In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are being extra cognizant of cleaning and sanitizing our surroundings. We're washing our hands a billion times a day, sanitizing counters and doorknobs more frequently, and wiping down our shopping cart when entering the market. But there are items you use - and touch - every day that you may not even think to clean. 


Our keys get tossed around, thrown in our bag, placed on the checkout counter. But when was the last time you cleaned them. In fact, many of you may be wondering HOW you should clean them. Fortunately, Apartment Therapy breaks it down for us:

  • If your keys include an electronic fob or a decorative keychain attached to your ring, remove them.
  • Drop metal keys in a bowl of soapy water and give ‘em a quick scrub with an old toothbrush.
  • Rinse in clean water.
  • To disinfect, use a disinfecting wipe or dunk them in a bowl with a diluted bleach and water solution.
  • Rinse clean.
  • Let them air dry.

IMPORTANT: You should NOT immerse your key fob in water. Instead, you can clean it with a disinfecting wipe and let it air dry. 

For plush or decorative keychains, Apartment Therapy suggests cleaning like you would a stuffed animal.

Toothbrush Holder

The American Dental Association recommends changing your toothbrush or brush head every three months or after you've been sick. But, what's the point of keeping your toothbrush new and germ-free if you just place it in a dirty toothbrush holder? The Huffington Post recommends cleaning it every time you clean your bathroom.

  • Empty the holder
  • Fill it with very hot water, rinse and wipe down with a paper towel
  • Fill the container with mouthwash and let it sit for a few minutes
  • Pour the liquid out and let it air dry


By now, you've probably cleaned your cell phone. but what about your smartwatch? It's an expensive device and you'll want to make sure you do it correctly. Here's what Apple suggests:

  • Gently wipe exterior surfaces with a 70-percent isopropyl alcohol wipe.
  • Be sure to keep moisture away from any openings, and avoid fabric or leather surfaces.
  • To clean the band, detach the watch first. Wipe the band surface with a cloth lightly dampened with fresh water. For leather bands, use a leather cleaner.
  • Dry the band with a nonabrasive, lint-free cloth.

Apple says you should avoid using hand sanitizer, bleach, Lysol, or compressed air. Also, avoid paper towels or anything else that may be too abrasive and scratch the screen or protective coating.

TV Remote

Let's be honest, we've all been watching way more TV than normal and that remote is getting some excessive use. But have you cleaned it recently? Here's how HuffPost recommends cleaning it:

  • Wipe down with a disinfecting wipe
  • Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol to clean in between the buttons
  • Allow it to air dry

Credit Cards

When you leave the market - one of the few places we're allowed to go - you probably wash your hands or douse yourself in hand sanitizer. But - what about the credit card you used to buy your groceries? According to Real Simple, credit cards are germier than dollar bills and coins. Fortunately, they can be cleaned.

  • Take the cards out of your wallet and rub them down with a disinfecting wipe.
  • Let them dry before putting them back into your wallet.
  • You can use a pencil eraser to remove any buildup on the magnetic strip.
  • While you're at it, you may want to clean your wallet as well.

If you want to go the techy route, Real Simple also suggests PhoneSoap - which is a UV device that can sanitize your phone, keys, credit cards or anything else that can fit inside.

Your Pillow

You probably change your sheets fairly often, but you should also wash your pillows every so often. 

Reader's Digest says you can wash down- and fiber-filled pillows. Here's how:

  • Put two at a time in the washer
  • Follow the care instructions, or if there's no tag, use warm water and the gentle cycle.
  • Add an extra cold-water rinse and spin to make sure all the soap is rinsed out.
  • Dry the pillows on low heat, along with a few rubber dryer balls.

Eye Glasses

If you wear glasses, think about how many times you touch them throughout the day. You probably clean the lenses fairly regularly, but what about the frames? According to Good Housekeeping, you should:

  • Run your glasses under warm water.
  • Place a small drop of gentle dishwashing detergent on the lens and rub to create a lather. Rinse with warm water.
  • Dy with a clean, soft cotton cloth.
  • To disinfect, you can use 70-percent isopropyl alcohol. Just check with your optometrist to make sure you won't damage any special coatings on your lenses.


The Gas Pump

Gas Stations, like markets, are one of the few places we're still allowed to go. Instead of cleaning the pump, Grove Collaborative suggests taking steps to avoid touching the gas pump and keypad directly. 

  • Use a disinfecting wipe or disposable paper between the keypad buttons and your fingertip to key in your info.
  • Make sure your hand is protected with paper or a wipe from touching the gas pump handle.
  • After you’re done, discard the paper.
  • Use your credit card to pay? Remember to wipe it down, too! (see above for cleaning credit cards).

Pandemic or not - these are great tips to keeping our lives a little less germy and hopefully a lot healthier.