May is traditionally the time of year when we roll up our sleeves and give our homes a thorough deep spring clean. With warmer weather here, it’s time to dig out your cleaning kit and tackle all the jobs around the home - steam cleaning curtains, carpets and mattresses, deep cleaning the oven and digging out the grime from every nook and cranny.
But just where are the germ hotspots in your home? Are we spending too much time with a toilet brush, and not enough time on the everyday microbe magnets around the house such as remote controls and light switches?
We set out to discover what our customers thought were the worst offenders in The Thane H2O Great British Spring-Cleaning Survey.
After all, we know that 93% of UK households spring-clean at least once a year, and that a quarter of people in our survey spent 2 full days on the task, while over half spend anything from 3 days to over a week. So are we focusing out efforts on all the right places?
What are considered the germ hotspots in the home?
Toilets, closely followed by toilet brushes, were the top answers when we asked our respondents what they considered to be the germ hotspots. 91% of respondents cited the toilet as a germ hotspot, and 79% named the toilet brush. And when we asked about regular cleaning jobs that people dread the most, scrubbing the toilet was a clear winner. More than 42% claimed to find wielding a toilet brush the least enjoyable home cleaning job.
But many other germ hotspots were named in our survey responses, including dish sponges (76%), door handles (74%), light switches (64%) and remote controls (59%). It seems that two years of pandemic has raised awareness of the potential trouble spots, and the importance of sanitising high-touch areas in the home.
The best way to tackle these frequently touched surfaces, like light switches and remote controls, is with a damp microfibre cloth like the revolutionary H2O Hook & Hold, a micro-loop cloth with millions of micro-filaments, ideal for getting into every nook and cranny. It’s super-absorbent, and guarantees those high-touch areas will stay germ-free.
How to sanitise carpets, mattresses and soft furnishings
Rugs and carpets were another germ hotspot mentioned by over half our survey respondents (58%), and steam cleaning is the by far the most effective way to thoroughly sanitise these surfaces. Steam cleaning at high temperature not only kills the germs and mites that lurk in carpets – especially important if you have children in the home – but it also deodorises, removing stains and pet odours effortlessly.
And house dust mites don’t only lurk in carpets, they are found in curtains, soft furnishings and mattresses too. We spend so much time in bed that our mattresses inevitably accumulate sweat, skin cells, stains and odours over time. As a result, warm, humid mattresses are the ideal breeding conditions for bacteria, germs and dust mites. A typical used mattress can house anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million house dust mites! According to charity Allergy UK, they are associated with asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis.
For all of these germ, bacteria and dust mite hotspots, steam cleaning is the very best way to keep them clean and germ free, according to the experts. A versatile upright and hand-held steam cleaner like the award-winning, Ideal Home Approved H2O HD is the perfect solution, using the upright cleaner for your rugs and carpets, and switching to hand-held operation for your curtains and mattresses.
Heating tap water up to 120 degrees in less than 30 seconds, it means you can have your rugs, carpets, curtains, mattresses and soft furnishings fresh and hygienically clean with just one machine, and without resorting to harsh chemicals.
Keeping your kitchen spotlessly, hygienically clean
Many of our survey answers highlighted the importance of keeping kitchen surfaces and appliances clean. More than three in four respondents mentioned dish sponges and chopping boards as germ hotspots, and over half mentioned taps, while 40% stated that keeping the oven clean and germ-free was important.
The H2O e3 Cleaning System is an innovative solution for economically keeping kitchens – and everywhere else in the home – hygienically sanitised. This natural eco-mop uses just salt, water and electricity to generate an endless supply of powerful cleaner and sanitiser that is lab-proven to kill 99.9% of germs, viruses and bacteria. Ideal for chopping boards and kitchen surfaces, and completely safe for children and pets, you save money too on expensive chemical cleaning products.
It's also extremely versatile, easily converting from hand-held to floor mop, and with a variable spray nozzle, so it’s ideal for bathrooms, shower cubicles, windows and cleaning out the car.
The final word on germ hotspots
Our survey respondents came up with a wide range of other areas to tackle in a deep clean, including mobile devices, computer keyboards, mattresses, dishwashers, car interiors and shower cubicles.
As one respondent put it, germ hotspots in the home include “everything that is touched or used several times”.
Another pointed out, “everything can become a germ hotspot if left. I have lots of allergies, so to me every day is like a spring-clean day. I keep on top of it all, so I don’t have a special time of year – I keep it clean throughout the year.”
There is no doubt that we are all much more aware of the threat from germs, viruses and bacteria, and the importance of keeping homes clean and sanitised.
We asked all the consumers in our survey whether they felt less stressed when their house is clean, and they have tackled all their germ hotspots. The answer was an overwhelming yes, even amongst those who dreaded the task. An astonishing 90% of respondents claimed they felt more ‘at peace’ when their homes were clean.
Much has been written about the mental health benefits of cleaning and decluttering. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the physical activity of cleaning, coupled with the end result helps reduce stress, relieve anxiety and tackle depression. A study by the University of California San Diego actually found that doing jobs like cleaning and prepping meals on your feet can reduce the risks of heart disease and stroke.
So tackling those germ hotspots can be good for your health, your heart and your mind. It’s clear from our survey results that Brits agree.
Survey based on answers from 1,325 respondents carried out between 25th February and 8th March 2022.