7 one-off areas to clean while you’re sanitizing for coronavirus

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How long the coronavirus can live on surfaces

The coronavirus outbreak has ushered in spring cleaning at levels even our grandmothers never dreamed of. The temptation is to whine or practice avoidance.

But there are far more advantages to taking the opposite approach, performing all the chores recommended by health experts and then adding a few more. Cleaning these one-off areas while you're sanitizing for coronavirus will help you be more comfortable in your own house and avoid other health-threatening germs that didn't disappear when Covid-19 showed up.

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Not enough motivation? The extra cleaning will also eliminate some of the incessant handwashing. You won't touch as much goo or need to wash off invisible germs when you clean these dirty surfaces and appliances. It is important to note that you won't be completely eliminating germs. As the CDC stated, "Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.'

After you've completed the basics for high-contact surfaces, here are seven one-off areas that offer the moist advantages, and how to clean each:

The microwave

You'll be fixing your own food a lot more, so at least starting out with a sparkling clean microwave will make the ongoing clean-up and germ control a little easier.

Here's how: According to Good Housekeeping, the best way to clean the microwave is to follow these steps:

  1. Add citrus slices and-or two tablespoons of white or apple cider vinegar to a cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Microwave the bowl (no lid) on high power for three minutes or until the window steams up.
  3. Five minutes after you turn the microwave off, open the door, remove the bowl and use a sponge or paper towel to remove all the softened gunk.

» RELATED: Why the CDC recommends you wash your hands a certain way

Kitchen and bathroom trash cans

With all those tissues and at-home meal wrappings you'll be tossing, it's a good idea to clean all the trash cans in one fell swoop (don't forget the bathroom.) Remember to use disposable gloves before you start and clean your hands the second you take them off, as per CDC recommendations.

Here's howThe Kitchn offered these instructions:

  1. Empty the trash and any loose food particles.
  2. Hose out the can if you have that option, or use the bathtub faucet or handheld shower fixture then dry it with paper towels or cloths that will immediately go into the wash.
  3. Spray the inside and outside surfaces with an EPA-registered disinfectant.
  4. "Take a clean toilet brush or other long-handled nylon bristle brush and scrub the can thoroughly," the Kitchn advised. "After scrubbing, let the cleaner sit for 5 minutes."
  5. Rinse the can with thoroughly in the shower or with the outdoor hose, then let air dry upended outdoors.

Of course, the outdoor trash can cleaning is a huge production that should probably wait until you have access to a hose, but you can still take extra care to sanitize the handles and rims with a clean cloth and diluted all-purpose cleaner so you're not encountering hard-surface contaminants on trash day.

The coffee machine

If you're a newbie member of the work from home crowd, you'll be astonished at how much of a workout you now give your coffee machine. The brew will taste better and you'll avoid hand-to-mouth germs with an inside-and-out cleaning:

Here’s howAngi recommended these steps:

  1. Empty the pot and dump any used grounds.
  2. Fill the pot with a two-to-one ratio of cold water and white vinegar and pour into the coffee maker reservoir.
  3. Run a brewing cycle and then let the heated vinegar mix rest in the pot for 15 minutes.
  4. Brew two cycles of just water to flush the vinegar, pausing for 15 minutes between cycles.

The washing machine

Lucky enough to have an in-home washing machine? Boost its cleaning power during the massive amounts of wash you'll be doing by washing it first.

Here's howBetter Homes and Gardens swore by this three-step process:

  1. Run a regular cycle with hot water and two cups of vinegar replacing the detergent (no clothes, just water.)
  2. Clean the inside with a sponge, old toothbrush dedicated to only this chore, and a solution of a quarter cup white vinegar in a quart of warm water. "Pay special attention to soap and other dispensers, the inside of the door, and, if you have a front-loading washing machine, the rubber seal," BHG advised.
  3. Run a second empty load with hot water, but don't add any soap or vinegar.

The dishwasher

Like the clothes washer, the dishwasher will work better if it's scrupulously clean itself. And since you're probably weary of washing your hands, consider how much better life will be if you don't have to re-wash dishes that have already run through the dishwasher.

Here's how: The reward-to-work ratio is in your favor, according to Today, which recommended these three simple steps:

  1. Remove any gunk caught in the drain, first removing the bottom dish rack.
  2. Run a hot water cycle without any dishes except a container for a cup of white vinegar, which you'll place open-end up on the top rack.
  3. Run a short hot water cycle to rinse, after sprinkling a cup of baking soda across the bottom of the washer.

» RELATED: How to tell the difference between coronavirus and seasonal allergy symptoms

Your storage containers

In the quest not to waste food when it's so difficult to keep ingredients on hand (and you want to minimize or eliminate trips to the store), you'll be using leftover containers more than ever. Make sure they don't actually contaminate your food with age-old germs by cleaning them first. And take the opportunity to match lids and containers (check all over the house) at the same time, so you don't have to wash your hands three or four times in search of a container for leftover rice from dinner.

Here's how: Organized Home clean blogger Kirsten Horton told Self about this process for stink-free and refreshed plastic storage containers:

  1. Add about a tablespoon each of bleach and lemon juice to each container and then dilute it with water to fill.
  2. Let the containers soak for about 10 minutes.
  3. Pour out the mixture and hand wash the containers with dish soap and water. Rinse, dry with a towel and you're good to go. Repeat if needed.

All your lids and handles

It's sort of cruel that actually getting motivated to use the glass cleaner, furniture spray and so forth can result in lots of extra germs on your hands. That's why you want to go ahead and wash your hands really well and then cruise your entire dwelling to clean all the tops, handles, spray buttons and sides of your cleaning supplies and equipment.

Don’t forget the detergent and vinegar bottles, keyboard dusting spray, and soap dishes. Then round up all the cleaning cloths and sponges and run them through the wash. .