12 Forgotten Places to Clean That You’re Still Touching Every Day

This list extends beyond your smartphone.

By Toni Gasparis
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Here’s Why Washing Your Hands Is More Effective Than Hand Sanitizer (1:29)

By now you know that cleaning and disinfecting your house, as well as washing your hands and social distancing, is essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But chances are, there are still a few spots and corners around the house that could use some attention. Peter DeLucia, the assistant commissioner of health in Westchester County, NY (home to the New Rochelle COVID-19 outbreak), came on The Dr. Oz Show on Mar. 24, 2020 to discuss the top forgotten places to clean in your home to keep you and your family safe.

Research released by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Mar. 17, 2020 shows that the novel coronavirus “was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.” Based on these findings, you should be taking extra precautions when it comes to items you are bringing inside your house or touching when you are outside. Pennies, which are made of copper, should be avoided, so try paying with your credit or debit card (which can be sanitized) as much as possible. You may want to consider opening your packages outside the house, leaving the cardboard outside for recycling, and then washing your hands immediately afterwards. Additionally, cleaning anything that is plastic or stainless steel is essential, including things you buy at the grocery store.

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12 Things You Should Clean Right Now

While you are probably already a pro at cleaning your phone, countertops, and bathrooms, DeLucia says these 12 places are usually forgotten, but very important to clean:

  • Refrigerator handle
  • Vacuum handle
  • Cleaning supply bottles ⁠— especially if you’re not cleaning with gloves on
  • Floor baseboards ⁠— this is important if you have young kids crawling around on the floor
  • Microwave touchpad
  • Light switches
  • Toilet flusher
  • Door knobs
  • Dresser handles
  • Car ⁠— including your steering wheel, gear shift, radio buttons, door handle, and your keys
  • Mail box ⁠— people touch this which is why it’s good to clean, however as of now there is no proof that COVID-19 can be spread on your mail
  • Reusable grocery bags — and your groceries, while you’re at it

Share this cleaning list with your family and friends: 

How Often Should I Clean?

If you’re not going out very often, DeLucia recommends sanitizing once a day. If you go out, you should clean everything you bring in immediately before putting away and then wash your hands. If you have family and lots of people at home, you should be sanitizing multiple times a day — especially if there is someone sick with COVID-19 in your house. “The key is high traffic areas,” says DeLucia. Make sure you’re cleaning things that are frequently touched.

What If I Can’t Find Cleaning Products?

If your store shelves are still empty when it comes to cleaning and sanitizing products, don’t worry. You can use other household cleaners that aren’t brand name products like bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and good old soap and water. Consumer Reports has a list of substitutes to use, as well as what not to use, to help you navigate cleaning during this crucial time.

While you should be cleaning frequently, DeLucia reminds us that handwashing (for 20 seconds!) is the best first defense against the virus.

Related: 

How to Clean Your Phone & Other Common Items You Touch Daily

Is Food Delivery Safe from Novel Coronavirus Spread? Here’s What to Know

Is It Safe to Go Outside During the COVID-19 Outbreak?

Article written by Toni Gasparis