Sponge Safety: The Dos and Don’ts You Need to Know to Keep Your Sponge Clean

kitchen spongeSponges are fantastic for wiping up messes and absorbing liquid quickly. They can even absorb harmful foodborne pathogens and help scrub down sticky messes in the kitchen in no time. What would we do without our handy sponges? Unfortunately, while sponges are quite handy, they can also quickly begin harboring millions of germs right under your nose. If you aren’t careful, this could mean a much higher chance of cross-contamination in the kitchen.

Though you can’t eliminate 100% of the germs that are hiding in the nooks and crannies of your sponge, there are many ways that you can drastically cut down the risk of cross-contamination and keep your kitchen workspace clean. Check out our super-easy dos and don’ts of kitchen sponge safety – tips that you need to know to keep your space clean and free of disease and infection!


Clean Your Sponge Daily – Want to really lower the risk of cross-contamination? Sanitize your sponge every day! To back this up, researches at the USDA found that over 99% of bacteria, yeasts, and molds were killed when damp sponges were heated in the microwave for one minute and also when they were run through a dishwasher (complete with drying cycle). Easy as that!

Store Them In a Dry Location – Germs and bacteria love wet, dark places, so take that environment out of the equation by storing your sponges in a dry location. Just make sure to wring out the sponge after each use and wash off any loose food particles before doing so!

Replace Them Frequently – Even after 2-3 uses, your sponge can be absolutely filled to the brim with bacteria. While it’s true that cleaning your sponge daily will help eradicate these germs and reduce the risk of food poisoning, you should still strongly consider replacing your sponge regularly. As soon as you start to notice the sponge smelling at any point, throw it away and bring out a new one.


Wipe Up Meat Juices – This is a huge no-no! Cleaning up any spills from poultry or ground beef is a recipe for disaster because it increases your chances of spreading harmful foodborne pathogens. That job should be reserved for a paper towel or disinfectant wipe.

Use Them on Countertops – Sponges can contain millions of bacteria – yes, millions! You don’t want to spread those on your countertops where you place your food, plates, and utensils. Avoid spreading those bacteria by using a paper towel or disinfectant wipe on your countertops. This helps keep cross-contamination in check!

Ignore Dishcloths – Once again, your sponge is a powerful tool, but it shouldn’t be considered as a catch-all for kitchen duties. That’s where dishcloths come in! Much like your sponge, though, your dishcloths should be laundered frequently because they harbor plenty of germs themselves. Remember to wash them in hot water and dry them on high heat in the dryer to keep them nice and germ-free!

Want a sparkling kitchen in your home or in your business (or both)? Stop by U.S. Wiping in beautiful St. Louis! We have all of the latest and greatest cleaning products to make sure that your space is clean and germ-free, no matter how big or small the job is. Check out our stock online as well at www.uswiping.com!

Grill Master 101: The Six S’s of a Clean Grill

grillWe’ve officially arrived at the dog days of summer, and you know what that means! It’s time for a break from standing next to the hot grill while we all wait for things to cool down a bit. Odds are you’ve built up a lot of grease and food on your grill already, so now it’s time to clean it off the right way in preparation for an autumn filled with tailgating, barbecues, and good times!

So how can you make sure you’re cleaning your grill so that it’s safe for everyone? Check out these six tips to find out!

Soak the Grates—The first thing you need to do for any grill is to remove the grates. Leaving them in just lets the grime you’ve knocked loose stick to other surfaces. If you have a big enough container, soak the grates in hot soap and water. If not, be prepared for some intense scrubbing with a steel brush! Alternatively, you can soak your grates for 24 hours in a mixture of ammonia, water, vinegar, and baking soda. But be careful! Remember that baking soda and vinegar are the erupting ingredients of the legendary classroom volcano, and use gently!

Scour the Hood—If you look on the underside of the lid, you’ll see a lot of grease build-up just waiting to heat up and drip on your food. Without removal, it will heat the metal hood up even faster, increasing the danger for burns. Take a steel brush to this as well! For best results, soak the lid with white vinegar for a few minutes before scrubbing. Vinegar is a great green alternative to soap when cleaning your grill!

