Maximize Your Spring Cleaning: 8 Spots that Need a Good Scrub

If you want to streamline your spring cleaning, here are eight germ-ridden places in your home that are in desperate need of your attention

Credit: sjlocke

This spring, focus your scrubbing and polishing on these germ-heavy places to maximize your cleaning efficiency

Thank goodness for spring cleaning. If it wasn’t for this annual period of junk expungement, who knows how many old newspapers, ratty sneakers, or mounds of dust would currently be occupying your place of residence.

But when it comes to spring cleaning, many of us only have so much time to give to tidying, so where do you begin? Where should your spic & span skills be focused? In a perfect world, you’d be cleaning these spots regularly, but if you’re only doing a mass cleanup once a year, you need to get the most bleach for your buck.

Luckily, when it comes to cleaning, some places are more deserving of your attention than others. And while you might think that the toilet should be the beginning and end of your cleaning adventures, there are other, less advertised spots that are much bigger germ magnets.

Kitchen Sink

Remember that toilet we said you don’t have to worry about? The reason you can put it on the back burner is because studies say the average kitchen sink holds more germs than the porcelain throne.

Sinks can be a hotbed of germs and bacteria thanks to frequent interaction with food particles from dirty dishes. These germs can be transferred to your hands or even your food. Make sure you pay special attention to your sink’s sponge, which soaks up germs like nobody’s business. Change sponges and dish towels/cloths regularly to eliminate massive buildup of germs in a high-usage section of your home.

Toothbrush Holder

Do you only replace your toothbrush after a visit to the dentist? That’s not going to cut it.
Most studies agree that you should change your toothbrush every three months.

Because your toothbrush and toothbrush holder are in close proximity to the toilet, things can get dicey pretty quickly. Every time you flush your toilet (this is going to get gross), little bits of fecal matter get launched into the air, where they float for awhile before settling on your bathroom sink, where your toothbrush resides. You know, the brush you put in your mouth. So make sure you swap things up regularly.

Washing Machine

The washing machine is often neglected when it comes time for cleaning, but it should be near the top of your list this year, as recent studies claim that every washing machine load contains up to 100 million E.coli bacteria.

The shift toward washing clothes at lower temperatures gives bacteria a chance to breed in a small area that is constantly exposed to dirt, old food and dust. Once you‘ve cleaned the washing machine (running a complete wash with vinegar seems to do the trick) wash your clothes at a high temperature to prevent germ buildup.

Computer Keyboard

If you’re like most people, your computer desk is a high-traffic zone, a place where you work, eat, play, and procrastinate. So if you look at your keyboard, you shouldn’t be surprised to see a collection of stains, smudges, crumbs, dust, and other unfriendly looking bits.

But it’s the stuff you can’t see that will keep you up at night: streptococcus, salmonella, and E.coli are just some of the nasty things making a home of your keyboard. Considering your hands are constantly touching the keyboard, and those hands touch your face around 18 times an hour on average, the cleaner those keys are, the better.

This fantastic keyboard cleaning guide is extremely thorough.

Shower Curtain

With all the focus on cleaning in the bathroom is generally on the bathtub, it’s really the shower curtain that should be getting a replacement/scrub down. While most people will wash their tub on a semi-regular basis, the curtain is often ignored, even though the dirt and grime sloughing off your body lands on the curtain every day.

Soap scum contains pathogens like Sphingomonas and Methylobacterium (those sound terrifying!) that can be launched into the air by water spraying off your body.


If washing the sheets is the end-all-be-all when it comes to cleaning your bed, check out this quote from microbiologist Philip Tierno, PhD, in his book The Secret Life of Germs: “I can think of no single place that challenges a person immunologically day in and day out than a mattress.”

Your mattress is a sponge for bodily fluids (don’t think about it too hard) and dead skin cells, and can be a habitat for bacteria and mold. So break out the vacuum and give your mattress a thorough once-over.


With some reports declaring that most carpets house around 200,000 bacteria per square inch, your rug is deserving of some much-needed attention. Whether it’s dead skin cells, spilled food and drink, pet hair or dust, the carpet is a Pu Pu platter of undesirable bits that could negatively affect your health.

You should be vacuuming at least once a week, but once a year a thorough carpet cleaning is in order. Spring cleaning is the perfect excuse to pull out the big guns.


Once you’ve vacuumed your mattress and carpet, turn your attention toward the vacuum itself. All those gross things you’ve sucked up from your bed and floor? They’re now renting out the inside of your vacuum.

Make sure to give vacuum brushes and bags a healthy cleaning, and swap out the filter if it’s starting to resemble Chewbacca.