Wash or Toss: 6 Everyday Items You Are Probably Forgetting To Clean

Young Man Wiping Table with Paper Towel in KitchenCertain commonly used household items are often forgotten about when you do you weekly (or monthly) apartment cleaning. Think sponges, shower curtains, A/C filters. These items can get just as dirty and bacteria-ridden as your toilet, but are you cleaning them enough?  Here is a quick guide on when to replace, wash or toss as few everyday items.


The CDC recommends that you microwave your sponges each night for 30 seconds or place them in the hot cycle in your dish washer.   If you sponge starts to fall apart or gets a little smelly, toss it out.  Also make sure you completely wring out the sponges after every use.  A wet sponge is a breeding ground for bacteria.

A/C Filter:

A dirty air conditioning filter not only can increase the amount of electricity you consume, but it can also push dust into the air and cause allergies or breathing problems.  During heavy a/c consumption months you should clean the filter about once a month (more if you have a dog or cat).  To clean: soak the filter in a solution that is one part water, one part vinegar, then rinse with water and thoroughly dry before putting back in the a/c. You should toss the filter and buy a new one once a year.

Shower Curtain:

Shower curtains can easily get mildew.  Make sure to wash your shower curtain or liner at least every couple of months or when you see mildew build up (this can look like black or brown spots).  Wash the curtain with a bleach solution or place in your washing machine with regular detergent and a couple of towels.  Toss the shower curtain if the mildew stains do not come off when washed. Bonus tip: If the tile in the shower area is looking dingy, try a product called CLR Cleaner.

Baking Soda in the Fridge:

Keeping an open container of baking soda in your refrigerator is a great way to deal with food odors.  But in order to work its magic, you need to replace the baking soda every month. Bonus tip: Pour the old one down the kitchen drain to give it a little refresh.

Mattress Pad:

You wash your sheets every week, but what about your mattress pad?  Good Housekeeping says you only need to wash your mattress pad a few times a year, or more if you have pets or allergies. Toss out your mattress pad when there are obvious signs of damage like rips or stains. Bonus tip: While the mattress pad is in the wash, vacuum the mattress.

TV Remote:

Everyone touches the TV remote, so it is important to disinfect it, especially during flu season. To clean, first remove the batteries, then wet a paper towel or cloth with rubbing alcohol and wipe down the whole remote.


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Author My First Apartment

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Jennie is a recent business school graduate living in NYC. She lives with a roommate in a quaint 2 BR brownstone apartment. Jennie is currently working as a start-up/digital marketing consultant while looking for a full time job. She loves bargains and her guilty pleasure is reading the DailyMail.com.

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Comments (1)

  1. Avatar John Donovan

    Although most of us have a designated cleaning schedule to handle the basics, there are still some things that slip through the cracks. It’s also important to clean things like vents on a regular schedule, and to remember to replace any sponges used for cleaning. I like to keep track of all my cleaning tasks in a big household calendar.