Scrub the Heaters—If your heating elements are dirty, you could be losing a lot of fuel just compensating for the dirt! If you’re using charcoal, scrub the inside of the bowl with a steel brush, soaking first with vinegar. If you’re using propane, you need to be a bit gentler with the burners. Let them soak in vinegar before wiping them down with a scouring pad or rough cloth.

Stop the Rust—A few of the parts in your grill will inevitably begin to rust throughout the season. Either soak them in same mixture as the grates or, if they’re too rusted out, recycle and replace them! The last thing you need is a piece of your grill rusting out and breaking while you’re trying to use it! If you’re not sure about its quality, soak it in the mixture before deciding. It will help take off some of the rust, so if it’s too rusted the solution will simply dissolve the part, answering the question for you!

Sweep the Cabinet—If your grill has a cabinet to house a propane tank, you need to check it for leaves and other debris that has built up over time. Loose organic material can be a fire hazard when you’re operating your grill, so make sure it’s swept out and cleaned before you demonstrate your fall barbecue skills!

Stay on Top—The number one danger to your grill’s lifespan is negligence! Instead of doing a deep clean every few months, spread those out by cleaning your grill after each use! There are a number of methods out there for your consideration. Some people clean their grates with half of an onion by “scrubbing” the top after each use. Others do the same thing with a ball of aluminum foil. If you want to wait for it to cool off first, use a spray bottle filled with vinegar on the grates followed by scrubbing with aluminum foil. Your grill will last much longer with regular care!

Whenever you’re grilling, make sure you’re doing so safely. The cleanest grill in the world can be dangerous if used improperly. Keep in mind that you’re operating an open flame and could have unaware individuals around who could be hurt. The best grill master is a safe one!

So get out there and have fun this season! Whether you’re cleaning your grill, home, or otherwise, don’t forget to check out http://uswiping.com/ for the best cleaning products!

Don’t Touch That! 7 Secretly Dirty Things We Touch Every Day

dirty things we handle every dayWhen we clean, we make sure to clean all the surfaces that we associate with dirt, grime, and food. We even clean floors, walls, and the occasional light fixtures, yet we ignore some of the most unsanitary objects in our living space! We either assume some of these things are clean after a quick wipe down or use them so often that we just don’t think about cleaning them in the first place.

Most of these are right in front of our noses and are luckily relatively easy to fix. Check out these 7 filthy things you touch every day!

Cell Phone – This first one is the one you probably handle the most! Most people use their phone so often that the thought of it being a haven for germs doesn’t cross their minds. Yet there can be more bacteria on a phone than on a toilet seat! So before you bring your phone to your face again, consider wiping it down with something that will sanitize all its surfaces, not just de-smudge the screen.

Pillow – Think about it: night after nigh, you keep your head on this one spot, yet you don’t clean it as often as the clothes you wear daily, which get thrown in the wash! Over time, dead skin cells, natural body oils, pollens, and other forms of dust build up and make your pillow one of the dirtiest spots in your living space. Be sure to wash your pillow regularly and replace it around every six months!

Money – Almost all of us handle cash and change every day. We often even hold bills less than 24 hours, receiving them from one source and handing them back off a few hours later. In that time, the bill comes in contact with multiple people and multiple other bills carrying just as many germs and bacteria. Be sure to wash your hands immediately after handling money! Extra tip: sanitize your credit cards to keep them from harboring bacteria.

Kitchen Sponge – There’s something strange about the object you use to clean the kitchen being so dirty. Yet if you read our last blog, you know that’s where the germs make their last ditch effort to spread! The kitchen sponge comes in contact with so many different kinds of bacteria that it’s a breeding ground for new growth. Be sure to swap out your sponge every few days at the absolute longest!

Showerhead – Here’s another thing that’s supposed to clean that’s a haven for germs and bacteria! While on the outside you may keep your showerhead clean, the dark, warm, and wet inside is the perfect place for germs to grow. Keeping this one at bay is a bit more complicated. You’ll have to disconnect the showerhead in order to scrub what you can reach and soak what you can’t. Use a strong cleaner to kill the germs and reattach and reseal the head using a waterproof caulk to keep it working as it should!

Restaurant Menus – When you go to a restaurant, you’re going with everyone who’s had that menu before you! Even if it looks clean, it’s like money. You know a bunch of people have handled it before you and it hasn’t been washed since. Keep a small packet of wet sanitizing wipes with you to clean the menu before you handle it! Plus, you can make sure your hands are ready to handle food as well.

