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The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning & Disinfecting Your Home

Germs, dirt, dust, and mold! Inside your home right now, there are millions of microscopic pathogens living and thriving in every room. From the kitchen to the bathroom, the average American home is crawling with over 9,000 species of bacteria, mold spores, viruses, and other invisible houseguests. If you’re a germaphobe like us, you know just how important it is to (1) protect the health of your family and (2) keep your living space nice and tidy. With GermaFobe® Home Cleaning Products, wiping away harmful pathogens is easier than ever. In this Home Cleaning Guide, our team of expert cleaning professionals breaks down everything you need to know about home cleaning strategies, tools, and tips!

In this Home Cleaning Guide, our team of expert cleaning professionals breaks down everything you need to know about home cleaning strategies, tools, and tips! 

The 10 Dirtiest (and Germiest) Places in Your Home

Bacteria and mold thrive in warm, moist environments. Unfortunately, that means there are lots of places in our homes that are perfect for germs. As you move around the house during the day, you’re carrying thousands of these germs with you—from the bathroom to the kitchen, to the bedroom and everywhere else. Yuck! Recognizing the “germiest” places in your home is the first step of our Ultimate Home Cleaning Guide. Your cleaning strategy should prioritize certain areas of the home that act like petri dishes for harmful germs. Based on our research, your home is most likely to encounter buildups of dirt, dust, bacteria, and mold in the following places:

Kitchen Sink

best kitchen cleaner

If you ever competed in your school’s science fair, you’re likely aware that the kitchen sink is the single dirtiest place in the home. Think about the average day of a kitchen sink. It comes in contact with food scraps, dirty hands, and used cooking utensils, creating a warm, moisture-rich environment where everything can mix and marinate together. Gross, right? Everyday items like sponges and dish rags are especially dirty items. According to a study by the National Sanitation Foundation, Salmonella bacteria can be found on more than 75% of all sponges and dish rags. 

GermaFobe® Cleaning Tip: Once you’re done cleaning dishes after dinner, spray GermaFobe® Germ & Virus Killer around the kitchen sink. Let sit for about 10 minutes while the sanitizing solution works its magic. Use a clean paper towel to wipe away grime from the handle, faucet, and surrounding countertops. Also, spray the inside of the sink, let sit, and then wash away with warm water.

Toothbrush Holder

Toothbrush Holder

The average toothbrush holder is a receptacle for bathroom-related bacteria. Most toothbrush holders are located just a few feet from toilet bowls, exposing them to a spray of aerosols every time the toilet is flushed. Then, after brushing your teeth, your toothbrush drops an array of mouth-borne bacteria into the toothbrush holder. More than 60% of toothbrush holders contain mold and yeast spores. Even worse—about 25% of toothbrush holders contain coliform bacteria, a type of bacteria that’s found in the digestive tract!

 GermaFobe® Cleaning Tip: Most experts recommend cleaning your toothbrush holder at least once per week. There are two easy cleaning options here: (1) throw it in the dishwasher for a sudsy rinse, or (2) wipe it down with Germafobe® ONE-STEP™, a non-bleach cleaner that sanitizes the surface and protects it with an antimicrobial shield that lasts for up to one week.

Toilet Seats & Lids

Toilet Seats & Lids

You guessed it. Toilets are kind of gross. Cleaning and sanitizing the toilet definitely isn’t our “number one” option, but it’s an important part of maintaining a clean and safe living environment for your family. While most families regularly clean the inside of the toilet bowl, fewer clean around the rest of the toilet. Areas of the toilet like the underside of the seat and lid are coated with a layer of harmful bacterial invaders, including E. Coli. Fecal bacteria can be especially harmful to humans, so it’s important to disinfect the porcelain throne with high-powered cleaning supplies. 

GermaFobe® Cleaning Tip: At least once per week, spray a bleach-based cleaner to the base, lid, rim, and seat of the toilet. Wait a few minutes, and then wipe away with paper towels or a clean rag. For a powerful germ-fighting solution, Germafobe® Germ & Virus Killer eliminates 99.99% of harmful bacteria and viruses from around the toilet.

