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Survey: The Most and Least Cleaned Items Around Your Home

March 21, 2020

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, it's vital to have a good handle on cleaning and disinfecting within your apartment. I know, I know, we all do the basics: washing our sheets, taking out the trash, and scrubbing the toilet. But what do most people forget about? What items around your home haven’t been cleaned in years and are carrying unwanted germs? 

Apartment List surveyed over 500 people to discover what household items are the most overlooked when it comes to routine cleanings. When viewing these survey results, please reference the following:

'Most cleaned’ = % of respondents that last cleaned this item within the past few months.

‘Least cleaned’ = % of respondents that last cleaned this item a few years ago or never.

bathroom vanity


Overall (and perhaps thankfully), respondents reported the bathroom is the most cleaned room in their home. When it comes to the most cleaned items in the bathroom, the bath mat tops the list. 89% of respondents cited the bath mat as their ‘most cleaned’ item (cleaned in the past month or few months). The bath mat is followed by the toothbrush holder and hair comb, with 85% and 84% of respondents reporting these items as ‘most cleaned’, respectively.

On the other side of the spectrum, the least cleaned item in the bathroom is the scale. In fact, 28% of people haven’t cleaned their scale in the past year. Assuming the scale is a frequently used item for most, it’s important to give it a good clean.

When it comes to “most touched” surfaces, the bathroom door handle was the 3rd ‘least cleaned’ item for renters. In fact, 17% of respondents reported they have not cleaned it within the past few years or never.

Cleaning and disinfecting “most touched” surfaces such as door handles is essential for preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. So make sure you’re adding the bathroom door to your usual, and perhaps, in light of current events, daily cleaning routine.


Let’s head to the kitchen, where the stovetop takes the crown for the ‘most cleaned’ item. 95% of respondents cited they have cleaned their stovetop in the past month or a few months ago. The stovetop is followed by the stove knobs and fridge handle with 87% and 85% of respondents, respectively, citing they have cleaned these items in the past few months at least.

When it comes to the ‘least cleaned' items in the kitchen, the ice maker tops the list. 28% of survey respondents cite they have never cleaned their ice maker. The fridge ice dispenser is one of the germiest things in the kitchen, so make sure to get it cleaned stat. If not cleaned properly, ice makers can become contaminated with mold, salmonella, E. coli, and shigella. 

Remember friends, just because its only water in there does not mean the ice maker will avoid getting contaminated! To avoid getting you or your family sick, make sure to thoroughly clean the inside and outside of your ice maker on a routine basis.

Living room

Living Room

Let’s take a gander into the living room, the space we spend most of our time on the couch, hanging with friends and family. Well here’s some good news, ‘under the couches’ is the most cleaned item in the living room. In fact, 79% of respondents cited they have cleaned under the couches in the past month or a few months ago. 

Unfortunately, many people are neglecting cleaning their living rooms. 26% of respondents haven’t cleaned their TV remotes recently, yuck! The TV remote is another “most touched” surface and requires frequent cleanings.

When it comes to the least cleaned item, the TV back panel is most neglected. 28% of respondents cited they haven’t cleaned their TV back panel recently or never have. It’s definitely overlooked, but could be quietly collecting germs. Get it cleaned!



All this talk of cleaning making you feel a little sleepy? Understandable… but first let’s investigate the cleaning routines of our favorite place: the bedroom. 

Bed sheets take the top spot for the ‘most cleaned’ item, with 98% of respondents citing they’ve cleaned their sheets in the past month or a few months ago. I’m sure your significant other will be glad to hear that!

The ‘least cleaned’ items in the bedroom are the laundry basket and mattress with around 30% of respondents (32% and 30%, respectively) citing they rarely or never clean these items. You may be asking yourself, how exactly do you clean a mattress? This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process.

Pet Items

Woof, woof! Let’s not forget about our furry friends. Pet items need a good cleaning, too! 

The pet bowl is the ‘most cleaned’ item, with 90% of respondents citing they have cleaned their pets’ bowl in the past month or so. Since the pet bowl is where your pet gets most of its meals (hey, we don’t judge for those occasional dinner scraps), frequent cleanings are a must. 

Unfortunately, it appears pet owners are not as diligent when it comes to pet toys. 31% of respondents say they have never cleaned their pets toys, yuck. Pet toys are constantly in your pet’s mouth or thrown around the house, so make sure to stick to frequent cleanings to prevent you or your pet from getting sick!

General Household Items

When it comes to miscellaneous household items, the ceiling fan is the ‘most cleaned’ item. 71% of respondents cited that they clean the ceiling fan at least once every few months. Light switches and washing machines are also frequently cleaned. 

The survey found light bulbs are the ‘least cleaned’ miscellaneous household item. 35% of respondents reported they never clean their light bulbs. Cleaning your light bulbs may seem tedious but improves the longevity of your bulb. In fact, dirty light bulbs shine 30% less bright than clean ones. So stop with the unnecessary replacements and get cleaning!

Final Thoughts

As we all try our best to understand and combat the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to take a step back and rethink our daily habits. Developing a thorough, frequent cleaning and disinfecting routine can help stop the virus from entering your front door. 

Maybe you turn cleaning into a new game with your roommates while ‘WFH’ (working from home), or kids while they’re home from school. Say, the first one to finish a room gets to pick tonight’s Netflix movie or take-out restaurant! We’ve heard some places are even serving adult beverages to-go...

Above all, it’s important to stay safe. But let’s have some fun with it! Happy cleaning!

Cleaning Survey Data

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Olyvia Ruhlmann
Olyvia is a Brand Marketing Manager at Apartment List, working to bring Apartment List’s vision to life. Olyvia has a BA in Media Studies from the University of Virginia. Read More
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