18 September 2011

The Dreaded Cleaning .....

Natural Cleaning Materials

Instead of using all those 'nasty chemicals' as we used to call them, here are a few ideas for cleaning, using things which are less likely to cause a reaction - and don't leave a synthetic smell pervading the place.

1  A good all-purpose cleaner: Mix equal parts water & white vinegar in a spray bottle.

Why This Works: The acetic acid in vinegar kills viruses, germs, bacteria and mold. It also dissolves tough mineral deposits and stains like those found in sinks, toilets and tubs. This mixture can also be used as a cleaning solution in steam cleaners for carpets. However: Do not use on marble, and also test on a small area before using on finished wood surfaces or tiles.

2  A Scented All-purpose Cleaner
1/4 cup of dish washing soap
1/4 cup of white vinegar
2 tsp of Borax*

3 1/2 cups of hot water
Lemon or citrus essential oil (5-6 drops or more)
This can be used in every room of the house.
* no longer available due to EU regulations, so try Borax substitute (http://www.greencleansolution.co.uk/blog/uncategorised/what-on-earth-is-borax-and-what-does-it-do/)

3  Homemade Spot Remover
Mix white vinegar and baking soda together to form a paste. Then, work the paste into the carpet stain with an old toothbrush, or something similar. Allow the paste to dry; then vacuum up the baking soda, and the stain should be gone.
You can also sprinkle baking soda directly on carpet, let sit for 15 minutes and vacuum up to eliminate carpet odors.  However: Some stains may need to be treated more than once.


1. Test on a small area before using on the entire carpet and, as with any cleaner, you should avoid all contact with the eyes and prolonged contact with the skin

4  Furniture Polish Recipe
1 cup cheap olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice


  1. Combine olive oil and lemon juice in a bowl or spray bottle.
  2. Before use shake the bottle.
  3. Use a clean cloth to rub a small amount of the polish into your furniture.
  4. Wipe dry with another cloth.

Tips and Warnings

  1. Do not reuse spray bottles that have contained other chemicals
  2. Smaller batches can be made, if you prefer to use fresh polish each time you dust.
5  All-natural Bleach
Replace that bulky bleach jug with something better: a lemon.

To Whiten Clothes: Add a cup of lemon juice to the wash cycle to boost the whitening action of your laundry detergent.

To Remove Stains From Clothing: Pour lemon juice over the stain. Then, rub the area with salt; and place the garment out in the sun for several hours. Wash as usual.

To Remove Stains From Countertops and Other Hard Surfaces:  Create a paste of lemon juice and baking soda. Then, apply the mixture to the stain, and allow it to sit for several hours. Wipe clean, and the stain should be gone.

Note: Some stains may require a second treatment.

To Sanitize:

Rub half of a lemon over the surface that needs to be sanitized, or apply lemon juice straight from the bottle. Then rinse with water.

Tips and Warnings:

  1. Do not clean marble surfaces with lemon. This can lead to etching.
  2. Use a paste of lemon juice and baking soda to remove stains from plastic storage containers.
Thanks about.com!

See also http://fabulesslyfrugal.com/category/fab-frug-friday

If none of the above works, here's an A to Z Spring Cleaning Special

Acrylic baths (or perspex): wash with warm warter and detergent, using a soft cloth.  Scourers will scratch the surface.  Remove small scratches with liquid metal polish.
Aluminium pans: dissolve 1 tsp cream of tartare in 1 pint water in the pan, bring to the boil, simmer for two minutes. Rinse.  Granny's remedy:  Brighten pans by boiling apple or lemon trimmings in them.