Bathroom Faucet

Bathroom cleaner

Once you’re done doing your business, you (hopefully!) walk over to the sink and turn on the faucet to wash your hands. The bathroom faucet is therefore a magnet for all the germs, grime, and oils on your fingertips. Bathroom faucets even encounter splatters of spit and mouth bacteria when you’re brushing your teeth. The average bathroom faucet contains a gross mixture of coliform bacteria and mold. So, when was the last time you cleaned your bathroom faucet? 

GermaFobe® Cleaners Tip: Our cleaning experts suggest cleaning your bathroom faucet at least once per week. Bleach-based disinfectant cleaners are highly effective against bathroom germs, so we recommend cleaners like GermaFobe® Germ & Virus Killer for a powerful microbe-fighting punch.

Kitchen Countertops

Kitchen Countertops

You may not realize it, but your kitchen countertops are teeming with food scraps, grease, and other reservoirs of microscopic intruders. When you slice fruits/vegetables or prepare raw meats in the kitchen, small amounts of food debris end up all over the countertops. Think about all the other items that end up in the kitchen: grocery bags, cups, dirty dishes, used silverware, keys, wallets, cell phones, and everything in between. This high-traffic area is home to a large variety of pathogens that could affect your kitchen hygiene. 

GermaFobe® Cleaning Tip: Never clean your countertops with a dirty dish rag or hand towel. These materials end up spreading contaminants even further across the countertops. Instead, at least once per day, apply a non-bleach surface disinfectant and wipe away with fresh paper towels. It only takes about 1 minute to clean your countertops! We recommend non-bleach cleaners to avoid any damage or discoloration to your countertop surfaces. Make sure you get those touch-to-reach spots as well, like corners and edges.

Stove Surface

Stove Surface

Everybody enjoys a warm, home-cooked meal—especially clusters of bacteria, mold, and mildew. Every time you toss chicken, vegetables or other foods into a hot pan, contaminants end up splattering all over the stovetop. If you run your finger across the top of your stove, you’ll likely find a thin oily film coating the surface. This is the perfect environment for harboring a smorgasbord of nasty bacteria. Cleaning your stovetop will enhance your food safety prep and make your kitchen look clean. Even better, wiping away oil and grease will reduce smelly food odors. 

GermaFobe® Cleaning Tip: After cooking, you should always wipe away grease, oil, and other food scraps from your stovetop. Don’t let these messes build up for days or weeks at a time, which could contribute to kitchen odor and poor food hygiene. Make sure your stove is turned off and at a safe temperature before engaging in any cleaning processes.

Pet Supplies

Pet Supplies 

Your pet maybe your best friend, but new research suggests that your pet’s furry coat is a mop for allergens, dust, and other microbes. Because pets also use their mouths for grooming their (umm…) private parts, any surfaces that come into contact with pet saliva could be contaminated with fecal bacteria and other gross particles. Dogs and cats can contribute to buildups of microbes inside your home, including pathogens like mites, ringworms, parasites, and fungi. The most pet-contaminated areas in your home might include food/water bowls, pet beds, and pet toys. 

GermaFobe® Cleaning Tip: Regular pet grooming is an important part of home hygiene. You should regularly clean your pet’s favorite areas of the house with an antibacterial disinfectant. Spray GermaFobe® ONE-STEP™ on pet bedding, pet supplies, and areas around your pet’s food bowl. This powerful non-bleach cleaner also eliminates pet odor.

Refrigerator Interior

Refrigerator

Bacteria and mold survive on a steady diet of organic materials. That means your refrigerator can act like a petri dish for growing nasty molds, mildews, and funguses. Inside your refrigerator right now (on the surfaces of drawers and shelves), tiny buildups of food scraps serve as a buffet for hungry bacteria. For instance, small droplets of sugary beverages provide a liquid oasis for pathogenic particles that can cause foodborne illnesses. While frigid temperatures generally inhibit the growth of bacteria, you should never eat food that has come in contact with bare refrigerator shelves or drawers.

GermaFobe® Cleaning Tip: Cleaning out your fridge is a hassle. At the same time, it’s one of the most important things you can do to boost your family’s food hygiene and sanitation. We recommend cleaning your fridge at least twice per month. Remove everything from the shelf or drawer, then apply a coat of GermaFobe® Germ & Virus Killer. Let sit for a few minutes and then wipe clean with a clean rag or paper towel. This simple cleaning solution will quickly eliminate harmful fridge contaminants.

