. Let this set for a few minutes and rinse with hot water.

#3. The Telephone

We use it everyday, and chances are you’ve wiped it on your shirt a time or two to remove the dirt, but have never really cleaned it. We spread so many germs when we’re talking, it’s amazing the filth that builds up on the phone. Add in the lotions, make-up and body oils and you’ve got a real need to clean.

What You Will Need:

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by wiping down the entire phone with a disinfectant wipe, removing as much dirt as possible.
  2. Slightly moisten the cotton swabs with rubbing alcohol and use them clean dirt from the nooks and crannies such as in between the numbers, around the caller ID window, etc.
  3. Dry with a soft cloth and you’re good to go.

#4. Your Toothbrush

We use our toothbrush to remove all the gunk and germs from our mouth each day, so it’s no wonder it gets a little nasty itself. Here’s some easy ways to clean and disinfect your toothbrush.

What You Will Need:

  • Alcohol (concentrated, not the diluted type)
  • Listerine (optional)
  • Small bowls
  • Old toothbrush
  • Mild dish detergent

The Cleaning Process:

  1. The first thing to do is always wash your hands before handling your toothbrush, that will dramatically cut back on the amount of germs.
  2. Begin by washing your toothbrush daily by running it under hot water and using pressure when rubbing the bristles. Using toothpaste everyday is also helpful.
  3. You can disinfect your toothbrush several different ways, the easiest of these is to soak it in mouthwash (one that contains alcohol) for 30 seconds.
  4. You can also boil it for a few minutes or place it in the dishwasher. (if you have a plastic toothbrush, place it on the top rack so it doesn’t melt)
  5. These methods will greatly reduce the germs and bacteria that live in your brush. Now won’t you feel a little better about brushing your teeth tonight?

#5. The Remote Control

So many of us can’t live without it, so let’s give it the care it deserves.

What You Will Need:

  • Alcohol (concentrated, not the diluted type)
  • Cotton swabs
  • Paper towels
  • Disinfectant wipes

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by wiping the outer casing with a disinfectant wipe.
  2. Dampen the cotton swab slightly with rubbing alcohol and wipe away any dirt from tiny crevices and around the buttons.
  3. Continue scrubbing with a clean cotton swab each time until the dirt is gone. Depending on the amount of build-up, you may need to use several.
  4. Dry any remaining alcohol with the paper towels and it’s ready to use.

#6. Computer Keyboard and Mouse

Dust, crumbs, dirt, and many other items make their way under your keys leading to a small colony of germs growing beneath your fingertips. Use this simple method to remove the dirt and clean up your keyboard.

What You Will Need:

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Start by turning your keyboard over and gently tapping the back to knock out any loose dirt.
  2. Take the keyboard outside if possible along with the can of compressed air. Direct the can at the spaces in between the keys and blow the dirt loose. Turn the keyboard over and shake out the loosened dirt.
  3. Fill the bowl half full with water and add a small amount of dish detergent. Mix until suds form.
  4. Slightly moisten the cloth in the water and use it to gently wipe any dirt off of the keys. If your keys are not very dirty, plain water may be enough. Dry with another cloth.
  5. Use the vacuum with the soft brush attachment to remove any remaining dirt from inside the keyboard.
  6. Now for your mouse, wipe it down with the soft cloth that as moistened with the soapy water.
  7. If your mouse has a ball inside, unlock the cover, remove the ball and clean it with the soft cloth. You may also want to clean inside the cavity where the ball was as dirt quickly collects there.
  8. Replace the ball and cover, and dry the entire mouse with a dry cloth.

#7. Wooden Cutting Board

Wooden cutting boards are great for chopping and dicing, but when it comes to bacteria and stains, they seem act like a sponge. These boards can be a breeding ground for germs if not cleaned regularly. Here’s how:

What You Will Need:

  • Dish detergent
  • Lemons
  • Salt
  • Soft cloths
  • Mineral oil
  • Vinegar
  • Bleach
  • Water
  • Hydrogen peroxide

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by cleaning the board off with hot, soapy water. Do not immerse the board in water or it will absorb the water and crack when it dries.
  2. Next, you want to disinfect the board to remove any dangerous bacteria. There are several ways to do this:
    1. Use a soft cloth to wipe the board down with white vinegar.
    2. Use soft cloths to wipe the board down with vinegar then wipe again with hydrogen peroxide.
    3. Mix a solution of 1 teaspoon bleach with one quart of water. Drench the top of the board with the solution and let it set for a few minutes. Rinse thoroughly with a clean cloth and clean water. Allow to air dry or dry with a towel.
  3. Remove stains by covering with salt and rubbing with a lemon. Rinse and dry.
  4. Once a week, apply some mineral oil to a soft cloth and rub onto the board in the direction of the grain. Allow this to soak in then remove any remaining oil with a clean cloth. The oil will fill the pores of the wood and prevent other liquids from being absorbed.