Bamboo: vacuum clean, or wipe over with a just-damp cloth.  Rub linseed oil in bamboo.  Granny's remedy: clean dirty patches with a thimbleful of ammonia in soapy water.  Rinse and dry well.
Barbecues: Natural way is bicarb, left on overnight, followed by serious elbow grease.
Baths: see Acrylic and Enamel.
Brass: if lacquered, simly dust.  Otherwise rub with a wedge of lemon.  Rinse and polish with a chamois leather.  For antique brass rub with lemon oil (from chemists), polish gently.
Bronze: Dust. If unlacquered wipe with soft cloth wrung out in soapy water, rinse and dry well.  Don't treat lacquered bronze that's peeling or antique bronze with a patina.  Granny's remedy: dab bad areas with 1 part vinegar to 10 parts water. Rinse.

Cane: See bamboo. For untreated cane hose down once a year in the sun.
Carpets: Dry shampoo a carpet by sprinkling with salt, cornflour or oatmeal, leve for two hours, then vacuum.  For odours sprinkle with bicab, leave for a bit, then vacuum up.
Ceramic tiles: wash down with half a cup of vinegar in a gallon of warm water. For grouting use dilute bleach (1 tsp in a cup of water), applied with a toothbrush.  Perhaps use the 'natural bleach' mentioned above?
Chrome: Bathroom accessories can be protected from rust with a thin film of Vaseline.  Wipe chrome taps over with a soft cloth moistened with paraffin.  Remove stains by rubbing with a damp cloth dipped in bicarb.  Wipe over with a dry cloth.  I have also heard that toothpaste is good for cleaning chrome.
Coconut matting: Shake mats outside, or vacuum, to remove dust.  Wash in salt water (don't use soap), add a small amount of ammonia to remove grease.  Treat any marks with methylated spirits.
Copper: If lacquered, wash in warm soapy water, use a soft cloth to dry.  Do not polish.  Remove stains with a mixture of hot vinegar and salt.  Wash off immediately in plenty of water or worse stains could result.  Green stains come off using soapsuds with a few drops of ammonia added.
Corian*: Wash down with soapy water.   Remove fruit juice stains or scratches with abrasive cleaners, plastic scouring pads or very fine sandpaper. (* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corian)
Cork flooring: Remove dust and any grease then apply Cuprinol's Enhance Clear for Interior Floors, or wipe with damp cloth.
Cut glass: Wash in warm water and detergent, using a soft brush to get into crevices.  Dry, polish it with a silver cloth.  Soak badly stained cut glass in washing-up water, adding a few drops of ammonia.

Decanters:  Fill with water, add a denture tablet, allow to dissolve, then leave overnight.  Rinse well.  Granny's remedy:  Swirl vinegar and coarse cooking salt in the decanter.  Wash and rinse well.
Drains:  Flush sink with hot water after use to remove grease.  Dissolve washing soda in boiling water and pour down sink.
Dralon:  Mop up spills wih absorbant paper or cloth, sponge stain lightly with warm water or dry foam upholstery shampoo, dry completely, then brush away gently.

Enamelware: Wash in hot water and detergent.  Do not scour as htis will damage the surfce.  Granny's remedy: For pans with burnt-on food, fill with water, add 2 tsp bicarb, then boil. Wash thoroughly, removing all traces of soda.
Enamel baths:  Use washing-up liquid and water, rinse and dry off with a soft cloth.

Fabric wallcoverings:  Vacuum  clean. Rub spots with stale white bread.
Fireplaces:  If stone, wipe over with water only.  Remove stains with cleaning powder or bleach, rinse then dry. Scrape off bad stains with a pumice stone.
For brick, clean with water only - detergents and soap leave a scum.  If badly stained, wash with neat vinegar then rinse thoroughly.
For cast iron stoves and fireplaces, apply stove blacking with a soft brush, then polish off using a medium-stiff brush or soft cloth.
Formica workshops (plastic laminate): Wipe over with hot,soapy water.  Apply paste of bicarb and water to stains, rub off after two minutes.
French polish:  If in doubt consult a professional.  Use wax polish.  Treat marks by wiping quickly and gently with cotton-wool soaked in methylated spirits.  On scratches try Colron Scratch Remover which comes in six wood colours.  Granny's remedy:  Remove white rings on dark wood by rubbing on cigarette ash mixed with vegetable oil.  Rub light wood with a brazil nut kernel.

