WE'VE all been guilty of forgetting to scrub the oven or neglecting that dirty shower drain, but there are some places around the house you've never even thought to clean – and definitely need to.

From sweaty pillows and mattresses covered in dead skin, to filthy lampshades and even smartphone screens, some hidden hotspots are simply infested with germs.


Just this week a woman left TikTok horrified when she filmed herself washing her boyfriend’s stained pillows after 10 years.

She documented the entire cleaning process, soaking them in the bath with dishwasher tablets, pouring Borax powder and bleach on them and finally flinging them in the washing machine.

Eventually, the once-yellowed and filthy pillows appeared transformed.

But pillows aren't the only household item many of us neglect. Here, telly cleaning expert 'Queen of Clean' Lynsey Crombie shares some of the biggest (and most unlikely) culprits for germs – and the best ways to clean them…

Pillows 'double in weight' from dirt, sweat and dead skin

While you may wash your bed sheets weekly or fortnightly, it's not enough to freshen up the bed – with mattresses and pillows a prime target for sweat, dead skin and filth.

Mum-of-three Lynsey, 41, says: "Your pillow, in six months, doubles in weight due to dirt, sweat and filth. Your dead skin from your head, the sweat from your head and neck, all goes in there.


"I'm one of these people that will go to Primark every six months to buy new pillows and duvets, because I know how disgusting they get.

"You can chuck your pillows in the tumble dryer on a high heat. It completely dries them out and kills some of the bacteria and breaks down any odours.

"Some are washing machine proof now too, but never hang them outside – lay them flat on a table or something to dry.

"The best advice though is to buy pillow protectors and wash them every week.


"Mattresses are disgusting as well, so you need a protector for them too. All your sweat and stuff is going into it, so vacuum your mattress every time you change your bottom sheet to remove all the dead skin.

"You can then use a Febreze type product to freshen it up, or make your own. I use lavender essential oils, water and bicarbonate of soda."

Another woman revealed she used The Pink Stuff's Oxi Stain Remover to remove embedded stains on her own mattress, in a post on the Facebook group Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK.

Rugs with 'buried-in filth'

While vacuuming rugs every time you do a spring clean may have become routine, it actually may not be collecting all of the dirt – with some festering in there for years.


Lynsey, from Peterborough, says: "We may vacuum our rug, but when you vacuum it you're not really cleaning it.

"My tip is to flip it over upside down, and vacuum it from the back. When you pick your rug up, vacuuming it from the other side pushes all the dirt out. It goes back to Victorian times when they beat their rugs outside."


Meanwhile, another woman swore by shampooing her rug previously, sharing before and after photos of the incredible transformation.

Toothbrush holders a haven for mould

Throwing your toothbrush down into the holder in a rush every morning may have become a habit – but the amount of germs and bacteria gathering there will make you think again.

While some holders are dishwasher friendly, others might need more care.

Lynsey says: "They get so grimey. I'd get a denture tablet and drop that in once a week, fill it up with water, and leave it to clean itself.

"After you've cleaned that, you can also turn your toothbrush over and do your toothbrush head as well. You know a denture tablet is safe for you then too, and non-toxic. They effectively kill off the germs.

"Mouthwash works well too."

Shower curtains covered with grime

While you may clean your shower itself regularly, a major hotbed of germs is actually the curtain – which can get extremely mouldy in a short space of time.


Lynsey says: "When you've finished your shower, pull it so it's fully out and let it dry with a window open if you can.

"If it has got mould on it, spray it with white vinegar and rinse it out."

Sweat and food-crusted TV remotes

Reaching out for the TV remote seems harmless enough, but it can quickly leave it infested with bacteria as a result of sweat, hair residue and even food particles.


Lynsey says: "People forget there's sweat coming out of your fingers constantly. You might sit on it, or you could be eating a biscuit, and it takes a battering.

"I spray my TV remote with Dettol constantly. But you can use a cotton bud for this one, to get all around the buttons, just using soapy water."

Door/oven handles become germ magnets

While Covid-19 has heightened everyone's awareness of germs, a major culprit at any time – but particularly now – is door or oven handles.

Lynsey says: "Door handles are one of the biggest germ magnets in your house.


"In the current climate, these really need a daily clean. All it needs to be is a wet cloth and a tiny bit of washing up liquid, or a disinfectant spray.

"They're where your hands go. If you forget to wash them and you've been in a coffee shop, touching someone else or on your phone, they'll be full of germs."

Light switches laced with bacteria

Similar to door handles, Lynsey says light switches should be cleaned regularly – even as much as daily during the coronavirus pandemic

She adds: "Disinfectant spray works, but never spray the light switch directly, spray the cloth and then apply that.

"This should be done daily in the current climate, and weekly in normal circumstances."

Dusty lamp shades and light bulbs

Noticed your lamp isn't giving off as much light as normal? There could be a pretty grim reason.


Lynsey says: "At this time of year when you are switching your lights back on, remember that the bulb probably hasn't been cleaned all summer because you've not used the lights.

