January 2022

· 5 min read

New Year, New You: Full-House Cleanup Tips for the New Year

Start the new year by tackling spills and splotches! We help you master the difference between cleaning and sanitizing, zeroing in on germ hot spots.
Couple cleaning in kitchen - Full-House Cleanup Tips for the New Year | NSF

During the holidays, you may have reconnected with friends and family members by welcoming them into your home ⁠— for the first time in two years. This is something I know I took for granted prepandemic, but I’m hoping that as we bid COVID-19 a not-too-fond farewell, there will be plenty of similar gatherings in the year ahead.

I can’t wait to see what’s new in 2022, and I’m starting things off in good spirits and with resolutions that include a super-deep cleaning and organizing of my home to make sure it’s safe for friends and family.

To help you tackle the spills and splotches and understand the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing while zeroing in on the germiest spots, I turned to our expert cleaning guru Lisa Yakas for some great advice. As a consumer product safety expert at NSF and a trained microbiologist, as well as a mom of two and a germ buster in her own home, Yakas offers these eight tips for a “new year, new you” full-house cleanup:

  1. 1

    Plan Your Power Clean

    Create a checklist to ensure that you won’t miss out on specific areas of your home to clean. Develop a timeline with this checklist and make sure you follow through on the plan.

  2. 2

    Get Smart

    Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting — what’s the difference?

    • Cleaning is the process of removing dust and dirt, dried food, or spills.
    • Sanitizing removes or lowers the number of germs/bacteria on a surface to levels that are considered safe.
    • Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill germs, both viruses and bacteria, and lowers the risk of getting sick.

  3. 3

    Become a Game-Changing Germ Zapper

    Your kitchen carries the germiest aftermath from your holiday season of entertaining. You’ve been prepping for the holidays for days, and guests love to hang out there during parties. Start by clearing off and sanitizing all kitchen surfaces. After you’ve wiped down and cleaned them, make sure you clean cabinet, oven, microwave and sink hardware, and sanitize your kitchen sink, cutting boards and utensils.

  4. 4

    Go High Touch

    Focus on high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, tables, handles, light switches and countertops.

  5. 5

    Find the Dirty Dozen

    Clean other surfaces in your home when they are visibly dirty or as needed.

  6. 6

    Do a Potty Patrol

    Wipe down and disinfect the toilet, faucet and door handles in the bathroom, along with the light switches, countertop and sink.

  7. 7

    Bob Your Sponges

    Take breaks throughout your daylong cleaning feat, and wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.

  8. 8

    Sleuth for Sneaky Germs

    Don’t forget to clean the out-of-reach dust that collects on floor baseboards, lampshades, lights, ceiling fans, windowsills and blinds.

  9. 9

    Think Airborne

    Install air purifiers in your home; they have the ability to kill and capture viruses. It’s an extra touch after your cleaning.

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