A woman holding a bucket of freshly cleaned tools.

6 Home Cleaners You Need to Clean

You know which cleaning concoctions will take the caked on grease out of your pans, which temperature is needed to avoid shrinking your clothes in the wash, and just which path to take when mopping your floors. You know how to clean your house, but do you know how to clean your cleaning supplies?

Most of us forget that certain things, like sponges, need to be cleaned after you’ve used them to clean. Here’s a quick guide to cleaning your cleaning supplies so that you can tackle your spring cleaning like a champ. The house will be sparkling before you know it.

The Vacuum Cleaner

While you change out the vacuum bag regularly, you probably overlooked the filter. It’s important to clean out your vacuum filter after every few uses (after every use if you have indoor pets). Not all vacuums come with a washable filter, and those need to be replaced frequently. For those that do have washable filters, it’s a simple process. You simply remove the filter and rinse it out with warm water. Rinse for several minutes - you’ll be shocked to know how much dirt your filter can hold! Double check the user manual before washing to verify the washing process.

Sponges and Dish Scrubbers

You might not be as anal about clean kitchen cleaning utensils as I am, but I recommend washing these with EVERY dishwashing cycle. Sponges can hold tons of bacteria and gunk from scrubbing your dishes so it’s really important to clean them. A hot wash cycle will do the trick, but you should definitely replace sponges every two sponges. You can also zap it in the microwave for thirty seconds every night to clean it quickly.

Scrub brushes should also be washed in the dishwasher each evening. They don’t hold bacteria as badly as sponges do, but food can get caught in between the bristels (especially egg) and that’s just gross.

Mops

Just like sponges, mops are a breeding ground for bacteria and need to be cleaned after each use. If you have a machine washable mop, then remove the mop head and wash it on the gentle cycle on the highest temperature thats recommended. If your mop head cannot be washed in the machine then rinse it out and soak it in a water and bleach mixture for 15 minutes. Then ring it out and let it dry.You can also let it dry in the sunshine to further kill any lingering bacteria.

The Dishwasher

The dishwasher is another place that absolutely needs to be cleaned. Simply running the dishes thorugh does not clean the actualy machine. A lot of food and bacteria is placed in there every day so not cleaning it can just further contaminate your dishes. To clean it, remove and soak the filter in warm soapy water for 15 minutes. Then place a cup of white vinegar in the bottom and run it on the heaviest cycle - without any dishes inside.

The Washing Machine

You might not realize how desperately your washing machine needs to be cleaned out. The washer is an ideal place for mold and mildew to grow and that can be transferred to your beloved clothing. The cleaning method depends on whether or not you have a front or top-loading washer. For a top-loading washer, fill it with hot water, add one quart of chlorine bleach, have it agitate for one minute, and then let it sit for one hour.When that hour is up run the washer on the longest cycle. Then fill it with hot water again and add one quart of distilled white vinegar. Agitate for one minute and let sit for one hour. While it sits, use a scrub brush to clean out the hard to reach places, including the knobs and the lid. Also use this time to clean out the built-in dispensers.When the hour is up run the longest cycle again.

To clean your front-loading machine, combine ¼ cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of water and add it to the detergent dispenser. Then pour two cups of vinegar into the drum. Start a normal wash cycle at the hottest setting. When that’s done use a sponge or scrubber to clean around the opening and remove any remaining gross-ness. I suggest cleaning your machine, whether top or front-loading, once a month.