3 Things You Probably Don’t Clean Enough
You Dirty Thing.

This is how my days usually go.

Wake up.  Brush my teeth.  Make and drink coffee.  Think about getting into the shower.  Finish drinking coffee.  Answer some emails.    Think about getting into the shower again.  Consider the fact that my hair isn’t really dirty and I’m not going anywhere today so … Drink some more coffee.  Feed the cats.  Answer more emails.  Start working on next day’s post.  Stare at my squirrely looking hair in the mirror.  Do some writing. Email some television producers in the hopes of getting a job which forces me to wash my hair.  Have a Diet Coke.  Start to make dinner.  Resolve to have shower after dinner.  Eat dinner.  Make after dinner coffee.  Sit on couch and answer more emails while boyfriend has his shower.  Kiss boyfriend goodnight before he goes to bed.  Promise myself I’ll have a shower tomorrow.  And so on.

If I never had to leave the house, I’d probably never bathe.   Most normal women don’t have time to bathe.  We have time to fix our hair in a manner that makes it appear as though we have bathed.  My dream world is the one in which someone invents a futuristic bathing machine that gets hooked up to your bedframe, so you can sleep and bathe at the same time. Like a dishwasher for people.

There are a few other things in life that also need to be cleaned on a regular basis that I have a hard time getting to. But … I do it. Because for some reason having these things dirty, seems a lot grosser than having me dirty.


Your toothbrush is a damp, disgusting little device harbouring all kinds of icky bacteria.  Tooth bacteria.  Ewwww.

To keep it in the best shape possible, store it away from other icky,  bacteria laden toothbrushes, so they’re not touching.

Also, make sure it gets air so it can dry out completely in between brushings.

Some people even go so far as to have 2 toothbrushes which they alternate between to ensure one is always completely dry.  But that’s crazy talk.

To clean your toothbrush, swish it around in a bit of 3% hydrogen peroxide or alcohol based mouthwash.


Kitchen Sponge

Meat ick, bacteria ick, floor ick, guck ick.  Just plain ick.

I mean, ick.

If you’re cheap like me and don’t want to use a new sponge every day just clean it.

To clean a sponge either stick it in the dishwasher for a full hot cycle,


Wet it and then stick it in the microwave for 2 minutes.  To make the sponge and the microwave smell nice, add a few drops of lemon juice before you microwave it.


Reusable Grocery Bags

I firmly believe that the end of society is going to come about because of “green” reusable grocery bags.

I have thrown more of these things out into the garbage because they’re not recyclable than I can count.

I don’t need one with every purchase.  I don’t need one from every event I go to.  I don’t need them handed out at parades.   Reusable shopping bags have become the Beer Logo tee shirt of the new millennium.  What I do need, ironically are plastic bags (which are recyclable) which I can use to line my garbage can.

Anyhow … I like to have a few reusable shopping bags.  I just don’t need the 100’s I seem to have.

Back to the point I was originally making … You need to clean these bags.  You have raw meat in them, and vegetables and leaky bags of milk etc. etc.

If you don’t clean them the rotten bits of food at the bottom will touch your new food and make you sick.

Even if it doesn’t make you sick, the thought of your dirty grocery bag makes me sick.  So clean them.

To clean cloth grocery bags, just throw them in the washing machine.

To clean Vinyl/Plastic Reusable Grocery Bags wipe the inside with a hot, soapy cloth or disinfectant.

I realize there are many other odd things we should clean, and I may just get around to telling you about those one day.  But for now … I think 3 is enough.  Now if you’ll excuse me I have a busy day of avoiding the shower.

* please note, this post was written in jest.  The author, Karen, does indeed bathe.  Most of the time.


  1. Rebecca says:

    I thought you were going to say to clean the coffee-maker. I clean mine about once a year, and I drink A LOT of coffee. Gross, eh? I’m sure I’ll die from it one of these days!

    I agree with you about the reusable shopping bags. I’m always turning them down when I get offered one, and people look at me like I’m nuts.

    When I took my kids swimming and found onion skin in my bathing suit it kinda occurred to me that maybe I might want to try washing those bags that I use for all sorts of purposes. Can’t say I’ve gotten around to that yet, but one day… Maybe I’ll find a raw chicken breast in my swim gear next time. Bet that’d push me to launder them.