#8. Behind Appliances

Out of sight, out of mind – these areas are often the most neglected areas, but so necessary to clean. Pull them out and you’ll be shocked at what all you’ll find.

What You Will Need:

  • Mop
  • Kitchen cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Floor cleaner
  • Sponge or Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
  • Partner to help move the appliances
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Vacuum with hose attachment

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by having someone help you pull the appliances away from the wall. Never attempt to do this yourself as they can be very heavy and could fall over causing serious injury.
  2. Begin by unplugging any plugs that may be hanging in the way and assess the yuck you find back there to determine your plan of action. Most likely you want to start by vacuuming the dust and dirt build-up. The hose attachment is especially helpful for this.
  3. Use the kitchen cleaner to scrub away any dirt or food splatters that have fallen between the cabinets and the appliance. Be sure to clean both the walls of the cabinets as well as the sides of the appliances. For removing stubborn build-up, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will be a useful tool.
  4. Next fill the bucket with water and floor cleaner. Use the mop to clean the floor area that was underneath the appliance.
  5. When the entire area is clean, have your helper assist with pushing the appliance back into place.

#9. The Top of the Refrigerator

Another place that’s often out of site out of mind, this spot seems to be a “collect-all” in many homes for more than just dust.

What You Will Need:

  • Spray cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Box

The Cleaning Process:

  1. Begin by removing all the miscellaneous items that many of us place on top of the fridge and put them in a box. You can organize or replace them later.
  2. Spray the cleaner all over the top of the fridge.
  3. Carefully wipe the layer of dust and dirt into the paper towel. Try not to wipe it onto the floor as it will just cause another mess.
  4. Repeat as necessary until you find the top of your fridge and all the dirt is gone.

#10. Doorknobs

They’re most likely one of the last items you think to clean yet one that needs it the most. Fortunately, cleaning them is a snap.

What You Will Need:

The Cleaning Process:

  1. The best way to clean and remove germs from doorknobs is just to wipe them down really well with disinfectant wipes. Can’t get much easier than that!


  1. Sewer drain/older homes says:

    First part of every summer, take a box of rock salt and flush about a cup at a time down the toilet to fill most of the line to the street. It needs to sit at least overnight, and will kill any small roots invading that causes blockage.

  2. M. King says:

    The dirtiest 1/4 inch in your kitchen is your can opener. Take a Q-tip and moisten it in soapy water and swab the inside and outside of the cutting edge.

  3. D Juhl says:

    Please unplug the kitchen can opener before cleaning it with that Q-tip and soapy water.

  4. Debbie says:

    After cleaning the top of the refrigerator, cover it with clear plastic wrap. The new adhesive kind is ideal for this. Next time you need to clean it, just remove the old plastic wrap and replace! No cleaning required!

  5. Debbi says:

    Put Tang in your empty dishwasher soap dispenser and run it through on regular cycle.

  6. Debbie says:

    If you are cleaning an electric can opener, unplug it and get a screwdriver. Unscrew the blade carefully. You can then really get behind it and both sides on the blade. Also, if it is dull, you can run it across a blade sharpener and replace.

  7. Elb says:

    Yikes! If Tang helps to clean your dishwasher, then what is it doing to our insides? Harsh?

  8. Greg says:

    The Forest Products Laboratories has done experiments with E. coli, salmonella, and other bacteria on wooden and plastic cutting boards that have shown organic wooden cutting boards do not harbor these diseases while plastic cutting boards are excellent breeding grounds for them.

  9. Judy says:

    After cleaning your bathroom tile, wipe down with a thin coat of lemon oil; this works on the sliding doors and tracks as well. Makes the next clean up a breeze and prevents the build up of soap scum while leaving a fresh scent.

