health

How regularly do you actually need to be cleaning your house?

It doesn’t exactly top the list of ‘Best ways to spend spare time’, but unfortunately cleaning is kind of important if you want to adult.

But how often should you actually be cleaning your house? From your sheets to your toaster, it varies. A spoiler? Your quick weekly once-over doesn’t cut it. Rubber gloves at the ready, people.

Bathtub.

A 2008 study by scientists found that your bathtub is actually dirtier than your bin. Researchers found traces of satphylococcus bacter (a common cause of skin infections) in 26 per cent of bath tubs they tested compared to six per cent of trash cans. Its moist environment is the perfect place for bacteria to grow.

To combat this, experts recommend applying a disinfecting cleaner once a week and scrubbing. Then wash with water and dry with a clean towel.

Bathtime... not so innocent now, hey? Image: iStock

Bathroom towels.

We've all been guilty of only laying out clean towels when we're expecting guests and relying on one old faithful for regular use, but according to Mama's Laundry Talk, we should be cleaning them much more.

"It is best to wash bathroom towels every three to five times they are used", she says.

And no, that's not three to five days but times used. This is because while it cleans your body, it's collecting your dead skin cells which (surprise, surprise) build up.

Sheets.

You're not alone in your bed (and no, we're not talking about your partner or children). We shed up to three kilograms of skin each year, which attracts dust mites to our sheets. According to the Mayo Clinic, this means there could be anywhere from 100,000 to 2,000,000 dust mites sharing your bed. Delightful.

So rather than monthly, experts recommend washing all your bedding every one to two weeks. Consider it done.

Watch: Those Two Girls share their hilarious laundry hacks. Post continues after video.

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Kitchen counter.

Preparing food, its proximity to the kitchen sink (the dirtiest place in the house) and the plethora of items that get dumped on top, make this an area that needs cleaning daily. Yep, every day.

While how you do it depends on what material it's made of, it's recommended you wipe down with a clean sponge after every use.

Your kitchen counter sees a lot of action. Image: iStock

Pillow.

This one's in the interest of your health. An allergy study in 2005 from the University of Manchester took samples from pillows with between one and a half and 20 years of regular use and found several thousand spores of fungus per gram of pillow.

Even worse, pillows older than five years have twice as much mould in them compared to pillows less than two years old. Research also shows that after just one year of use, 10 to 15 per cent of your pillow’s weight may be made up of dust-mite waste. Breathing in all that? Let's just say it doesn't do wonders for your immune system.

According to Dr Michael Breus, a Clinical Psychologist and Sleep Specialist, people should replace their pillows every 18 months.

"But this can be longer for memory foam pillows. Regular poly fill or down fill pillows lose their structural integrity when your head is on them 365 days for six to eight hours. Another way to tell if you have a dead pillow is to fold it in half. If is springs back it is still good, "he says says.

Door handles.

Especially if you have young children around, your  handles need regular attention.

"There have been reports of harmful bugs (pathogens) that are found in faeces such as Hepatitis A and shigella, but they are actually more likely to be on taps and in the sink than on the toilet seat. It is the tap handles, the door handles, the continually wet surfaces that may harbour organisms," says Microbiologist and Director of Research of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University, Dr Ross Coppel.

These should be cleaned multiple times weekly. (Post continues after gallery.)

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Toaster.

Can't remember the last time you cleaned out your toaster? Maybe think about doing it tonight, particularly if you use it every day. Same deal with  your microwave - the cleaner it is, the longer it will last.

Wipe down the exterior once a week and (following the manufacturer's instructions) clean out the interior of all the gunk and crumbs monthly.

Carpet.

We hate to break it to you but vacuuming doesn't actually count as cleaning - you need to go deeper. This is because when carpets are loaded with grime, the dirt particles work like sandpaper, breaking down the fibres of the carpet everytime you walk on them.

According to Dean Carter, owner of Carter's Carpet Restoration in El Dorado Hills, California, you need to have it professionally cleaned with a steam clean once a year.

"This penetrates deep into the fibers and lifts out the dirt and the many pollutants we track in on our shoes. Also, it removes most of the moisture, so carpets dry fast, but always check with your carpet manufacturer before cleaning," he told Today.

Keyboard.

We spend a lot of time at the keyboard, even more so if it's the family computer so take a moment to think about how many hands... and where those hands might have been previously.

"Surfaces that get touched a lot are prime candidates for bacteria," says Dr Coppel.

Be sure to wipe down every week and try using a toothbrush to get in between the buttons.

Lighting fixtures.

A build up of dust will dull your lights. According to Martha Stewart, you should be lightly dusting weekly to get maximum brightness.

Air vents.

The vents easily get clogged up with dust, pollen and other allergens, especially during winter. Experts recommend vaccuming and cleaning once a month, and consider getting a professional to deep-clean the ductwork every three years.

Love or loathe cleaning?

Image: Colombia Pictures

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