15 Dirtiest Spots in Your House You Should Clean ASAP

Life is messy, so it's no surprise you probably have dirty spots in your house. These are some of the dirtiest, along with tips to get and keep them clean.

Published March 14, 2024
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Even the most conscientious cleaners probably have a few dirty spots in their house. If life as a mom with four dogs, a cat, two kids, and all their buddies traipsing through the house has taught me anything, it's that the second I clean one thing, something else in the house gets dirty. 

You can stack the odds in your favor by paying attention to super dirty spots that people often miss in their cleaning or don't clean as frequently as they should. But we have your back. We'll help you make a dirty house a clean house by pointing out the dirtiest spots and giving you tips to get and keep them clean. 

Kitchen Sponges


Your sponges work hard for you, scrubbing dishes, dirty countertops, and errant spills all around the kitchen. They also create a haven for the germs you wipe up with them, even if you rinse them after use. If you've ever had a sponge go slightly stinky (or outright smelly), you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Think about it... if you wipe up germs with your sponge and then wipe things with said sponge, you could just be transferring those germs from one spot to another, which... yuck. 

There are a few things you need to do to get this in check. First, most people keep their sponges for far too long. Sponges should be replaced every couple of weeks, which is why we're such fans of sponge multipacks. And you should definitely sanitize them at least weekly (and possibly even more frequently — I do mine every couple of days) by running them through the dishwasher or soaking them in a bleach solution of ¾ cup bleach to 1 gallon of water. 

Helpful Hack

If you're out of bleach, zapping your sponge in the microwave will work, too. Soak up about a half-cup of water with your sponge, and then microwave it on high for one minute if it's a scrubby sponge or two minutes if it's cellulose.

Cell Phones & Remotes


I've had a kid text me from the bathroom more than once (proud mom moments right there), so I know what I'm talking about. And don't even get me started on all the germy horrors I've witnessed our remote controls go through (along with other hand-held devices like game controllers). Yep — if you could look at these through a microscope, you'd see a horror show of germs. 

But don't despair... it's relatively easy to keep these items clean and sanitized (at least until the next trip to the bathroom). A daily thorough wipe down with a sanitizing electronic wipe (turn off the power before doing this) and a weekly round in a UV sanitizer box can help you degerm all of the grubby hand-held items.

Helpful Hack

For quick cleanups of a remote control's buttons, dip a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and clean on and around them. 



Toilets are dirty. I suspect this doesn't come as a surprise to anyone. We have a "self-cleaning" toilet, and I can tell you with 100% confidence that it does not clean itself, though I wish it would. It may keep the bowl cleaner than it would be if left to its own devices, but a toilet can't self-clean its seat, base, little flushy handle, or anything else. And, as you might imagine, all these things harbor germs, as well as the TP holder and possibly the walls around your toilet (I raised boys, what can I say?). 

Any disinfecting cleaner can help with this situation, and you should wipe everything down at least weekly, as well as scrubbing the bowl and washing the seat and rim, the flusher, etc. If anyone in your house is sick, sanitize your toilet daily. And when you're done, don't forget to clean your toilet brush weekly and replace it every six months. 

Related: 7 Brilliant Toilet Cleaning Hacks

Quick Tip

Don't forget to clean your toilet tank twice a year. 

Toothbrush Holder


Toothbrush holders are so dirty — they harbor a ton of germs. So cleaning it once a week should be a priority. I clean mine every week when I deep clean the bathroom. You can handwash it with soap and hot water or make it super easy and run it through the dishwasher every week. You should also do this with toothbrush travel caps and plastic drawer inserts where you store your toothbrush.



Aside from our phones, computer keyboards are one of the most-used surfaces in our homes, and man can they get dirty. You should clean your keyboard daily using an electronics wipe. Go ahead and get the big package because with daily cleanings, they'll go fast.

Need to Know

Make sure your keyboard is disconnected from a desktop computer before wiping. With laptops, turn them off and disconnect from power before you use the wipe. Use a microfiber cloth to dry. And don't forget the mouse. 

Pet Bowls


You don't even want to know how much bacteria builds up in your dog's bowl. If we went even a day without cleaning our dogs' water bowl (granted, we had four dogs), it would get this slimy pink goo around the edge. Appetizing. Think of it this way. Pouring new dog food into a dirty bowl is like serving yourself dinner on a dirty plate. Ew.

Fortunately, your dog's bowls are super easy to clean. Toss food bowls in the dishwasher after every use and water bowls at the end of every day. Or, you can hand wash them in hot water with regular dish soap. We have several dog bowls so it's super easy to rotate them in and out as they get dirty. 