Glass (see also cut glass and decanters):  wash in hot soapy water, rinse and drain dry.  If stained, soak in warm soapy water, adding a few drops of ammonia.
Grouting: see Ceramic tiles.

Hobs:  Wipe marks off as soon as possible.  Clean with biological laundry detergent, rinse and dry.  
Solid fuel hot plates (such as Aga) can be cleaned with a stiff wire bruch.  Clean enamel parts with hot water and detergent.

Irons:  Remove starch from sole plate by gently rubbing with a nylon scourer.
Ivory: Dust frequently, and keep white by placing in sunlight.  Granny's remedy: Dirty ivory comes clean with a wipe-over with methylated spirits (not advisable on valuables).

Jars:  Wash in soapy water.  Granny's remedy: To banish strong pickle smells, fill jar with cold water, add a teaspoon of bleach or a tablespoon of salt, and leave overnight.

Kettles: Half fill badly-scaled kettles with equal quantities of vinegar and water, boil, cool, then rinse.
Knives, carbon steel: Wash immediately after use and always dry thoroughly.  A cork dipped in scouring powder and run along the blade will remove vinegar, fruit, onion and raw potato stains.  Rinse well and dry.  Wipe over with vegetable oil.  Never immerse knife handles in water (see also silver and stainless steel).

Linoleum:  Wash over with warm soapy water without scrubbing.  Granny's remedy:  Remove marks with steel wool dipped in turpentine.
Leather: Apply leather cleaner in a circular movement, small areas at a time.  Clean off with a soft cloth.  Apply leather cream, buff while wet.

Marble:  wash with water and detergent, then polish with a soft cloth. Granny's remedy: treat stains with lemon juice, then rinse.  For antique marble conslt a professional.
Microwave ovens: clean according to manufacturer's instructions.  
Mirrors: put a few drops of methylated spirits onto a damp cloth, wipe over mirror, then polish with a soft dry cloth.  Keep the backing and frame dry as water damages the silvering. Granny's remedy: Wash over then buff up with damp newspaper.

Net curtains:  carefully hand-wash or machine wash on 'delicates'. Do not rub or wring.  Prevent creasing by pegging out to dry with the curtain wire running through the hem.
Non-stick pans: wash in detergent and water.  Don't use scourers or harsh abrasives.  If they become stained, fill pans with water.  For each half pint of water add a quarter pint of vinegar and 2 tbsp bicarb. Boil for 15 minutes and stains should just wipe away.  Rinse well.

Ovens:  For ovens without self-clean linings put 1 tbsp caustic soda into a pint of hot water (do not pour the water onto the soda, it's dangerous!).  Wear thick rubber gloves while you swab the solution around the oven.  Leave for at least 30 minutes - or overnight - wipe clean, then rinse.

Paint - emulsion:  wash with washing-up liquid and water, starting atbottom of wall and owrking up (dirt trickling down a waet wall won't mark it).  Gently remove grease spatters with a plastic scourer.

Paint - gloss:  Dust. Wash with warm soapy water and then rinse.
Pewter:  washin soapy water, then dry.  On non-valuable pieces, finest grade steel wool dipped in olive oil removes spots.  Using oil prevents scratching.
Pine:  Use stiff brush and scouring powder to scrub ingrained dirt from waxed pine tables.  Apply beeswax polish. Dust varnished pine or wipe with damp cloth.  Granny's remedy:  Pine with a good shine needs an occasional wipe with a cloth damped with equal parts of vinegar and paraffin.
Plastic: see Acrylic baths and Formica.

Quarry tiles:  mop over unsealed tiles with liquid abrasive cleaner.  Granny's remedy: white patches can be removed by washing with one tablespoon winegar in one pint of water.  Don't rinse off.

