There are many places in your home where bacteria and germs can hide, but chances are you are not regularly cleaning the less obvious items listed below. Here's how often you should wash:
1. Sheets. Once a week. Yes, please. “It’s a good idea to wash your pillowcases and sheets at least once a week to avoid transferring bacteria, oils and other impurities from your pillow to your face as you sleep,” says Joel Schlessinger, M.D., board certified dermatologist and RealSelf advisor. “Your skin and hair leave oil and other buildup on your pillowcase that can lead to breakouts, inflammation and irritation.” Even with this knowledge, more than a third of people wait 14 days to wash them, according to this YouGov poll.
2. Bath and Hand Towels. Apply the three use rule! Even though we use them when we are clean, imagine putting the towel under a microscope. We would see millions of dead skin cells (same as your sheets) and other not so pretty particulates floating around when magnified. Toss 'em in the wash!
3. Makeup Brushes. The core of the beautification process, these tools are riddled with bacteria and oils that are being spread around your face when not washed regularly. “Cleansing your tools regularly is the best way to prevent this buildup from causing problems such as acne and irritation,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “Not only does regular sanitizing kill bacteria, but it also helps your brushes last longer and provides you with the best makeup application.”
You should aim to spritz your brushes once a week with a cleansing spray like glo minerals Brush Cleaner ($12, mylovelyskin.com) and deep clean them once a month with a brush shampoo like jane iredale Truly Pure Shampoo & Conditioner ($36, walmart.com). Dr. Schlessinger recommends discarding old makeup brushes after around six months.
4. Refrigerator. Not once, but twice a week. Inside and out. From the handle where the hands grab, to wiping down the inside of of fridge, to keeping an eye on expiration dates on condiments, "cleaning out your fridge is extremely important because contaminated food can spread listeria, a serious infection that has been linked to things like meningitis, miscarriages and death,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “The bacteria responsible for this infection can multiply extremely quickly in colder temperatures.”
5. Water Bottles. After each and every use. Especially if you have a sports bottle that pops up or lifts, whether at the gym, biking, etc. your fingers carry a significant amount of germs and often people recycle uses of a water bottle in between cleanings. “This can seriously and quickly spread sweat, dirt, and grime and bacteria from the facilities into your mouth,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “Instead, find a squirt bottle or a bottle with a screw-on top. Water bottles create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria, so you should wash it in the dishwasher on high heat after every use.”
Thanks to Jenn Sinrich for compiling these often overlooked objects. Check out additional items in her original ClassPass blog. ClassPass is a monthly membership site that connects you to 8,000 of the best fitness studios.