  10. Lois says:

    Tip for cleaning soap scum:

    Don’t use soap in the first place! Use a soap-free cleanser like Shaklee’s “Get Clean Hand and Body Wash.”

  11. Debbie says:

    I use inexpensive nylon net for a dish cloth. Abrasive enough for scrubbing, delicate enough for china. Rinses very clean and doesn’t sour like a cloth. Cut a yard or so into large squares (your preference) and when they break down and are too soft, throw out.

  12. Bill S. in Fort Lauderdale says:

    I use a Ziploc bag and insert all my remote controls. This allows you to use the remote but keeps it germ free and protects it from water, dust, oils, food, etc. You can easily wash the Ziploc bag to clean and it’s inexpensive enough to replace the bag often. I also take Ziploc bags with me on trips to put in the hotel’s remote control so I do not get germs from previous guests. I use them when in the hospital for the same reason. The hospital’s TV remote control transmits more germs than any other item.

  13. Chris says:

    Take a spray bottle and fill with one cap of bleach and the rest with lukewarm water.

    With a rag: spray and wipe doorknobs, light switches, lamps switches, remote controls, keyboards, the mouse, door trims, cabinet doors, the fridge handles, anywhere you know and think has had a constant traffic of hands.

    It’s a great way to kill germs and keep things manageable while between thorough cleanings.

    Same method works with vinegar water as well.

  14. Casey says:

    Apply Rain-X (typically used for vehicle windows) to your shower doors and you won’t have the water spots/scum/build-up from your water. The water will just run off of the glass like it does in your vehicle. I’ve also applied a coat of car wax to my shower walls (not the floor) and it has the same effect. The water just beads up and runs off. Saves A LOT of time in cleaning and elbow grease.

  15. Shirley says:

    When I do my cleaning (washing kitchen and bathroom floors and countertops), I put a drop of eucalyptus oil in the cleaning water. Haven’t seen an ant since I began doing this about ten years ago. Doesn’t kill them – just repels them. Unfortunately, though, it doesn’t do a thing for spiders. Any suggestions?

  16. Ray says:

    For cleaning any kind of grease or wax build-up, try “KRUD-KUTTER.”

  17. Scott says:

    For a toothbrush: Use any small glass container, put the toothbrush in head first and pour in hydrogen peroxide, enough to cover the head. After brushing, put the toothbrush back in the container. Keeps the brush sanitized and clean.

  18. John says:

    When staying in hotels, if I don’t have a Ziploc bag, I place the remote control in the clear plastic cover from the coffee cups or the drinking glasses. A quick twist or knot will secure the remote for germ free use. Remember that all previous tenants have handled the remote and the door knobs, neither of which seldom, if ever, get cleaned. Test have proven that the toilet seat is more sanitary than the remote control.

    Also remember to wash your hands frequently and especially before eating and just prior to retiring for the night. While sleeping, you unconsciously rub your nose and eyes, which are excellent pathways for germs to enter your body. Clean hands, no worry.

  19. Neldel says:

    In response to Shirley:

    You can try citronella to repel spiders, just wipe down areas where spiders would most likely crawl.

  20. Ben says:

    I make my own spray cleaner and avoid paying the high price of Windex, 409, etc. If you have ever seen the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) required by OSHA for all such products used in a business, you will find that most spray cleaners are nothing but water, detergent and alcohol. Disinfecting cleaners are water, detergent, bleach and alcohol. Non-streaking window cleaners are water, detergent, ammonia and alcohol – or ammonia, vinegar, alcohol and water. – NEVER MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA! –

    Start with a 2/3 full spray bottle of water, add a squirt of liquid detergent – either dish detergent or liquid laundry detergent – and alcohol to bring the volume up to whatever you want. If you want disinfectant, add a couple cap-fulls of liquid bleach. Viola! You are now a frugal cleaning specialist and a chemist.

  21. Nancy says:

    Tear the perfume samples out of magazines, and lay them under the car seat to keep it smelling pretty, or use dry sheets you like.

    If you have a perfume you like, but can not use it because it changes on you. Use it for an air refresher in the bathroom.

  22. Groworm says:

    My friend accidentally left a box of dryer sheets in her backseat, and her car smelled WONDERFUL. I imagine you could do it one sheet at a time.