Rattan: see Bamboo.
Roller blinds: if washable, sponge with detergent solution or take down, scrub with soapy water, rinse and roll up when dry.  Spray on stiffener if needed.  Use a soft pencil rubber on spots.  For non-washable blinds, rub with a slice of fresh bread or rub over with flour on a dry flannel.
Rubber flooring:  for a non-slip clean, wash with soapy water, rinse.  Strip old seal with Nova Starbrite, and maintain with Nova Care.

Silver:  Place a piece of aluminium foil in a plastic washing-up bowl.  Lay silver on the foil, add three tablespoons bicarb and pour over two pints boiling water.  When the bubbling stops, remove silver, rinse and dry well.  Don't immerse handles that are not made of silver.
Sinks - ceramic:  if hot pans have damaged the surface, try dabbing at marks with neat methylated spirits.
Sinks - enamel: after use wipe surface dry.  For a thorough clean use cream cleaner for bathroom sand kitchens.
Sinks - stainless steel:  rinse, rub dry after use.  Use washing up liquid on stubborn marks.
Sinks - synthetic: for general cleaning and stains use a weak solution of biological washing powder or bleach.  Stubborn organic stains can be removed by filling sink with a solution of biological washing powder and leaving overnight.
Slate:  clean with a solution of washing soda and water, rinse.  Granny's remedy: Wipe over with milk for a shiny finish.
Stainless steel:  for individual items such as cutlery, wash thoroughly then polish with a soft dry cloth.  Shine surfaces ot in contact with food by rubbing with newspaper.
Stone Scrub unsealed floors with washing soda or detergent solution.  Strip old seal and ingrained dirt with HG Remover, wait seven days, apply HG Green Pollish. Seal with HG Golvpolish and maintain with HG Superfloor. 

Tapestry: carefully vacuum.  If still soiled, shake on some fuller's earth (for dark coloured tapestries) or French chalk (for pale ones), work in with fingers.  Leave overnight, shake, then use a soft clean brush to remove powder.
Taps: see Acrylic baths, Brass, Chrome.  Wipe over with a dry cloth.

Upholstery: Vacuum cushions and crevices.  Blot or scrape up spills as they occur.

Venetian blinds: soak a cotton glove in detergent and warm water, wear it to clean the blinds, running fingers along each slat.  Granny's remedy: Use L-shaped crusts of fresh bread to clean each slat.
Vinyl flooring:  Wash with warm soapy water, rub stains gently with wire wool or scourer sponge.  Scuff marks can be rubbed away with a soft eraser.
Vinyl - upholstery: add vinegar or bicarb to a rough, damp cloth, wipe, then wash with warm soapy water.  Wipe with clean, damp cloth, buff up.
Vinyl - wallcoverings: Working from floor upwards, use mild wahsing up liquid solution on small areas at a time, rinse and dry before working on next bit.

Wallpaper:  brush gently. Rub marks gently with stale bread or a soft pencil rubber.
Wicker: See Bamboo.
Windows: Use plain hot water and a little paraffin on the cleaning clotyh to remove dirt and flies.  Choose a dull day to clean windows, if the sun dries them too quickly they'll streak.  Alternatively wash windows with vinegar and water, polish with newspaper.
Wood flooring:  on sealed floors, vacuum, sweep or mop.  Reseal if needed.  On polished floors apply wax polish.

Xtractor fans: non-electric plastic fans can be totally removed from the window for washing.  Wash in hot water with a dash of ammonia added to strip off the grease.
For electric fans, turn off at mains, remove grille and  wash in warm doapy water.  Wipe blades.  Do not remove or wash blades or motor.

Yucky shower curtains.  If they're slimy and washable, soak in water, adding a few drops of ammonia, then machine wash.  Rub mildewed areas with lemon juice.  To prevent mildew reforming, soak curtains in salted water, wash as above and dry completely before rehanging them.

