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Spring Cleaning Tip: Don't Forget the Doorknobs

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Photo by <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mariusz_st/">Mariusz_St</a>/Flickr/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">Creative Commons</a>
Photo by Mariusz_St/Flickr/Creative Commons

You've put away your winter clothes. Cleaned out the fridge. Decluttered the junk drawer. Washed and oiled your wooden cutting boards. Even held a garage sale to get rid of things you realized you didn't need.

But there's probably one little thing you forgot to do, and it goes beyond wiping down the counters and scrubbing the toilets: disinfecting your doorknobs.

Doorknobs are one of the most highly-contacted surfaces in the home, but we don't often think to clean them on a regular basis when we do the rest of our chores. Wipe down a doorknob and you may be surprised by the amount of dirt that comes off of it — even when you think it looks perfectly clean. Bacteria aside, the oils on our hands accumulate over time on these small surfaces, attracting even more grime.

And if you're worried about bacteria, here's some interesting trivia: brass and copper doorknobs actually impede bacterial growth. It's called the oligodynamic effect, and it's the result of metal ions in brass and copper having a toxic effect on molds, spores, viruses, and other living cells. Unvarnished brass doorknobs magically disinfect themselves in about eight hours. But if your knobs are made of another material like stainless steel or glass, beware — these non-self cleaning surfaces could be a hotbed of bacteria, with some microorganisms surviving for more than a month. So if someone in your household has a cold, it's always a good idea to disinfect all the doorknobs they come in contact with.

For a natural, non-toxic cleaning solution, spray the surface with vinegar and wipe dry with a clean cloth. Focus on the knobs and handles that get the most action throughout the day: the front door, bathroom doors, refrigerator doors, even the little knobs on your kitchen cupboard doors.

And while you're at it, don't forget other often-overlooked areas as well, like your light switches, TV remotes, and computer keyboards.

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