The Part Of Your Home That You Probably Aren't Cleaning Enough

Our homes need constant care and attention, and because of that, there's always something that gets left behind or missed. There's a lot to keep track of! Whether it's dishwasher filters or the gap between the oven and the kitchen counters, there's always something more to clean and add to our to-do list. Yet one of the most frequently missed spots is one we actually constantly use: light switches.

When you walk into a room, you can instantly spot what needs polishing. The coffee table might have sticky fingerprints, the floor has visible dust, or the couch has some rogue crumbs. But it's not that easy to spot stains or smudges on light switches, which makes us forget to clean them. However, there's a more important reason to clean them outside of aesthetics. Since multiple people in your household touch them numerous times a day, they're a breeding ground for bacteria. You need to sanitize them in addition to wiping them down.

They can spread illnesses at home

If you don't wipe down your light switches often enough, you can accidentally spread bacteria to different household members. It's estimated that light switches carry 217 bacteria per square inch, which means they are as dirty as most trash cans. If the idea of putting your bare hand into the trash grosses you out, then so should touching an unsanitized light switch.

"In particular, light switches are prone to coliform and aerobic bacteria," Toby Schulz, CEO of Maid2Match, told These are bacteria that are most commonly found in feces. "You risk transferring diseases such as the flu or E. coli if someone ill touches the light switch, then you touch it afterward."

All someone needs to do is cough in their hand and turn on the light for the rest of the household to become vulnerable to catching the same cold. Luckily, there are effective ways to both clean and sanitize these light switches.

How to sanitize light switches properly

The important thing to remember is that cleaning doesn't equate to sanitizing, and you need to do both to keep these high-touch surfaces clean. To wash light switches, simply spray a cloth or paper towel with a cleaning spray, and wipe the face plate and light switch down. You don't want to spray directly on the switch since it has an electrical component. This should remove any fingerprints, dust, and grime.

To sanitize a light switch, though, you need to go a step further and grab either a disinfecting spray or a wipe. If you're using a spray, make sure to dampen a cloth with it and then apply it to the switch — the same as when cleaning. If using a wipe, wrap it around your finger and, with precision, rub it into the switch and any crevices on the plate. Make sure you allow the disinfectant to air dry, as it usually needs a few minutes to kill the germs. After that, your light switches should be clean and germ-free.