Zealous: spring cleaners need to know how to clean their tools.  Wash brooms and brushes in soapy water, rinse and hang up to prevent bristles squashing out of shape.  Wash pure bristles in soapy water with added salt.  Machine wash dusters and cloths.  Rinse out mops after use, wash in soapy water, rinse thoroughly, then allow dry before putting away.


Round the house cleaning tips

  • Wind down stores in the fridge and freezer prior to defronting - instead of worrying about where to put melting food, you can then concentrate on cleaning.
  • Empty kitchen units, one area at a time.  Starting at the top, clean the insides then the outsides of cupboards, then put things back.  Work your way around the kitchen; avoid backtracking.
  • Now's the time to do small DIY tasks, such as putting up hooks or brackets, and making minor repairs.  Any mess with be cleared up as you continue cleaning.
  • Leave the oven 'til last. Apply the oven cleaner while you clean the rest of the house.  By the time you've finished, the cleaner will have been on long enough.
  • Seize the opportunity to sort out clothes for jumble or charity shops when you clean the wardrobe.  It obviously takes half the time to put back half the amount.
  • Strip beds and turn mattresses, leave the bed unmade until cleaning is complee - it'll give mattresses a chance to air.
  • Save energy - get the children to give the rugs a beating.
  • Finish with the floor - remember, if you shampoo the carpet the room is unusuable for several hours!
Living/Dining Room
  • Stack all the furniture at one end of the room and thus tackle the chores in two halves.
  • Ten minutes spent moving pictures, mirrors and curtains now means less tijme waster later when you're busy dusting and washing down the ceilings, walls and windows.
  • If the children get under your feet keep them down there.  They can get busy cleaning the skirting for you.
  • Don't worry about fallen dust and debris - clean the floor last!
  • Wash down all surfaces using the washbasin as your bucket - it's easier to change the water this way.
  • For a clean bill of health, wqash out the cabinet and wipe containers, throwing out those that have served their purpose, or passed their use-by date.
  • While children are in the shower, arm them with a brush, then turn on the spray . . . they'll clean themselves and the shower all in one go. 
  • Clean the loo last . . . a multitude of germs lurk here and they shouldn't be spread elsewhere.
An interesting site: http://pinterest.com/monajean1/cleaning-make-it-yourself/

To get felt tip pen off a carpet - spray with shaving foam and then immediately vacuum up!

And this is really interesting ...: http://greatist.com/health/21-germiest-places-youre-not-cleaning

Here is an excerpt:

People avoid touching the obviously dirty things — toilet bowls, garbage cans, anything in a public restroom. But for every well-known nasty, there are a host of under-the-radar threats we put in our mouths, roll around on all night, and regularly rub on our faces. In an effort to keep clean, happy, and healthy, here are 21 surprisingly dirty things and what to do about them.


SpongesIt's easy for bacteria and food particles to get trapped in the crevasses of sponges, creating ideal conditions for bacteria to breed. Moist and dark — what else could bacteria ask for?!
What to do: Try antibacterial sponges and dish soaps to limit the lesser of bacteria evils — but neither are very effective at controlling the spread of big name baddies like E. Coli and Salmonella.  Be extra safe by disinfecting sponges at least once a week by soaking in a bleach solution for five minutes, or microwaving on high for two minutes. (The microwave method has even been shown to kill 99 percent of bacteria!)

Kitchen Buttons, Knobs, and HandlesTaking something from the fridge, grabbing spices from the cabinet, preheating the oven, zapping something in the microwave — a lot goes into cooking a meal, including any bacteria from that raw chicken or unwashed produce.  
What to do: To minimize the risk, some experts recommend using a disinfectant on any frequently used kitchen surfaces several times a day, especially before and after preparing a meal. Keep it carefree by keeping antibacterial wipes right on the counter for easy access.

