Cleaning basics 101: Links, tips & lessons


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Sometimes cleaning our home can feel like a daunting, insurmountable task. There’s just so much ground to cover. So let’s go back to the basics. We scoured the Web to find the best cleaning advice, and we’re bringing it all to you right here.

What is the difference between cleaners/detergents, sanitizers and disinfectants?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has got you covered here.

Cleaners or detergents remove soil, dirt, dust, organic matter and germs. These cleaners wash surfaces to lift dirt and germs off so they can be rinsed away with water. (Always remember the rinsing step.) Use these products for routine cleaning of surfaces.

Sanitizers reduce germs from surfaces; however, they don’t totally get rid of them. Sanitizers reduce the germs from surfaces to levels that are considered safe.

Disinfectants, which are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are chemical products that destroy or inactivate germs and prevent them from growing. They have no effect on dirt, soil or dust. Use a disinfectant after cleaning for surfaces that have visible blood or drainage from infected skin.

How often should I clean my home?
That depends on which part of the home we’re talking about. There are places you should be cleaning daily, some monthly, some yearly. Readers Digest broke it down in “The Ultimate House Cleaning Calendar.”

How often should I wash different items of clothing, towels and bedding?
You’re not in college anymore — or maybe you are. Either way, it’s not OK to re-wear underwear or socks. However, we won’t judge if you wear your pajamas for more than one night. Consult this guide from the American Cleaning Institute to learn how often you can wear or use various items before throwing them in the wash. And no, the sniff test is not an adequate strategy.

What other benefits will I get from a clean, shiny home?
We think you should clean your home on a regular basis anyway just because, well, it’s gross not to. But did you know there are other advantages to having a clean home? Find out what they are here.

Should I be cleaning my cleaning supplies?
Yes! Not the actual cleaning solutions, mind you. But it’s important to keep your sponges, mops and towels dirt-free. Otherwise you’ll just continue spreading the germs around. Check out BrightNest’s guide to cleaning your cleaning supplies.

Tell us: Got any great cleaning advice? Comment below.