The household items harbouring the most germs

Your TV remote is often much dirtier than you realise - especially if it spends half its life down the side of the couch. Photo / Getty
Your TV remote is often much dirtier than you realise - especially if it spends half its life down the side of the couch. Photo / Getty

If you thought your house was spick and span, you may be in for a nasty surprise.

A new guide suggests your home is only cleaned properly if attention is paid to less obvious dirt traps - from remote controls to reusable shopping bags.

It's no longer enough to give your skirting boards, tabletops and windows a cursory wipe according to domestic bible, the Good Housekeeping Institute.

The guide has identified "Nine Things You're Not Cleaning... But Should Be" which are likely to be overlooked by all but the most diligent of homeowners.

It includes any remote control lying around the house, the annoying gaps between the top of appliances and the work surfaces, and even the bottom of sports bags.

The report concedes that housework is hard enough without adding to it - but it is nevertheless vital to get to all the nooks and crannies to prevent the spread of germs.

"It's time to stop skipping these germ-filled spots," it says. "It's a never ending job, yes we admit it, but there are things that need cleaning that you may be overlooking.

"The good news is that these are the kind of cleaning jobs that you can do while you're waiting around for food to cook and kettles to boil."

The gaps in between appliances are "havens for grime", says the report, but can often be reached with a vacuum cleaner nozzle or long duster.

On remote controls it explains: "You may dust off the TV and wipe the screen but what about the remote? It's often much dirtier than you realise especially if it spends half its life down the side of the sofa."

Fridge draws and shelves should be washed out in hot soapy water, and lining them with kitchen towel makes them easier to clean. Other "forgotten" areas include "the top of things" such as above light fixtures, cupboards and cornices while sports bags - and even bags from the supermarket can harbour bacteria.

Perhaps most commonly missed are cleaning appliances - washing machines should be cleaned, for instance, by running it empty occasionally, with brushes on brooms also needing regular cleaning.

The report also advises the cleaning of hats, scarves and gloves, adding: "Like any other piece of clothing, outerwear picks up dead skin and bacteria.."

Regularly run woollen items through the wool wash on the washing machines, or use a leather cleaning wipe on leather gloves, it advises.

The places you're forgetting to clean

1. In between appliances
2. The TV remote
3. Fridge drawers and shelves
4. The top of things
5. The washing machine
6. Reusable shopping bags
7. Brooms and brushes
8. Hats, scarves, gloves
9. Sports bag

- Daily Mail

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