Cutting Boards:With all the ingredients flying around that kitchen, it's hard to keep designated cutting boards for each type of food. (Fresh veggies tossed on a board right after a raw steak probably isn't such a good idea). Scientists debate whether wood or plastic makes for a better board: Plastic boards seem safer and easier to clean (because they're not porous), but once they're scored from repeated slicing, it's hard to clean the microscopic grooves.
What to do: Keep plastic boards clean by regularly running through the dishwasher (or washing with near-boiling water if the dishwasher isn't an option). Consider microwaving wooden ones to get the bad guys out. Let both boards air-dry completely before storing to minimize potential bacteria growth. But since the research is really mixed, just be sure to replace heavily nicked boards regularly.


Pillows:  Pillows aren’t just packed with feathers — turns out they can also be home to several types of allergy-inflaming fungi (Ick.) And all those hours spent sweating, shedding skin, and drooling like a sheepdog also create ideal conditions for dust mites, another potential allergy trigger.
What to do: In addition to regularly laundering bedding (specific instructions below), anti-allergen covers can help protect pillows from outside germs getting in and keep the sneezy stuff (down, anyone?) inside [8].

SheetsTake all the reasons to be worried about pillows and add sweat to the tune of up to one litre a night.
What to do: Washing and drying everything on the highest heat possible is a good policy, but regular bleaching is a good idea, too. (In fact, studies suggest a good hot wash and dose of bleach will not only kill bacteria on the cloth, but also cleans out the machine so germs aren't continuously spread around.)


Laundry Bag: All the grime from sweaty workout gear, underwear, and bedding sits in that laundry bag, soiling the hamper itself.
What to do: Try using one bag for dirty clothes and one for the clean stuff, and wash the dirty bag along with the clothes. For hard plastic hampers, use any hard surface disinfectant, but be wary of anything with the potential to discolour (i.e. bleach).

Makeup and Makeup Brushes: People shouldn’t get diseases from getting dolled up, but cosmetics have been known to do just that! Eye makeup seems to be the greatest cause for concern: apparently after as little as three months of use, 40 percent of tested mascara tubes had some creepy crawlies growing in them.
What to do: A good rule of thumb is to replace eye makeup every season; toss lotions and liquid foundation every six months; and get fresh power-based products, lipstick, and nail polish every two years.

Toothbrushes: Studies have found that flushing the toilet can spew bathroom-related bacteria into the air. (Ick!) Needless to say, it's a good idea to store toothbrushes far away from the potential contaminants (and close the lid before flushing!).
What to do: Firstly make sure to rinse toothbrushes thoroughly after use, allow them to dry completely, and replace every three to four months. And while they don't deem sanitizing necessary, they do discourage sharing toothbrushes. That said, for those who were recently sick (or are sickened by the thought of germs) rinsing in a mild bleach solution is an effective disinfectant, as is running toothbrushes through the dishwasher.

TowelsWe shower to get clean, so it’d be silly to get dirty drying off. But reusing damp bath towels could be doing just that! Drying down after the shower doesn't just get rid of the excess water — it takes with it dead skin cells and bacteria, too.
What to do: The risks are low if towels are changed out about once a week and are allowed to dry completely between uses.

Bath MatBath mats sit there, soaked with shower water and pressed up against the floor, slowing evaporation and providing the dark, damp environment mould and bacteria love. Add to that the fact bathroom floors have been shown be one of the most contaminated parts of the bathroom (toilet bowl excluded, of course) and it’s obvious why we should put some brainpower towards that bath mat.
What to do: Launder mats once per week on the highest heat and with bleach (if possible — defer to the mat’s washing instructions, especially if it has rubber backing). And (clearly) keep separate from any bedding or clothes.  Wooden mats may be an easier option, since surface disinfectants can replace regular laundering, but it’s important to remember to disinfect the floor to avoid re-infecting a clean mat.


