We’re all hyper alert to the presence of germs and bacteria in our home, and doing all we can to keep things clean and, hopefully, free of Covid-19 .
While we all know about the importance of thoroughly washing our hands, we mustn’t forget the things we use every day but might not wash as regularly.
- See our pick of the best washing machines
- How to clean your clothes safely during the Coronavirus outbreak
So if you want to step up your efforts to keep your family healthy, Deyan Dimitrov, CEO of Laundryheap, the 24-hour dry cleaning and laundry service, has advice on the hidden harbourers of germs that you need to be washing NOW!
Always wash items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest water setting and dry items completely.
1. Tea towels
They appear pretty innocuous, but tea towels are a breeding ground for a number of harmful bacteria and viruses, including salmonella and E-coli. Throw the added concern over coronavirus into the mix and it means we should now be replacing tea towels every day, so be sure to have plenty of spares.
To store them, hang up to dry after every use, not sitting on the counter, or stacked damply over one another – this will only create the perfect conditions for bacteria to multiply. When washing them, if you have a particularly dirty load, ramp up your cleaning routine by soaking the towels in warm water, a cup of white vinegar* and a tablespoon of baking soda. Then launder as normal.
*Vinegar is naturally antibacterial but it is not effective against the Coronavirus or flu.
2. Oven gloves
Just like tea towels, oven gloves can be left to fester for too long, covered in the remnants of your last bake. They should also be washed and replaced regularly. To get rid of stubborn stains, try soaking them in warm water, a cup of white vinegar and dish soap (to loosen any grease) before washing.
You spend all day not trying to touch your face, but your efforts could be futile if you then go and rest it on a pillowcase you've been using for a week or more. You should be washing your pillowcases more often than the rest of your bedding. They can be laundered as normal, but if you’re looking for some added freshness, add half a cup of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle.
4. Pillows and duvets
These tend to go under-washed. Read the instructions to see if, with launderettes and dry cleaners affected by the lockdown, it is possible to wash them in your own machine at home. Some dry cleaners, like Laundryheap, may be operating a contactless collection and delivery service to your home.
Find out how to wash pillows in our guide
Walked over regularly, it can be easy to forget but rugs can harbour a huge amount of dirt and bacteria. Check to see if it’s washing machine safe to clean in the wash at home at home. You could also use a carpet cleaner and take advantage of a fine day to dry it outside. Some cleaning services are still operating for bigger items, picking them up and dropping them off, making it contactless. To freshen up your rugs, sprinkle some baking soda over the entire surface, wait for 30 minutes and vacuum as normal.
7. Coats and jackets
Washing our hands repeatedly won’t be as effective if clothing and surroundings remain dirty, and we often forget where our clothes have been as soon as we arrive home. Take care to change out of these as soon as possible. Coats and jackets should be hung up straight away, especially if they’re damp. Wash or dry clean them according to the garment label, and freshen up between washes with a special solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. Simply pour into a spray bottle with a few optional drops of your favourite essential oils if you have them, and spritz away.
Find tons more cleaning tips and expert advice on our dedicated hub page.