Door Handles & Knobs


What's something you touch every day but probably don't spend much time thinking about cleaning? Doorknobs. You should clean them weekly (I do it as part of my weekly deep clean) by wiping with a clean cloth and disinfectant cleaner. 

Cutting Board


When I was a kid, my mom had a meat cutting board and an everything else cutting board, which I thought was sooooo stupid. Turns out, this is good sanitary practice that can help prevent cross contamination. Cutting boards, regardless of what you cut on them, can build up bacteria quickly. If you're using plastic cutting boards, toss them in the diswasher after every use, no matter what you used them for. If you're using wooden cutting boards, follow our step-by-step guide to cleaning wood cutting boards every time you use them. Replace all cutting boards, regardless of material, every year. 

Stove Knobs


Unless we're impeccable hand washers when we cook, we touch our stove knobs with all kinds of crap on our hands. And then there's the whole added gunk that comes from splattered food as it cooks. Needless to say, stove knobs get awfully dirty, particularly underneath them and around the gaskets. 

Wash them after use by wiping them down with a surface cleaner and a cloth, and wash them weekly as part of your deep clean. To deep clean your cooktop knobs, remove them. Clean around the gasket with a disinfecting cleaner and soft cloth, and then wash the entire knob in the same way. Once everything is looking spiffy, put it all back together again. 



I think about this way more often in public restrooms than I should (possibly because long before I ever lived through a pandemic, my mom carried a spray can of Lysol in her purse and sprayed every public toilet seat and faucet before we used it), but when people first touch a faucet, their hands are dirty. So it's safe to say that unless you wipe down your faucet after every time you wash your hands (or hit it with a can of Lysol like my mom), it's bound to be pretty grungy.

It's essential to clean your faucet every night when you're putting your kitchen to bed using a disinfectant and a soft cloth. And then, once a week, give it a deep clean making sure you get in all the nooks and crannies. Clean the faucet head once a week, too, following our step-by-step instructions

Light Switches


I can almost guarantee that most people don't have super-clean hands when they touch a light switch. So, unless you have motion sensor light switches that turn on automatically when you enter a room (we have them in our bathrooms and laundry room, and they are AMAZING), they can get a little cruddy. Clean them at least weekly using our step-by-step light switch cleaning instructions



Our bathtub does a lot of work, cleaning kids, dogs, and sometimes random things that are too big to fit in the sink. And all that stuff that comes off all those dirty creatures goes straight into the tub. So naturally it gets pretty filthy!

Give your tub a deep clean weekly, using our great bathtub cleaning hacks. Don't forget to clean around the faucet and drain for a sparkling clean. 

Kitchen Sink


I probably don't have to tell you just how filthy a kitchen sink can get with all the dirty dishes that go through it. This is another one you want to clean with a disinfecting spray every night when you put your kitchen to bed. And then, deep clean it once a week when you do your other cleaning. 

Helpful Hack

Stinky garbage disposal? Run a citrus wedge through it, our use Plink garbage disposal deodorizer to instantly make your kitchen smell better. 

Can Opener


This is one that surprises a lot of people, but it makes sense when you think about it. When you poke through a can with your can opener, the blade gets a little of the food from the can on it. Not to mention what gets on the handle depending on what's on your hands. So if you toss it in your drawer without cleaning it, it can get dirtier and dirtier. 

You should wash your can opener after each use with hot water and soap and then dry it thoroughly to prevent rust. Don't run it through the dishwasher because it can rust. If you want to give it a deep clean, put it in a container with a vinegar and water solution and let it soak for about 10 minutes, then wash as normal and dry it thoroughly. Can openers usually need to be replaced every two years or so when they can no longer cleanly open a can.

Shower Curtain and Liner


Shower curtains and liners hang out in a moisture-rich environment, which makes them a breeding ground for bacteria. Plus, you probably don't always have the cleanest of hands when you first touch your shower curtain. So this definitely needs regular cleaning. 

You should wash your shower curtain at least once a month, running it through the washing machine on the appropriate cycle with some vinegar to disinfect. Hang dry. If you have a plastic shower curtain, you can spray it down with vinegar and water or another disinfecting spray and wipe it dry at least once a week. Replace shower curtains and liners every six months to a year. 

Clean Living


It's an impossible dream to think your house could be spotless all the time. After all, life happens in homes, and it can get a little messy. But you can definitely make dirty spots in your house cleaner and protect your family from germs by paying attention to some of your home's dirtiest spots. So the next time you clean, give these spots a little extra love.

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15 Dirtiest Spots in Your House You Should Clean ASAP