There are some hidden areas in your house that could be causing all those uncomfortable allergies, frequent colds, or other recurring illnesses that plague you or your children.
Dishwashers: Most people don’t know that they should run their dishwashers at least once a week, or clean the trap, to prevent mold growth. For example, some of the “drawer” dishwasher models leave a small amount of water after a cycle in the tub. If you do not empty this out using an absorbent towel, you will have a perfect environment for mold growth. Remember to check your manual to see if you should periodically clean the trap in your dishwasher. Run an empty cycle and add two cups of vinegar (do not use bleach!) once a quarter. Let it sit for 30 minutes.
Furnace/AC Filters: You should change your air or furnace filters to prevent dust from circulating in your home, especially for those with asthma and allergies. This also will increase the efficiency of your furnace. We suggest that you change your air or furnace filters monthly.
Front-load Washers: Run a cup of bleach through your washer once a quarter and leave the door open between usage so that the moisture cannot create a mold-environment.
Mops: The bacterial environment on a mop is just like a sponge in your sink. Every six months you should replace a fabric mop, and you should replace a sponge mop every quarter.
Sinks and Countertops: A lot of people don’t realize how much bacteria they spread by using the same sponges without washing. Be careful not to spread germs from a sponge onto your countertops and onto the set of dishes you are trying to clean. Change your sponges monthly and have a different sponge for every room in your house—and every time you wash dishes, you might want to throw your sponge into the dishwasher.
Vacuums: If you vacuum regularly, you may not realize that you are picking up dust mites and other microscopic organisms. We suggest that you change your filter bags monthly.
Bed Linens: Make sure to change them weekly (at least!) as you may not realize how much dirt and pollens ‘live in your bed’. And we also recommend that you get a new pillow annually. We recommend that you completely strip your bed, including duvet covers and mattress covers at least twice a year and wash in hot water with bleach.
A version of this post originally appeared on Robin Wilson Home.