Spring cleaning? Throw out your old sponge and other dirty items

It's that time of the year again. While you're busy tidying and cleaning, be sure to chuck these eight items out during your annual spring cleaning if they're due, say experts from local cleaning platform Helpling. They may be dirtier than you realise!

1. Sponges

Photo: Pixabay

You use the humble kitchen sponge to clean your dishes after every meal, but it may be spreading more germs than you realise. An old sponge harbours an average of over 10 million germs per square metre (okay, we know your sponge is probably way smaller but the idea of a million germs is equally gross). If you use your sponge daily, try to replace it every week! Also, if you are using the sponge to scrub the toilet, throw it away immediately after use.

2. Cutting boards

Photo: Pixbay

Be it wooden or plastic - one thing is certain: over time, cutting boards become a large germ battlefield. Meat and vegetable residue can't be thoroughly removed and will turn mouldy over time, no matter how well you clean it. Although there is no fixed lifespan for cutting boards, deep cut marks are a good indicator that it's time to say goodbye.

3. Dishtowels

Photo: Pixabay

After washing your hands in the kitchen, you may quickly wipe them on the dishtowel and place it back when it's still wet, making it the perfect breeding ground for germs. According to a study, 89 per cent of all towels are contaminated with E. coli. Replace your dishtowels once a week and wash them at 60 deg C to rid germs.

4. Pillows

Photo: Pexels

Your pillow might be your best friend after a long day, but it's also home to loose hair strands, dead skin and dried sweat (and uh, drool). Despite the protection of the pillowcase, this creates a habitat for mites to thrive. Change your pillow at least once every three years. You can extend its lifespan by washing it every three months at 60 deg C.

5. Bar of soap

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Germs like to breed in wet environments, such as on your wet bar of soap. Even after 48 hours, there are still microorganisms on it, including disease-spreading pathogens. Where possible, use two different bars of soap at home. That way, while one piece is drying, you can use the other one. When the soaps harden, bacteria have zero chance for reproduction.

6. Toothbrush

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A study has shown that millions of disease-causing bacteria can spread just by use a contaminated toothbrush. Replace your toothbrush every three months and throw it away immediately after a cold or flu to prevent a new infection.

7. Contact lens case

Photo: The Straits Times

According to a study in the journal Optometry and Vision Science, more than half of contact lens cases were contaminated with fungi and bacteria. This is because bacteria can survive in the moisture of contact lens solution for a long time. Bacteria can even mature on the lenses and then on the eye. Change or deep clean your cases every month to protect your peepers.

8. Toilet brush

Photo: Pixabay

First things first: there is no determined lifespan of a toilet brush. But you should still change it after six months or you risk spreading bacteria with the used brush.

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