Our houses are gross, y’all

Where Are Germs Hiding in Your Home and How to Clean Them

We talked to a professional cleaning service about where you should be scrubbing.

By Gabi De la Rosa

Our homes are supposed to be our safe zone these days, but how clean are they actually? You try to sweep and Lysol on a regular basis, but are you really reaching behind the toilet or under the couch?

Some places in your home contain more germs or bacteria than others, so cleaning in these areas may take a little extra effort. Maid Right Katy owners Randy and Lenette Spivey have been in the cleaning business for years and have a list of frequent touchpoints where germs may lurk in our homes, as well as simple instructions to make sure you are cleaning correctly.

Where to clean

Doorknobs and door handles

Yes, all of them. According to Lenette Spivey, doorknobs and handles all over your home are some of the most common areas that germs are hiding and should get some extra attention. Kitchen and bathroom cabinet knobs, the handle on your refrigerator, the bathroom door, and even the door going in and out of your garage could harbor germs that can make you sick.

“People don’t realize how often they touch these places or how many people in their household touch them all the time—they should be disinfected regularly,” Spivey says. “Homeowners should be mindful of cleaning doors not only on the inside of the house but the outside as well.”

Light switches

They are in every single room in your house, and most likely in more than one place. You touch light switches every day, and they should be thoroughly disinfected regularly. “Light switches are part of what we call our ‘baseline clean’ because they are one of the places our crews disinfect in every house we go into,” Spivey says.


“You may sneeze, cough, or wipe your nose and leave the tissues on the counter, and you are unknowingly spreading germs,” says Spivey. “All countertops and horizontal surfaces should be disinfected often.” According to Spivey, this is especially important in kitchens and bathrooms.

Sinks and faucet handles

“Bathrooms and kitchens are the two places our crews spend the most time cleaning,” Spivey says. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your sink has 100,000 times more germs than your toilet. Why? Especially in the kitchen, food, which can contain bacteria like E. coli or salmonella, may get trapped in the sink or drain. Sinks are also often wet, which can hold onto germs or bacteria longer.

What to buy

Now that you know where to clean, let’s make sure you know what disinfectant you should be using and how to use it. The germ-killing standard of most household cleansers you can buy in the store is 97 percent. Spivey cautions that you should read each label to make sure you the cleaner you’re buying meets that standard. Also, reference this handy list of EPA-approved disinfectants for COVID-19.

How to clean and disinfect 

First, you want to clean to remove the surface of contaminants, dust, or debris. You can do this by wiping it down with a microfiber cloth or rag. Then apply an appropriate surface disinfectant or use a disinfecting wipe. According to Spivey, the biggest mistake people make is that they don’t wait long enough after spraying to wipe off the disinfectant. By wiping it off too quickly, you may not be letting it do its job.

“We don’t suggest that you spray it and instantly wipe it—you should spray it and then come back after a few minutes to wipe it,” Spivey says. “You need to let the disinfectant sit for a little while to be the most effective.”

If you want more advice on where and how to clean, check out this guide from the CDC.


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