This Is How Often You Should Clean Your House, According to Science

It's a contentious subject that couples and housemates alike have been faced with since humans became domesticated—how often should you really clean your house? Whether you're someone who likes to wash a towel after one use or someone who's a little too laid-back when it comes to the cleaning roster, we've got the definitive breakdown of what you should be cleaning, and when.

Bed sheets - once a week
While most of the bacteria found on your bed and in between your sheets are purely environmental and generally harmless, excess oils and dirt attach to your bed linen while you sleep, which can actually contribute to acne and dandruff, according to microbiologist Jason Tetro and cleaning expert Becky Rapinchuk. To be safe, it's recommended that you soak your sheets weekly in hot water.

The sink - daily
Sinks aren't the most pleasant of facilities to use at the best of times, but throw in bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli to the mix and you've got a breeding ground for contamination and sickness. Even if your sink looks clean, you're better of giving it a spray and wipe each day just to be on the safe side.

Carpet - once a week
Philip Tierno Jr., a microbiologist and immunologist, has shared a truly disgusting finding from his research—carpet is four thousand times dirtier than your toilet seat. Um, what!? So, it turns out that we shed millions of skin cells every hour, which then become food for germs (we're not kidding!). Vacuum your carpet every week and get a professional in to steam clean every six-to-twelve months.

Bathroom - once a week (at least)
Tetro explains that bacteria powerhouse, E. coli can be found within six feet of the toilet and sink—so basically in every corner of the bathroom. If you regularly disinfect your bathroom then you're totally fine, but if you've been a bit slack, this is your wake up call! Also, if you have a shower curtain, research says that needs to get a once over weekly as well to avoid possible skin, eye and throat irritation.

Towels - every couple of days
I'll admit, I thought my once a week towel wash was more than sufficient but boy was I wrong—Rapinchuk actually suggests that bathroom towels be swapped every other day. It makes sense, with this study explaining that towels are rife with bacteria and dandruff-causing fungi especially when they don't dry properly due to poor ventilation.

Door handles - once a week
The good news is that door handles and knobs don't need to be cleaned too often, with a quick once over weekly sufficient to remove harmful bacteria. Pay special attention to doors in the bathroom and kitchen, and ramp-up the cleaning routine if someone is or has been sick in the house.

Refrigerator - every month
I don't think it'll come as a surprise to anyone that your fridge requires some cleaning attention on the regular. Left alone to consume spills and fill to the brim with expired produce, a refrigerator can become a nightmare, fast. The salad drawer can actually contain up to seven-hundred times the healthy amount of bacteria safe for humans, according to Paul McDonnell of Microban Europe. Stay on top of things by purging old bottles and wiping up spills, and each month conduct a total clean of the interior. You'll feel better, I promise.

On a side note, this is how often you should change your mattress.

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