Light Switches and Doorknobs

Light Switches

Light switches and doorknobs are used multiple times a day, everyday. As you move around the outside world, your hands come in contact with millions of bacterial particles. Then, when you arrive home after a long day of school or work, the first thing you do is touch the doorknob or light switch! These objects are rarely cleaned and they’re teeming with gross buildups of pathogens. 

GermaFobe® Cleaning Tip: Our cleaning experts recommend applying a disinfectant cleaner to doorknobs and light switches at least once per week. GermaFobe® ONE-STEP™ is the perfect all-purpose cleaner for these areas, because it creates a microbiostatic layer that inhibits bacterial and viral growth for up to a week.

Bathtubs and Showers

Bathtubs and Showers

Bacteria, mold, and mildew thrive in warm, moisture-rich environments. Can you guess which area of the house is the perfect fit for these conditions? That’s right—microbes love hanging out inside your bathtub and shower. Bacteria and mold are concentrated in areas that remain moist for hours after bathing: the showerhead, drain, soap holder, and bathmat. The worst part is that, if left untreated, these buildups of soap scum and mold can result in discolored tiles, making your shower look dirty and gross. 

GermaFobe® Cleaning Tip: Cleaning showers is notoriously difficult. There are so many crevices, cracks, and other tough-to-clean surfaces that a simple cleaning feels like it can take forever. To cut away at mold and hardened soap scum, we recommend a high-powered bleach disinfectant. Apply GermaFobe® Germ & Virus Killer, let stand for 10 minutes, and then scrub with a metal brush. Always wear gloves when scrubbing and cleaning these difficult surfaces.

How to Find the Right Disinfectant Solution For Your Home

There are hundreds of household disinfectant cleaners to choose from when shopping online or in-store. Selecting the right product is no easy task, especially considering the complex chemical makeup of sanitizing solutions and disinfectant solutions. Though it might sound silly, the disinfectant solution that you choose can have an enormous impact on your day-to-day life. For instance, your cleaning supplies ultimately affect: (a) the smell of your home to guests and visitors, (b) the germ and mold profile of your home, (c) the visual cleanliness of your living space, and (d) your exposure to allergens and other harmful pollutants. If you’re looking for an alternative to Lysol, you should carefully evaluate your selection of cleaning products to make they check the right boxes for you and your family. The most important factors in selecting your home disinfectant solution include:

Disinfectant Ability

Just about every sanitizing solution and disinfectant cleaner says that it kills 99.9% of harmful bacteria. But what does that mean? Let’s start with the basics. For most sanitizers and disinfectants, the product works by denaturing the external membrane (the “cell wall”) of bacteria, leading to a process called cell lysis that destroys the bacteria. The Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA”) has different regulations for both sanitizers and disinfectants, though some cleaners might qualify as both. In general, disinfectants are stronger than sanitizers. Sanitizers reduce the total amount of bacteria on a surface, while disinfectants eliminate bacteria from a surface. Sanitizing solutions are tested against only a few strains of extra-strong bacteria (like salmonella, e. coli, and staphylococcus), resulting in an efficacy rate of about 99.9%. On the other hand, disinfectant solutions are tested individually against a wider range of bacteria, resulting in an efficacy rate of 100%, as long as the disinfectant sits on the surface for the specified dwell time. Unlike sanitizers, disinfectants are also tested against viruses and fungi. Though they often share similar ingredients, disinfectants generally have a higher concentration of cleaning compounds. For this reason, disinfectants should never be used on food contact surfaces. Sanitizers, on the other hand, are frequently used on food preparation surfaces and in dishwashers (example: antibacterial dish soap). Disinfectants are used for more heavy-duty cleaning jobs and require 10 minutes of dwell time for 100% disinfectant coverage (example: concentrated bleach cleaners). Before choosing your home cleaning product, make sure you understand whether the cleaner is classified as a disinfectant, a sanitizer, or both. We stand behind GermaFobe® for disinfecting solutions.

Long-Lasting Bacterial Shield

Some, but not all, cleaning solutions are equipped with long-lasting bacterial protection, meaning that they continue to kill germs on the surface for hours or even days after application. Because most sanitizing solutions work retroactively (killing only existing bacteria on the surface), only specialized disinfectant cleaners work prospectively to repel bacteria in the future. GermaFobe® ONE-STEP™ is equipped with a long-lasting bacterial shield that protects surfaces for up to 7 days. Once dry, GermaFobe® ONE-STEP™ leaves behind a microscopic shield of salt-based molecules that dissolve the cell walls of bacteria. Because salt molecules are positively charged (+) and the cell walls of bacteria are negatively charged (-), these compounds are chemically attracted to one another, resulting in multi-day disinfectant protection. 