  2. Laura says:

    I was just yelling at my husband due to the condition of his toothbrush. I refuse to own a kitchen sponge because I am too lazy to clean it. I am too forgetful to remember to bring reusable grocery bags to use even once so I am safe there.
    Just for fun try cleaning your drain with your toothbrush. You will soon add it to the list of stuff to clean as well as clean your toothbrush.

    • Karen says:

      Laura – Ohhhh the plug/drain is on the list! My niece was just talking about it today. Just didn’t make it to my top 3. 🙂 I plan on putting one of these things up every once in a while if only to remind myself. There are LOTS of gross areas in a house! ~ karen

      • cred says:

        Yuck, the drain is disgusting. Bathroom cleaning was my job growing up & I always pulled apart the pop-up drain assembly regularly. But I’ve never heard of anyone else doing it or seen it on some handy house-cleaning checklist- I just hope everyone does. Do it once and you’ll never neglect it again.

        As for the toothbrushes, Yaaah! I’m NOT wacko for soaking our toothbrushes in hydrogen peroxide. Wait, perhaps finding a toothbrush-cleaning kinship with you only affirms my wacko status!

        I have never been accused of being a neat freak but some things are too gross to live with- germ-laden toothbrushes, globs of slimy hair in the drain, a dirty toilet or scummy bathroom sink (you brush you teeth there for God’s sake)- ignore the fact that I haven’t showered today ; )

    • lori says:

      eeeewwww you are right about the drain. i have done that and it is totally gross!!!

  3. Pam'a says:

    I hadn’t thought of peroxide for the toothbrush. Genius! I’d like to share one other toothbrush hint that recently grossed me out: Keep it as far from the toilet as possible. ‘Seems there are these tiny droplets that fly out of there and, well… Our toothbrushes are clear across the bathroom, thank you.

    ‘Hate sponges. They LOOK like a germ apartment building to me. Instead, I use black cotton dish rags (they never look gross!), I switch them often and bleach the heck out of ’em.

    I’m with you on the bathing machine, Karen. Keep me posted on how that’s going!

  4. mel says:

    A giant dishwasher to sleep and bathe at the same time…?! Why did nobody think about that before.. i could sleep almost 30 minutes longer in the morning.. and think of the additional hour if i would drape all my dishes, sponges, bags and my toothbrush around me.. genial!

  5. Marketa Fuchs says:

    On the toothbrush issue – it’s not a bad idea to dry one’s toothbrush on a towel after brushing – turns your toothbrush into a bacteria’s Sahara.. not much of an environment in which they can flourish..

  6. Linda says:

    OK, you sound like me. Sitting here coffee in hand, just cleaned the pot with my gross sponge and brushed my teeth with my gross toothbrush, don’t have to worry about gross reusable bags cause I make mine all out of cloth and they go in the wash all the time but I am contemplating… thanks to spell check for that word..how ironic it is that we turn down free… free, mind you.. grocery bags and then go buy a box of plastic bags for the garbage. Also contemplating why the grossness of the sponge and toothbrush, and thanks you for the drain to add on to the list.. bother me more then the fact that that shower is not on my list of things I need to do everyday. good point.
    Now I am contemplating (hey, when you learn how to spell a word like that, ya gotta show it off) if we drink a little dab… just a little dab.. of bleach each day, will it protect us from crud and gunk?
    OK, now I am done, except for one more thing.. how many people would admit to not showering every day?
    and, how many people think that comtemplating is a better way to spell it the spell-checks stupid way?
    ****don’t drink bleach.. we get enough in our water..not medical advice!!!

  7. marilyn says:

    amen to cleaning the grocery bags! as a cashier i have first hand experience with the hidden horrors of the reusable bags. i simply cannot believe that people want me to put my hand in there never mind their food! just disgusting..they are washable peeps, get it done! i would hate to see their houses if they cant clean a simple grocery bag..yuck.

    • Pam'a says:

      Here’s another one that now creeps me out: The bottom of our purses, girls. How many nasty places have we parkeded those things, then waltzed in and plopped them down on the kitchen countertop?