  23. Robin says:

    To freshen room while vacuuming, use the wick from a used plug-in air fresher refill. You’ll have to pull the plug out (I’ve had to use kitchen shears to pry it loose), then remove the wick. When you replace your vacuum cleaner bag, drop the used wick into the bag and voila – instant room freshener! If you don’t use the plug-in freshers, a dryer sheet works well too.

  24. Dale says:

    A lot of cleaning is unhealthy and bad for the environment and therefore a waste of time. Bleach is not a panacea. Nearly all germs on our body are harmless and we should think of ourselves as ecosystems, not simply an organism. “Air fresheners” are harmful to health and don’t freshen the air, ozone air fresheners cause eye irritation as ozone is a recognized pollutant.

    Simple ingredients are the way to go and a common sense moderate view of cleaning is the most healthy in my opinion.

  25. Beth says:

    I like using the Simple Green. It comes in a gallon bottle, is eco-friendly, can be diluted to various concentrations to clean in almost any way. Has a mild and pleasant smell. I use it on counter tops, sinks, stoves, floors, bathroom surfaces (pretty much everywhere). Lasts a long time. For hardwoods, I use Method’s “wood for good.” Has the smell of almond, is very mild, and easy to use on floors and furniture.

    I agree somewhat with the last post; always best to use less harsh chemicals.

  26. Ressab says:

    I scrub the shower walls down every time I am in the shower. I don’t do the whole bathroom, but just a few spots at a time, and that way my shower is easier to clean at the end of the week because I’ve been touching up spots all week.

  27. Jennifer says:

    For windows, I went into a local store and purchased microfiber cloths that are great when damp to do glass, mirrors, and stainless steel. I think that they’re more available now, but I love them and use them all the time.

  28. Jean says:

    I use damp newspaper to clean my mirrors and windows. They shine and it’s economical. Good for the environment too.

  29. Marcia says:

    Cleaning toothbrushes – I weekly put them in the silverware holder in the dishwasher and wash with the dishes. It also works great for toddler toys.

  30. Judi says:

    I keep a “Mr Clean – Magic Eraser” in my tub/shower surround. After having a bath or shower – before stepping out – I wipe down all the surfaces. I never did like cleaning the tub and surround! It was hard – and messy. This is an awesome way to keep the tub and area clean.

  31. Kaye says:

    Use coffee filters – No lint, very inexpensive and no ink on your hands like when using newspaper. I buy a lot less paper towels now because I use the coffee filters that I can get 200 for less than a dollar.

  32. Morty says:

    I find it amusing that people are worried about ‘our insides’, whether it is because of some tip about using Coke or Tang or whatever.

    People, your stomach is filled with acid that is stronger than the citric acid or whatever in those drinks. Yes, a match can start a forest fire, but you wouldn’t warn people away from throwing it into a volcano.

  33. Jeremy says:

    As Greg said above, studies have been done that show that wood’s natural bacteria fighting properties make them more sanitary than plastic cutting boards. Plastic cutting boards get the same cut marks which harbor bad stuff and make them hard to clean, but don’t naturally fight off bacteria. Also, they dull your knives a lot quicker too.

  34. Engineer Mom says:

    Please DON’T USE THEM! They don’t “freshen” the air, they just scent it, and some of us are very sensitive to the scent. My mother-in-law is a die-hard air freshener user, to the point that she bought a spray container of some sickly apple cinnamon scent for OUR bathroom when they stayed here one weekend. I would much rather smell (for a short period of time) the rather natural result of the human digestive tract than that sickeningly sweet smell that makes me sneeze and stays in the air for hours.

    Learn to open a window to get a fresh scent, place some fresh orange peels in a bowl, or just keep your house clean enough to avoid the mold/bacteria/pets that makes the icky smell in the first place. All those chemical scents contribute to poor indoor air quality.

  35. Sara says:

    There is a suggestion above about mixing detergent with bleach to create an inexpensive, all-purpose cleaner. It works fine, but you must be careful of what products you use: Do not do this using an anti-bacterial dish soap like Dawn, because bleach can react with the triclosan in the detergent to create CHLOROFORM GAS and other dangerous toxins. Read those labels carefully!