"The light bulb won't give off a really good light if it's got a covering of dust on it. Use an old make-up brush or paint brush to remove the dust – once every couple of weeks.

"Then for the lamp shade, use a lint roller up and down nice and gently to get off any dust or cobwebs."

Make-up bags and brushes that give you spots

Neglecting to clean your make-up bag and your brushes could lead to skin conditions and spots.

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✨Cleaning Tip Tuesday✨ Dirty make up brushes are worse that kissing a toilet seat, YUK Make up brushes harbour so much dirt from nasty bacteria, dead skin cells and oils and they don’t take long to build up on your make up brushes. One of the biggest causes of bad skin and break outs is from your make up brushes So how often do you clean yours, one a week, one a month, hardly never ? Try and get into the habit of cleaning your make up brushes once a week, add this task to your cleaning rota or set a reminder in your phone as cleaning make up brushes is definitely one of those jobs, we do forget to do A few quick and easy way to diminish that dirt is to clean them 1️⃣Use baby shampoo and warm water 2️⃣Spritz them with rubbing alcohol 3️⃣Wash them using dish soap and a little olive oil, oil breaks down make up 4️⃣Make up a spray of witch hazel and grapefruit essential oil, spray and wipe clean after every use Or 5️⃣Opt for a specialised make up brush cleaner . . #cleaningtiptuesday #tip #cleaningtip #makeupbrushes #clean #disinfect #sterilise #queenofclean #dirtmagnet #beautyhacks #hacks

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✨Cleaning Tip Tuesday✨ Dirty make up brushes are worse that kissing a toilet seat, YUK Make up brushes harbour so much dirt from nasty bacteria, dead skin cells and oils and they don’t take long to build up on your make up brushes. One of the biggest causes of bad skin and break outs is from your make up brushesSo how often do you clean yours, one a week, one a month, hardly never ? Try and get into the habit of cleaning your make up brushes once a week, add this task to your cleaning rota or set a reminder in your phone as cleaning make up brushes is definitely one of those jobs, we do forget to doA few quick and easy way to diminish that dirt is to clean them1️⃣Use baby shampoo and warm water 2️⃣Spritz them with rubbing alcohol3️⃣Wash them using dish soap and a little olive oil, oil breaks down make up 4️⃣Make up a spray of witch hazel and grapefruit essential oil, spray and wipe clean after every use Or 5️⃣Opt for a specialised make up brush cleaner. . #cleaningtiptuesday #tip #cleaningtip #makeupbrushes #clean #disinfect #sterilise #queenofclean #dirtmagnet #beautyhacks #hacks

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Lynsey says: "They're filthy, they're a massive bacteria and germ magnet.

"If your make-up brushes and things aren't clean you can get skin conditions and spots.

"Spritz the brushes with a bit of rubbing alcohol and put your lipstick in the fridge for half an hour every day. It kills the germs off it.

"Then take everything out of the bag every so often and give it all a good wipe down, while cleaning the bag itself in the washing machine (if it will go in)."

Limescale-filled kettle and grim coffee maker

While a grotty kettle or coffee machine can affect its function over time, a build up of mould in the machine in particular could even mean it gets into your daily cuppa.


Lynsey says: "In your kettle it's limescale, hard water build up. But you also need to think about the handle too.

"Wipe down the handle every day, making sure you do it every time you do your surfaces. Don't forget the cord or the base on the kettle either.

"To descale it, you can either use white vinegar diluted with water or lemon juice diluted with water. Leave it for 30 minutes and Bob's your uncle.

"For the coffee machine, pull it apart and soak the bits you can, then in the filtration bit, just use white vinegar.

"You have to look after the things that look after you, your kettle, your washing machine… Who wants a cup of tea with a big lump of limescale in it?"

Smelly rubbish bins

Taking out full bin bags regularly is essential, but the bin itself can also become smelly and grimy over time.

Lynsey says: "They get disgusting and often smell of things like tea and coffee.

"You need to be cleaning the lid and around the lid weekly with soapy water, then in the bottom, get a cotton ball or makeup pad with a couple of drops of essential oil and drop it in.

"It will keep it smelling fresh. Tea tree oil is a nice one because that's antibacterial as well."

Shoe laces thick with dirt

You might only clean your shoes once in a blue moon, but the laces themselves could need an even deeper clean that you realise.

Lynsey says: "Boil your laces on the hob, just in a saucer with boiling water and bicarbonate of soda until they're bright white – for around an hour.

"I usually wash my trainers in the washing machine too."

Germ-covered smartphone screen and keyboards

They're possibly one of the most used devices in daily life now, but Lynsey says many people neglect to keep their spartphones clean.

And, similarly, your computer keyboard could be infested with filth and germs too.

She says: "Rubbing alcohol is best for your phone. Apply a small amount to a cloth and wipe the phone over, making sure you take you case off and wash that too in warm soapy water.

"But also pay attention to your charging cable and give that a wipe over as well. You're touching that just as much.

"Keyboards are the same – rubbing alcohol is really good, or an alcohol wipe. Apple have said that rubbing alcohol doesn't damage these devices."

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