      (Happy to make everyone’s day…)

  8. KatG says:

    I will admit that I don’t shower everyday. There are just more interesting things to do than showering and I’m just NOT that dirty. Of course, I live in Arizona so the dry air keeps the bad bacteria at bay. But my sponges? Immaculate. My grocery bags (which I sewed myself — store ones aren’t big enough) are washed weekly with my pile of dishtowels with a bit of vinegar thrown in. And I AM the toothbrush nazi: replaced often and never EVER put near anything. Gross.

  9. deborahinps says:

    Human dishwasher…brilliant!

    Hydrogen peroxide under bathroom sink. check
    10% bleach/water under kitchen sink….check
    laundered green bag………………..check
    detailed bathroom drain…………….check

    Now go run a wet rag IN and around the garbage disposal area…..I’ll wait.
    hmm dum dee dum do wop a do.
    Back yet?
    Yeah, I know, you’ll be a while 😀

  10. Sue says:

    Proud to say that I am a little squidgy about those 3 things and do clean/toss them often. But my working from home (I’ll shower tomorrow), drinking coffee (and smoking which I started again after quitting for 12 years!)answering emails, sending emails, on the hunt for new opportunities, staring at and getting distracted by EVERYTHING sound sooo familiar….

  11. Jaimee says:

    I just got unreasonably excited that you have a CrossFit bag.

  12. Brittany says:

    Ahahah!! I’m with you on the dishwasher for people!

  13. Amyfaith says:

    I just read an article that published the findings of a lab that did extensive testing on bacteria in the home and *by a far margin* the germiest thing in YOUR home is your kitchen rag/sponge. More bacteria even that your toilet seat! And here’s the deal: the dishwasher doesn’t sanitize sponges; it just drives the food particles farther in where the can fester in peace. But, if you nuke your sponge for 2-3 minutes, the interior reaches temps that kill all the bacteria. And don’t start getting all superior you dishrag people. Even though dishrags CAN be laundered, most people don’t do it nearly often enough and so rags and sponges had equal the amount of germs across the numerous sample sites the biologists visited.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Amy! Funny. I was thinking about the dishwasher/microwave thing last night. I decided the best thing to do would be to wash the sponge well, dishwasher it, THEN put it in the microwave. Or of course … just pull out a new sponge. 🙂 ~ karen

    • susie says:

      I have a strong phobia about mildewy towels, cloths, and sponges. I always have a dishrag out that gets used only for wiping up spills and cleaning the counter that day. I rinse, wring, and hang it after every single use. It hangs overnight to dry thoroughly, then I throw it in the hamper the next morning and wash it in my next load of hot water items. Microfiber cloths are awesome for this. I keep a stack of them in my drawer. It’s easy!

      As for the dish sponges, they get (maybe) disinfected when I use them to bleach-scrub the kitchen sink (about once a week). Is that gross?

  14. Amyfaith says:

    Oh, one more thing I forgot to say: soaking your toothbrush in hydrogen peroxide is all well and good for a brief time (like an hour), but if you, say, soak your brush in the same little jar of peroxide sitting in your medicine cabinet, after about 24 hours you’re basically just keeping it in water. H. peroxide breaks down very quickly when exposed to light and air (hence the tightly sealed, opaque bottles. Go check the expiration date on that bottle in the back of your linen closet now. Then run down to CVS and buy a new bottle. You’re welcome.).

    And two thumbs up to keeping the brush not just across the room, but under cover (in the medicine cabinet, a drawer, a case, etc). Close the lid before you flush. Oh, and when you’re in a public restroom with high pressure commercial toilets, make flushing the last thing you do before exiting and turn your head away; you don’t even want to know how much and how far those power flush toilets spew bits around.

    I’ll stop now.

  15. Julie shinnick says:

    Cleaning? What is that?
    Seems like an incredible waste of time!
    Doesn’t it get dirty again straight away???

    Cleaning is a dirty word! It gets in the way of creating/drinking time

    I am jesting….things do get cleaned here….eventually…..

  16. susie says:

    First rule of living cleaner: REFUSE FREE STUFF like those plastic reusable shopping bags. I, too, have a bunch that were given to me by various mail-order/retail/hotel places. They are typically ugly and, as you say, not recyclable.