  36. Haznut says:

    Spray oven cleaner in the tub, let it set for an hour or two if it is really bad, and wipe it clean with a wet rag.

  37. Katy says:

    A much simpler way to clean a computer keyboard is to turn it over and shake out the crumbs. Then take it into the bathroom and place it under a warm (not TOO hot) shower for a few minutes, making sure the water runs over and through the keys. Turn it upside down, and lay it against a wall or the back of the tub. Let dry for no less than 12 hours (but it’s better if you wait closer to 24). There, done. Nothing too difficult and doesn’t require additional cleaners.

  38. Al says:

    To prevent the bathtub from getting dirty, simply whisk away dirty water with a good shower squeegee – i.e. immediately after each bath. I use a Cleret dual bladed shower squeegee, which has two super soft and flexible blades which bend to the contours of my bath.

  39. Brittany says:

    Since you have it anyway, foamy shaving cream works well to clean mirrors, and in the bathroom, it prevents the mirrors from fogging too!! Just don’t use a whole bunch, or you’ll have quite a mess.

  40. Luella says:

    For spiders, someone told me to try conkers around the house, especially entry points near skirting boards or windows. It seems to have helped a lot – so far – this autumn we collected lots at the park to tide us over. You can get sprays containing horse chestnut, but I don’t think they are as good, but at least you can use them out of season.

    Re: Toothbrushes; are things like detergent or hydrogen peroxide good for your teeth? Some contain citric acid, you are meant to wait 30 minutes after drinking orange juice to let tooth enamel re-harden before you brush. Any other ideas? At the moment I have an antibacterial toothbrush holder that covers the bristles.

  41. Christy says:

    I use water on a damp clean cloth to clean all glass and mirrors and I wipe immediately with a clean dry cloth to prevent streaking. I use a low cost furniture polish to clean all my stainless still appliances. Just spray it on and it will clean and polish to a beautiful shine. I use the lemon scent.

  42. Pat says:

    Some oven cleaning products are caustic. I wouldn’t use them at all. I don’t think they are intended for cleaning showers and tubs.

  43. Cathy says:

    Ever try the Swiffer cleaning cloth? Great for hardwood floors and dusting tables, etc. This product is great.

  44. Taylor says:

    One poster mentioned covering the top of the fridge with plastic wrap. I live in the tropics and my fridge is bombarded by tiny insects and consequently ends up covered in flat, stuck-on poop. If I cover with plastic, I am concerned that the humidity in the air will cause the fridge to rust out faster than normal in the tropics. Suggestions, please?

  45. Mrs. Right says:

    Actually, the doorknob is covered beyond comparison with bacteria because of all the people that touch it, not to mention tall dogs that rub their paws on the doorknob. Then there are people who are sick, or who don’t wash their hands, or something worse. Need I go on?

  46. Diana says:

    I was wondering; if I put moth balls around the basement walls (which have paneling on them), would that keep the mold off of them?

  47. Walter says:

    A friend and I were talking about what the dirtiest place in the home is and it is the bathtub! I said bathroom! My friend said kitchen. Number two was your kitchen!

  48. Sat says:

    I use a clean, dedicated toothbrush for cleaning my can openers–it gets into the corners and with a cleanser, scrubs rust away. Once a week I wipe the “touch” areas of my house with alcohol-phones, remote controls, door knobs, etc. I wash my tub after every use–I cannot consider doing otherwise, although I have seen filthy bathrooms in homes. I wash the tub with bar laundry soap–Zote, Lirio–it breaks down scum and body soil like magic, leaving a clean, environmentally safe surface. It is quick and easy and requires no hard scrubbing. Rub a wet cloth on the bar and you are ready to clean the entire bathroom. Rinse it clean and enjoy the shine. Mix it with borax or alcohol and you can disinfect the toilet. I use it for everything: dishes, my own laundry soap, hand soap–I make my own products from this one inexpensive soap–pure soap. You can bathe with it. A little effort daily saves a lot of time later, plus I like a clean house. Get everyone to chip in including the little ones–they can collect full trash cans, drop off dirty laundry into the laundry room, and do other things like dust and put things away.

  49. Karen says:

    Can openers? Rubbing alcohol on cotton swab- works excellent. Dries fast- evaporates, and no rinsing necessary. You will be shocked to see what it removes.

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