You Might Not Know the Real Reasons Behind These 10 Cleaning Rules

published Dec 7, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

Being told to change your sheets every week along with many other household chores seems like something your parents made up to get you to do your part around the house. But how much truth is there in this conventional wisdom?

We’re here to debunk these stories and get to the bottom of it. (Both your hygiene level and your sanity will thank you later.) Check out our list of how often you should really be cleaning these 10 things around your house, according to the experts.

1. Change your sheets every week.

TRUE: According to Reader’s Digest, there is not an exception to this rule. In fact, some people should be changing their sheets even more often.  Your daily habits and showering times will increase the number of days you can go in between.

2. Wash your walls once a year. 

TRUE: According to Family Handyman, walls are often forgotten on the cleaning schedule but deserve a space at least once a year.  There are all kinds of germs hanging out on our walls, especially with kids grabbing them as they round every corner. 

3. You don’t need to clean your dishwasher.

FALSE: It may seem contradictory to wash something that washes things for us, but it is imperative. Dishwashers don’t have an exit trap, and although most food is broken down, particles are left behind and build up over time. CNN tells us that our dishwasher should be washed monthly. Luckily you won’t have to get on your hands and knees to scrub it, as a cup of vinegar on a full cycle should do the trick. 

4. The less you wash your jeans, the better.

TRUE: As counterintuitive as it might seem to tell someone to do laundry less, this rings true for jeans, according to Marie ClaireJeans wear better, feel better, and last longer when washed infrequently, and in cold water with a line dry afterward.  The ballpark figure is four or five wears before a wash.

5. Wipe down your oven every week.

TRUE and FALSE: It may seem like a daunting task, but avoiding a weekly oven wipe-down will only further the workout your arm is going to get from baked-on grease.  Experts at Good Housekeeping explain that wiping the oven down weekly will prevent strenuous deep cleans, which should be performed every six months.

6. Clean your refrigerator every week.

TRUE: The experts at Taste of Home state that weekly wipe-downs are necessary for every fridge.  Cleaning this often extends the life of your refrigerator and the longevity of each deep cleaning (which should be done every few months).

7. You need to wash your shower curtain. 

TRUE: In fact, you should be washing it every month, according to Bright Nest.  Cloth shower curtains can be washed just like a regular load of laundry. Vinyl ones can be washed, too—they just need a little more care.

8. Wipe down your kitchen cabinets every week.

TRUE: While you may not be cooking directly on them, dust particles allow the grease to travel throughout the kitchen with ease.  Without a proper wipe-down, these particles build up into sticky grime.

Credit: Kristan Lieb

9. You never have to clean your comforter or duvet cover. 

FALSE: Regardless of whether you use a top sheet or not, your comforter/duvet cover touches your body every night and needs to be washed at least monthly, according to Hire a Helper.

10. Wash your bra every week. 

FALSE: Like jeans, bras don’t need to be added to the laundry every week.  According to CNN, over-washing will result in a stretched out, faded, ill-fitting bra that ends up in the trash. They advise washing bras after three or four wears.

11. Laundry detergent can stain your clothes.

Mostly FALSE: Detergent’s job is to leave your clothes clean, but that doesn’t mean it won’t leave a residue sometimes. Apartment Therapy talked with Laura Goodman, a P&G fabric care scientist, on how to remove detergent residue.

This post was originally published on Apartment Therapy. Read it there: Do I Really Have to Clean My Sheets Every Week? And 10 Other Things We Were Told Are Mandatory