    My favorite is a canvas shopper that is wider than it is deep (to help with not tumbling over in a heap). It’s fully machine-washable! And durable! And eventually, biodegradable.

  17. Nancy says:

    A kindred spirit! One definition of happiness for my best friend and for me is a weekend that does not require us to wash our hair. In fact, only reason I tolerate winter is the fact I don’t have to wash my hair as often due to the extreme cold/dry weather. Dry shampoo is a lovely substitute for a shower.

  18. Jane Price says:

    You have such patient cats.–or either they’re sound sleepers! You can do all that BEFORE feeding them! I envy you

  19. Pam says:

    I second the REFUSE FREE STUFF. I can’t believe the quanity and quality of crap companies feel good about putting their logos on! And most of it breaks easily or is not recyclable. I’ve decided to let them deal with their own garbage so I don’t have to feel bad about throwing away something that I might use ‘someday’.

  20. Sarah says:

    Thanks for showing the ‘Crossfit’bag in your blog!!!!

  21. Anemone says:

    hahahaha…i laughed sooo hard when I read “dishwasher for people”…i sort of imagined myself for a second in it…
    Its worst thing to get up from you warm bed…and put your warm feet on the cold tiles and cold bath tub…worst when you look out your window and its snowing…
    (someone please make the dishwasher for people…its about time)

  22. ripley slade says:

    This is funny!

  23. EvolutionBaby says:

    Shame on you for throwing your reusable bags in the GARBAGE! After they are clean, you can bring them to a grocery store so that people who have forgotten their cloth bags can use them instead of plastic. Or you can donate them to a thrift store so they can hand them out to their shoppers. You can also decline taking a bag when you’re making a purchase, because you’ve remembered to bring your own!

  24. Pam'a says:

    Despite my comments above, I DO think it’s possible to get too phobic and obsessed over germs. In fact, scientists have been exploring whether it’s one of the reasons there are so many more people with terrible allergies and asthma now. Hence, although I have a certain reverence for cleanliness, I still stand by my motto: Every child needs to consume a pound of dirt before they’re five. So relax a little. 🙂

  25. Alyssa says:

    Where do you find free reusable shopping bags? Up here in northern AB, they *all* have a price. I use them because my house was being overrun with the plastic ones (even though I reuse them for garbage cans) and I hate paying for the plastic.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alyssa! Oh brother … every time I go to an event or buy something anywhere other than the Dollar store I get one. I went on a Christmas House tour and they gave out reusable bags for everyone to hold their shoes in while you walked through the houses. They’re everywhere around here! ~ karen

  26. cred says:

    just a note about the stability of hydrogen peroxide- it is a compound of hydrogen and oxygen (2 H202) and when it decays or oxides it releases the oxygen (O2) into those tiny bubbles you see when it contacts bacteria and leaves behind water (H2O).

    However, stabilizers are added to slow that process (that’s why you shouldn’t drink it even though it is only 3%).

    Basically, if it still bubbles it’s working.

  27. Lita says:

    We keep a bottle of peroxide by the bathroom sink. Every time I brush I splash my (rinsed) tooth brush with a little. Makes a big difference (as in you can SEE it, that’s what got my man doing it too).

  28. Melissa says:

    I laughed so hard at the idea of a dishwasher for people. Sign me up!!

    A lady ahead of us in the checkout lane at the grocery recently walked off with about 15 of our reusable grocery bags and we were SHOCKED I tell you, and a little hurt! But now we have another 10 or 15 and have mostly recovered. 😉

    I also got really excited when I saw your Crossfit Alchemy bag. Are you a Crossfitter? That would explain your buff arms in your bio picture!

  29. Mari says:

    Thanks for the cleaning tips! but I’m more interested in that sponge stand that it looks like you’ve got there…? What is that thingamabob? I’m curious and jealous all at the same time! I’m tired of the regular old sponge holders, they just get real icky and gross.

