- Water bottle
It is crazy to think that some people go weeks or even a month or more before they consider washing their water bottle that they drink out of each day — do you know how much bacteria is living inside and outside that bottle? So much! In case you have not thought about it – bacteria breeds in wet, dark environments. Your water bottle is the perfect place to breed bacteria – even if you cannot see it, it’s there. Once it turns into black mold then you know it’s multiplied dangerously and can make you sick! Even though there is usually just water in your water bottle, rinsing it out will not do the trick nor will it kill the bacteria and germs. Bacteria from your mouth enters the bottle and can form an invisible film on the inside of the bottle and breed nasty colonies! Not to mention how dirty our hands get, too, touching the outside of the bottle numerous times a day, grabbing weights and then grabbing our water bottles – spreading the bacteria to the outside of the bottle and possibly the interior.
If your water bottle is plastic with a small, plastic mouthpiece (like a straw) it is likely even nastier as the little crevices are harder to clean! Opt for a stainless steel with a wide mouthpiece if possible and make sure you clean the bottle (inside and out) and the cap with hot water and soap. If you can’t clean it every day, then try to clean it after a couple of uses. And if you add electrolytes to the bottle, make sure to clean with soap after that use because if residue of sugars are left inside the bottle then mold will certainly grow and multiple – yikes! You can also use white distilled vinegar and pour that inside the bottle with a little hot water, shake it up and let is soak a few minutes and then rinse and wash again with soapy water.
I hope this pushes you to think more about the cleanliness of your water bottle. Some bottles may be dishwasher friendly, but just double check. I have a hydro flask and some of them are dishwasher friendly but others aren’t – so make sure before you toss it in the dishwasher.
Hopefully this won’t apply to you, but it’s nasty if you do not wash your sheets once every 7 days! I tend to do mine every 5-6 days. If you aren’t washing them regularly with hot water, dead skin cells, sweat and bacteria are breeding in your bed. This can lead to dustmites if not cleaned regularly. And, if you and a partner are sharing a bed, it’s double the dead skin cells, sweat, etc. AND a lot of you may allow pets on your bed and in your bed and they are carrying potentially fecal matter inside from their paws and putting all of that in your bed with you as you sleep – yikes! Not only is this just plain gross, but this can lead to skin problems such as eczema and acne, and other allergic reactions like itchy, watery eyes and itchy skin.
Also – dirty pillowcases can lead to facial acne and breakouts! Who wants that?? So just do yourself a favor and wash your bedding at least once a week. You won’t regret climbing into clean, fresh sheets. Consider adding Borax to your laundry to help boost the detergent’s cleaning power!
3. Floors in you home
If you don’t think about how dirty the floors in your home are – you will now. If you are like me and don’t allow shoes past the front door then your floors are probably cleaner than most but if you do allow shoes inside – think of everything you are tracking through the house! Dirt, fecal matter, urine, etc. – all of this will lead to nasty floors and the potential of allergens to build up inside. The fix? Mop your floors once a week – especially high traffic areas! This will help to sanitize the floors and prevent allergens from entering the home and affecting your sinuses. It’s also just more sanitary to regularly clean your floors – who wants to walk around barefoot in a filthy home, then climb into bed with dirty feet and get all of those germs and dirt in your bed where you sleep? Not me! So step 1 I suggest take the shoes off when you walk in the door and this will help cut down on the dirt throughout the house. Step 2 MOP THE FLOORS once a week and keep them clean! Especially if you have pets that regularly get in the grass and dirt outside, you don’t want those germs being tracked all inside the house.
My favorite mop is the o’cedar mop (target or Amazon) with some hot water and Aunt Fannie’s vinegar cleaner. If I am feeling fancy I may toss 1 tsp powdered Tide detergent in the hot water to really get the floors clean! Tide is safe to use on the floors and works well to remove dirt!
4. Your dog
Does your dog ever get a bath? If you aren’t sure the last time it happened, then it’s time to bathe him or her. It’s good to wash your dog every 3 weeks if they have skin allergies – if not, you can probably get away with once every 4-6 weeks. But definitely every two months. If your dog spends a lot of time outdoors he/she will be collecting all kinds of dirt and dander on their coat. And if that dog lives inside with you, they are carrying all of those germs and dirt into your home. If you have allergies it’s especially important to regularly brush and bathe your dog so you keep allergens out of the home. We bathe our dog Cooper every 3-4 weeks because he has skin allergies and also this keeps him from stinking up our house! Who likes the smell of wet dog??? NOT ME! So staying on top of doggie baths will certainly keep your pup smelling his best. All breeds are different and some may require more regular bathing, so do your research. But generally, once a month is a good guesstimate and that will definitely keep them healthy and keep your home cleaner.
5. Towels/wash cloth
I can’t believe I have to put this one on this list, but there are people out there who will reuse towels for days on end! You should definitely get a fresh towel every 2 at most 3 uses – and you need to let the towel air dry completely in between uses. Do not re-use a damp towel. Towels absorb lots of water and obviously dead skin cells get all over the towel each time we dry off and this is a breeding ground for bacteria – so if your towel stays bunched up when you are not using it and it does not fully dry, then bacteria is already forming! Yuck!
Any towel that you used for a workout should be washed right after the use. If you have eczema or skin allergies, use a fresh towel each time you shower. If any bodily fluids get on the towel, wash it immediately. Make sure you don’t let damp towels sit in a clump in the laundry room for days on end either – this will allow mold and gunk to build up in the towels and then when you wash them they still may smell afterwards! Ever noticed an old towel that has a funky smell? TOSS IT OUT! Or you can try soaking it with vinegar or sanitizing them in the washing machine with a vinegar rinse. Also consider adding Borax to the loads here too! And make sure you hang your towels to dry and don’t let it fold up on itself on the rack or hook because it will not fully dry and again that is how bacteria breeds.
For a wash cloth that washes your body? Get a fresh one each use! Absolutely do not re-use a washcloth unless you have to – and I would suggest squeezing all of the water out and hanging it to dry in between uses if you must (if you are traveling for example), but ideally get a fresh washcloth each time. You are using this to scrub dirt and dead skin and bacteria off your body so why would you want to re-use it? Get a big pack of cheap washcloths from Target so you can use a fresh one each time and ensure your skin is clean and also help prevent breakouts or eczema.
Also make sure you wash your towels with the proper amount of detergent and with hot water if they have been sitting for a while – and do laundry regularly. This will prevent bacteria buildup. Dirty towels can spread viruses, bacteria and fungi so do not share towels, either. It’s not necessary to use bleach on the towels to sanitize. As far as your bathmat goes, wash it once a week and that should be sufficient!
What else did I miss?
This is certainly not an extensive list of things we should probably wash more frequently – a few others come to mind such as the dog’s food and water bowl, the dog’s bed/bedding if any (if he/she uses a blanket), Clorox wiping our iPhones and remote controllers, etc.