6 Germ-Ridden Things to Clean While Stuck at Home

woman in cleaning gloves
Photo by Krakenimages.com / Shutterstock.com

With the coronavirus outbreak still active, many people are scrubbing their homes — and hands — as never before.

The new coronavirus can live on certain surfaces for up to a few days, according to a study that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise cleaning commonly touched items such as doorknobs and countertops with a coronavirus-killing product. There are also precautions to take with your laundry, and when pumping gas.

What about all the other things we touch daily, but clean rarely? Kitchen counters, sure, they’re likely getting wiped down multiple times each day. But there are other household items that you may not think of cleaning. Following are some common objects you may want to wipe down, too.

1. Hairbrushes and combs

Professional haircuts and color touch-ups may be unavailable at the moment, but let’s hope you’re still combing and brushing your hair.

You can clean your combs and brushes in a surprising place: your dishwasher. As we advise in “17 Unusual Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher“:

“First, strip as much hair from the brush as you can. Then, pop the brush into your silverware holder. Or, if they are plastic or you just want to be safe, put them on the top rack in a dishwasher basket.”

2. Phones

Smartphones seem more important than ever these days — for entertainment, communication, education and more. They’re touched, played with and pressed against our faces all day. Yet, since they’re expensive and delicate devices, not everyone may know how best to clean them.

Smartphone cases or covers can be washed in soap and water, but make sure you dry them completely before putting them back on your phone.

Apple, which makes the popular iPhone, advises users to shut it down and, ideally, wipe it clean with a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipe (if you can find them). Wipe gently to minimize damage to the iPhone’s oil-repellent coating, and avoid getting moisture from a wipe into any of the openings.

We offer more specifics in “How to Sanitize Your Phone Without Damaging It.”

3. Keys and key fobs

Before the new coronavirus, would you ever have thought to clean the keys to your house or car? Most of us probably never gave that a thought.

Give them a wipe. They’re easy to clean: Adventist Health advises wiping them gently with disinfectant wipes or a soft cloth moistened with a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol.

Sometimes, simplicity is indeed key. But if you’re in the mood to keep cleaning, see our guide to killing coronavirus in your car, too.

4. Remote controls

If you’re constantly clicking on a remote control to pull up the latest shows, remember to clean it every so often.

Good Housekeeping recommends first taking out the batteries, replacing the cover and wiping the remote with 70% isopropyl alcohol or a disinfecting wipe.

A cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol will help you scrub the spaces between the buttons. It’s not hard. You can even do this while watching “Tiger King.”

5. Credit and debit cards

Money is famously germy (studies detail how bacteria-ridden cash can be). According to CBS News, some businesses are shunning cash now for that reason.

But credit and debit cards aren’t exactly sparkling clean either. They may be used many times a day, in machines that have seen thousands of other cards come and go. And how often do you scrub down your wallet or billfold?

CNBC suggests gently wiping down cards with simple soap and water. Or you can use a stronger disinfectant or sanitizing wipe. Spray the cleaner on a soft cloth first. Don’t spray cleaners directly on the card, and avoid hard rubbing, in order to protect the card.

6. Door locks

You may not realize how many times a day you touch the door locks in your car, on the bathroom door or at the entrance to your home.

Lock manufacturer Schlage has tips for cleaning locks and door hardware. Start by removing dirt and grime with soap and water, and then wipe again with plain water and dry.

Next, use a disinfectant (the CDC tells how to make your own) to wipe locks and doorknobs gently. Don’t get them too wet, and be especially careful to immediately dry a smart lock’s keypad. Otherwise, you should let surfaces air dry, to give the disinfectant more time to work.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
8 Things I Always Buy at Target
8 Things I Always Buy at Target

I grew up shopping at the original Target store and am a lifelong fan. Here are my favorite purchases.

The 5 Worst Home Upgrades for the Money
The 5 Worst Home Upgrades for the Money

These home improvement projects basically never pay off.

12 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Checks
12 Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Checks

Following these tips will ensure you receive all the retirement income you’re entitled to — which might be more than you realize.

5 Medicare Mistakes to Avoid for a Healthy Retirement
5 Medicare Mistakes to Avoid for a Healthy Retirement

Medicare can be confusing. Beware these missteps — which can hike your costs.

How to Buy a Refrigerator, Step by Step
How to Buy a Refrigerator, Step by Step

Here’s how I got the perfect appliance at the perfect price.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?
Will I Get My Ex-Husband’s Social Security When He Dies?

Two factors determine how much money is coming to you.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on these familiar purchases. Yes, even pregnancy tests.

13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon
13 Brilliant Bulk-Buy Items on Amazon

Every household should have these products on hand. Buying them in bulk on Amazon saves you cash.

6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman
6 Reasons I Will Never Trust Suze Orman

Beware: The self-proclaimed personal finance expert has a track record that suggests more sizzle than steak.

This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked
This Type of Social Security Benefit Is Often Overlooked

The Social Security Administration is not helping certain people get money to which they are entitled, a report says.

Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia
Getting These 2 Shots Could Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

These vaccines may lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by up to 40%.

9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline
9 Everyday Problems You Can Solve With Vaseline

Forget expensive specialty products. Good ol’ petroleum jelly can address many common annoyances.

America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise
America’s Most Reliable Appliance Brand Is a Surprise

Have you heard of this appliance manufacturer?

16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
16 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret
19 Purchases That Buyers Almost Always Regret

Think twice before buying these things.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store

Not everything sold at dollar stores is a great bargain or a safe purchase. Here’s our list of products to avoid.

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

41 Things You Should Never Buy
41 Things You Should Never Buy

Some purchases are just plain dumb. Give yourself — and your budget — a break. Don’t spend money on this stuff.

9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price
9 Indestructible Products That Are Worth the Price

If you’re willing to pay a little more for these products, you may never have to shop for another again.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

Is a Second Stimulus Check Still Coming?
Is a Second Stimulus Check Still Coming?

The status of another round of direct payments to taxpayers is a mix of good and bad news.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.