    • Karen says:

      Mari – What sponge stand? LOL. I don’t have a sponge stand. Describe what you’re looking at and I’ll tell you what it is. ~ karen

  30. Kim says:

    You Should try cleaning your hair brush…omg now that is something that should be done more often then people think. After I pull all the hair out I soak mine is a big glass or bowl of hot water and baking soda. The nasty scum that collects at the top of the glass makes you grossed out lol just a thought for ya

  31. kelliblue says:

    My mother was/is a clean freak; growing up with we always had LOTS of cleaning to do. She actually scrubbed our bathtub so often with Ajax cleanser that she literally cleansed the porcelain veneer right off. After that, of course, trying to keep it clean was impossible; it was like a tub made entirely of grout.

    One thing she did was always keep one of our kitchen sinks filled w/about 2 inches of hot bleach water. Not only did it keep the enamel white, but she’d also soak the kitchen sponges in it between uses to keep them germ-free. It’s wacky but it worked.

  32. KarenDF says:

    Hi, Karen! Love your blog (& your name! 😉 Yeah, yeahhhh, I’m waaaaaay late commenting here; but, after reading this great thread, I had to comment (how’s that for a run-on sentence?!).
    ~ Bathroom – I’m so glad to read that I’m not the only person that puts the toilet lid down before flushing! During a special germ/health episode of Oprah years ago, experts noted the most germ-ridden areas of bathrooms (with nasty, sample reports to prove it). My skin crawled when they explained that toothbrushes should be stored in medicine cabinets because each toilet flush spreads a fine mist of toilet water around the bathroom (& took samples to prove how far the mist sprays … including toothbrushes on the sink, etc.). Since then, I put the toilet seat lid down before flushing, store toothbrushes in the medicine cabinet, wash the walls behind the toilet every time I clean the bathroom. Meanwhile, magazine racks next to toilets gross me out. Electric toothbrush heads should be removed from the base regularly for cleaning their undersides as well.
    ~ Kitchen: Love dish cloths because I can wash them often & change them daily. All kitchen linens are washed together with white vinegar & sometimes all-natural enzyme cleaner added to the detergent. I don’t use sponges in the kitchen because they have the very things that make English muffins so yummy … nooks & crannies to capture food. So, sponges must be replaced often. Whether a cloth or sponge is used, it’s important to rinse them thoroughly & dry them completely to avoid sour/mildewy/smelly … ick. Ewww.
    ~ Stove/fridge/faucet handles/knobs, doorknobs, phones, keyboards, remotes, steering wheel, gearshift, etc. okay, I’ll stop now …

  33. Karen, I’m with you about bathing. Who wants to stop and do it when there are so many other more interesting things to do (or avoid doing)? I’m waiting for a Jetsons-esque stall that I step into, which cleans me, puts on my clothes, puts on my makeup and styles my hair. All in 30 seconds. Can you invent that device? Please and thank you.

  34. Katie says:

    How would I clean a sponge if I don’t have either a dishwasher or a microwave?

    • Karen says:

      Katie – Soak it in a solution of bleach and water. You don’t need a lot of bleach. 1 Tbsp. or so in a cup of water. ~ karen!

  35. Donna T says:

    Good Morning from Oregon! Of course I’m late in writing about this blog … because I love your blogs and am totally hooked, so when I read the “daily”, I read a few of the older ones as well!

    SOOOO happy to know that I am NOT the only one on the planet who does not feel compelled to jump in the shower each and every day! Whew… it has been my “dirty little secret” for years. Too many other things to do and it’s not like I’ve been out digging ditches or shoveling manure for a living and getting DIRTY! Thank you thank you thank you!!
    P.S. — did I mention I love your blog?? 🙂

  36. Lyn Arnberg says:

    These are great and I agree they need to happen although I don’t use the grocery bags. I’m lucky to get there at all, especially with my list. Usually just a guessing game.
    I tried to sanitize my sponge in the microwave once. Cooked it a bit too long. Worse smell ever! Had to get tongs and throw a blackened, smoking sponge out my back door. My kitchen stunk all day. I replace mine frequently instead now.

  37. julie Rae says:

    I do the underarm sniff test: If I smell, I take a bath. I do clean my toothbrush often and sponges are too gross to even consider. I wash my lunch sack in the washing machine. I do wash my sheets every Saturday cause I sleep nekkid and they just feel so divine when they’re fresh.
    Happy Friday!

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