When Singapore raised its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level to Orange in the wake of the spreading novel coronavirus (Covid-19), it created a ripple effect across Singaporeans' everyday lives. With events getting cancelled, more people working from home and many even being put on Leave of Absence (LOA), the indoors suddenly seems like a safe haven.
But you'd be surprised to know that our home isn't always the germ-free sanctuary we think it is. Here are five unexpected places or things that accumulate bacteria in your home:
1. Couch Cushions
Usually found as throw pillows on living room couches, you can imagine the frequency of it being held and touched by various family members - and guests, whom you usually entertain in the living room!
As such, these tend to get overlooked and cleaning them usually involves just some light dusting. To ensure cushions remain cuddle-friendly, take the time to wash the covers as well!
Recommended cleaning frequency: Every 2 to 4 weeks
Pro tip: If you have a fabric sofa, invest in some sofa covers too! They are much easier and cost-effective to clean. Plus, it gives your living room a mini makeover whenever you please.
2. TV Remote Control
Another mainstay of the living room, the TV remote tends to get overlooked a lot too. That's not wise, when you think about the amount of physical contact this object gets.
Plus, with snacking being a common part of watching TV, it is not surprising to find tiny particles from our food-stained hands building up within the nooks and crannies of a TV remote. Make sure to give it a proper wipe from time to time.
Recommended cleaning frequency: Monthly or after a member of the household is unwell.
3. Refrigerator Door Handles
We touch this on a daily basis and yet, alarmingly, refrigerator door handles are particularly susceptible to harmful microbial growth. Given their location in the kitchen and close proximity to food preparation areas, they are more likely to carry bacteria found in food - especially raw items, such as meats.
Do wipe down the handle thoroughly and frequently, and disinfect it. Can’t find any disinfectant (ahem, *cough* thanks, hoarders *cough*)? Make your own! Simply mix 1 and ¼ cups of water, ¼ cup of white vinegar and ¼ cup of rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle. Add 15 drops of your favourite essential oil, if you’d like!
Recommended cleaning frequency: Every couple of days.
Pro tip: Throwing on a door handle cover may be a good idea to make cleaning convenient - and add a little bonus to the aesthetic of your kitchen!
You'd think the bathroom - where you're at your cleanest - would be the safest. But a shocking hotbed of potential bacteria breeding ground is none other than your showerhead!
While a lot of the bacteria that grows there is generally harmless, some do have adverse consequences that can lead to respiratory issues when they contaminate the water you shower with. This growth is made worse by the general moisture in a bathroom!
An easy fix: from time to time, do soak your showerhead overnight in a mixture of water and vinegar.
Recommended cleaning frequency: Weekly.
5. Kitchen Sponges
Kitchen sponges often feel deceptively clean because we are constantly using them with soap. However, these tricky little things do actually contain a great deal of bacteria!
Make it a habit to regularly change sponges. If that's not feasible, you can clean it thoroughly by soaking it in water, then placing it in a microwave for one minute to kill the germs. (Just remember to watch it as you don't want your sponge to burn!)
Recommended cleaning frequency: Daily. You should also look at replacing your sponges every week.
You deserve a home that's a safe and private bubble from the harms and ills of the world. Make sure you do your due diligence in keeping it clean and as germ free as possible with the handy tips above.
Pro tip: Add some extra protection with Enhanced HomePlus. It covers all household contents and personal belongings, renovations, and even offers you and your family worldwide personal liability. Find out more here.