HeadphonesThose little buds aren’t just at risk from what they pick up in the bottom of that gym bag — using them for just one hour has been shown to coat headphones with bacteria from the ear.
What to do: Using water with electronic accessories is tricky, but audiophiles can clean detachable rubber nubbins (technical term) by soaking them for 15 minutes in a vinegar and water solution and letting them sit for 10 more minutes in water before drying. For the un-detachable kind a gentle mixture of soap and water should be used on the plastic exterior, and a clean toothbrush can remove any lint from the grill.

Keys: Anyone who drives — or just plans on returning home at the end of the day — probably has some in their pocket, but who thinks about keeping keys clean?
What to do: The fact that many keys are made of brass, a copper alloy, offers some protection because it's naturally antibacterial. But occasionally scrubbing keys with plain ol' soap or using a disinfectant probably won’t hurt, and at the very least shining them up offers some aesthetic benefits.

Handbags: A study of office workers found that women's handbags were one of top three dirtiest things they touched throughout the day.
What to do: Common sense (don’t rest it on the bathroom floor) and regular cleaning are enough to minimize risk. Wipe leather handbags with a disinfectant wipe every few days, and put washable ones through the laundry (or send to the dry cleaner) as often as once per week.

PhoneStudies have repeatedly cited mobile phones as risk factors for infection, and we largely have our own unwashed hands to blame.
What to do: The clean up is simple: wipe with a disinfectant cloth at least once a week.

Gym Bag: If it’s regularly being packed with sweaty shirts that have been exposed to all manner of germs from the gym, why don't we wash it as often as the clothes themselves? 
What to do: Consider storing dirty clothes in a separate mesh pouches or a sealable plastic bag (just make sure not to forget and let it fester) for transporting. Empty and air out bag between uses to limit bacteria growth. But the bag itself is likely getting left on locker room floors, which are known to harbour infectious microbes, so give it a once-over with disinfectant wipes and send through the wash on the hottest setting once per week.

ShoesStudies have found shoes can track significant amounts of bacteria indoors, infecting clean floors [28] [29]. Some research has found shoes to more specifically transport E. coli and bacteria that can cause pneumonia. And it's no surprise — sidewalks certainty aren't regularly disinfected!
What to do: There’s no perfect solution, but an easy fix one study suggests instituting a no-shoes policy inside the house [30].
Water Bottle
Staying hydrated and healthy seem to go hand in hand, but be wary — coliform bacteria (which E. coli falls under!) can coat the inside of reusable plastic bottles if they’re not cleaned carefully [31]. In fact one study of students’ water bottles found they were so dirty that, had the water come from the tap, the government would have classified it as unfit to drink [32]!
What to do: Choose a wide-mouthed bottle for easier cleaning and drying, and opt for a hard material that won’t get scratched during vigorous cleaning (like stainless steel). In addition to regular washing, soak in a bleach solution for two minutes once per week (and rinse and dry completely).
Yoga Mats
The idea of a communal mat is inherently gross. Who wants to roll around in somebody else's sweat for an hour? Wrestlers have long dealt with outbreaks of ringworm, staph, and even herpes from similarly sweaty wrestling mats, and now some doctors are suggesting the new surge in cases of athlete's foot and plantar warts is tied to the growing popularity of yoga [33] [33].
What to do: Bringing a mat to hot yoga or Bikram may be even more important because of all the nasty fungi and bacteria sweat expels from pores, but bringing a personal mat isn't much better if it isn't cared for properly (or if loaned to friends). To keep it clean, pick a side that will always face up and attempt invest in a yoga towel to keep sweat off the mat itself. And a routine Clorox wipe swipe isn't a bad idea, either. After every use make sure to hang mats up so both sides can dry completely, and periodically scrub mats with a tiny bit of dish soap and water.


TV Remote
A hospital hygiene study found that the remote controls were three times dirtier than anything else in the room, while another study found that nearly half of the remotes tested positive for antibiotic-resistant staph [35].
What to do: Wipe down remote controls with any hard surface disinfectant or a handy dandy antibacterial wipe regularly — and especially if it's been used by a sick person recently!
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