EPA-Registered Disinfectant

To ensure the quality of your at-home cleaning products, you should always double-check the product’s EPA registration status. EPA-registered disinfectant cleaners are verified to meet basic regulatory standards, including (1) that the product is properly labelled with its active ingredients and components, and (2) that the disinfectant has been scientifically tested to kill an array of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These products, called “List N Disinfectants”, can be searched on the EPA’s website here

Bleach vs. Non-Bleach Disinfectant 

Should you use a bleach or non-bleach disinfectant cleaner? This can be a tough question when choosing the right cleaning products for your home. Liquid bleach is highly effective against bacteria, viruses, mold, and other microscopic pathogens. Bleach is a mixture of sodium hypochlorite and water, and it is highly effective against pathogens even at low-dilution doses. In fact, even a 1-in-47 mixture (i.e., one-part concentrated bleach for every 47 parts water) is still effective against microbial agents. The problem is that bleach can result in discoloration of some surfaces, fabrics, and dyes. Therefore, it is important to make sure you’re using the right type of cleaning product for each area of your home. At GermaFobe®, we offer both bleach and non-bleach disinfectant cleaners so that you can find the perfect option for every surface.

Hard Surface vs. Soft Surface Disinfectant

In professional lingo, disinfectant cleaners specify whether they should be used on “non-porous” or “porous” surfaces. In other words, some cleaners are most effective on hard, smooth surfaces, while other cleaners can disinfect softer surface materials. To summarize:

  • Bleach-based disinfectant cleaners should only be used on hard, non-porous surfaces. Examples: countertops, porcelain, bathtubs, showers, plastic, metals, stainless steel, fiberglass, and ceramic. With bleach-activated disinfectant power, GermaFobe® Germ & Virus Killer is one of strongest disinfectant solutions available. 
  • Non-bleach disinfectant cleaners can be used of a wider range of surfaces, including both porous and non-porous materials. Examples: carpet, upholstery, wood, and drywall. Non-bleach disinfectant solutions can also be used on non-porous surfaces like countertops, porcelain, stainless steel fiberglass, and ceramic. GermaFobe® ONE-STEP™ can be used in just about every room of the house. Spray it on your carpet or on your kitchen countertops for an all-in-one home disinfectant cleaner. 

How To Clean and Disinfect Carpet: It’s no secret that carpet is a magnet for dirt, dust, bacteria, pollen, mold, pet dander, and other in-home allergens. With GermaFobe® ONE-STEP™, cleaning and disinfecting your carpet just got easier. It works in TWO easy steps. (1) First, vacuum your carpet thoroughly to remove as many particles as possible. (2) Second, spray the carpet thoroughly with GermaFobe® ONE-STEP™ and let sit for at least 10 minutes. That’s it! This fast-acting carpet disinfectant will eliminate carpet odors and carpet germs.

Develop a Disinfectant Schedule With GermaFobe®

For a full home cleaning schedule, the bacteria-fighting experts at GermaFobe® have compiled the following “Home Cleaning Frequency Chart” below. Please note that your cleaning schedule may require modification based on the size of your family and the number of pets in your home. For instance, if you have several dogs around the house, you may want to clean upholstery more frequently in order to minimize pet dander and pet-related bacteria. Similarly, if you have young children around the house, you may want to increase the frequency of bathroom and kitchen cleaning.

GermaFobe - Germ Chart

Our Top Products

At GermaFobe®, we understand just how important it is to find the right cleaning products for your family. So, we set out to make the best disinfectant solutions ever! Our top home disinfectant products are tough on grease, grime, odors, bacteria, viruses, and other harmful pathogens lurking inside your home. Order now and see why more families are choosing GermaFobe®!

GermaFobe Disinfecting Germ & Virus Killer
GermaFobe ONE-STEP™

A high-powered, bleach-based cleaner for bathrooms, kitchens, and other hard surfaces!

Our all-in-one cleaner for carpets, upholstery, kitchens, bathrooms, and more!