Faucet Handles – Whenever you go to a sink, it’s because something is dirty. When you go to turn on the faucet, you transfer the germs from your hands to the handles but don’t wash the handles before you shut off the water. This lets the germs just sit and wait for the next person to do the same thing! So how can you keep them clean? Turn them on and off with a paper towel. You’ll keep your hands from contaminating the surface on the way in and from getting contaminated on the way out!

Bacteria and germs are around us every day. No matter how many precautions you take, you will be exposed to germs and bacteria. So whenever you’re coming in contact with a dirty object, be smart! Wash your hands after using it and keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth. And don’t forget to sanitize on top of cleaning! Head over to US Wiping at http://uswiping.com/ for all your cleaning and sanitizing needs!

9 Simple Cleaning Tips to Keep Cross Contamination in Check

avoid cross contaminationWhether you’re in the car, at work, or at home, cleaning is an essential part of your living routine. But did you know that conventional cleaning methods might not be getting the job done correctly? Improper cleaning could even lead to cross-contamination, the spreading of dirt and germs from one source to another. Your food contaminants from the kitchen don’t belong in the living room, but you could be unknowingly carrying them there!

So how do you prevent cross-contamination? Here are 9 tips to keep your living spaces as clean as possible!

Quick Clean – Kitchen and bathroom counters are the most important locations to hit with this tip. Setting a toothbrush, a bar of soap, a dirty utensil or dish, or food can contaminate that surface, allowing bacteria to begin growing, ready to be swept up by the next thing or person to touch it. Prevent this by wiping up any residue right away!

Germ Prevention – Keep hand sanitizer and wipes easily accessible in high traffic locations, and put down dirt-trapping rugs in entryways. Keeping dirt and germs out of the space in the first place helps keep them at bay for when it’s time to begin cleaning the right way!

Mighty Microfiber – Regular cotton towels and cleaning products don’t pick up dirt and residue nearly as well as microfiber cleaners. Because of its synthetic engineering, microfiber is meant to pick up any dirt and residue and hold on to it! Cotton towels and rags will only push dirt around and will drop it on other surfaces if used in multiple locations. So swap out those old cotton rags with some long-lasting and effective microfiber towels!

Swap Your Towels – It’s handy to have a kitchen towel on hand to clean up accidental spills and messes. Just be sure to swap it out for a clean one frequently! Especially if it gets wet, it can be a hotbed for mold and bacteria and will spread them to surfaces it touches. Throwing it in the wash and replacing it regularly can help prevent its dirt from getting on other surfaces!

Color Coordinate – Have multiple colors of microfiber towels on hand so you can organize your rooms and surfaces by color! Keep blue towels in the kitchen, red in a bathroom, white in the living room, etc. This way, you can ensure that any germs in one room won’t be able to hitch a ride on your cleaning products to other parts of your living space!

Sanitize Surfaces – It’s not enough just to clean. After you’ve eliminated all the grime on surfaces, make sure you sanitize them with something strong enough for the job! After you’ve applied it, make sure you let it air dry. Sanitizing cleaners need time to do their job, and drying them off prematurely lets bacteria and germs survive on a surface you thought was sanitary!

Touch Points – Hand hotspots such as door handles and switches can carry germs and dirt like no other spot in the living space. Wipe down those surfaces with cleaning and sanitizing agents. Be sure to do these last so you don’t re-contaminate the surfaces when leaving the room!

Keep Yourself Clean – Your own hands could be carrying germs from one space to another without you realizing it! Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands after cleaning each space to avoid cross-contamination. Once you’re done cleaning, wash out and sanitize any sinks you may have used to wash your hands to keep those clean as well!

Try New Things – New cleaners and cleaning methods are being introduced all the time that are designed with your health in mind. Using old cleaning tactics ignores the existence of germs only recently discovered. By using new products and techniques, you can ensure you’re getting the deepest and safest clean!

In order to lead a healthy and productive lifestyle, you want to ensure the spaces you spend your time in are keeping you as healthy as possible, whether it’s your home, car, or workspace! By keeping them clean, you’re doing yourself a big favor. And by using US Wiping products, you’re making sure that what looks clean really is! Check us out today at http://uswiping.com/ for all your cleaning needs – we have so many fantastic cleaning products for you to use, including color-coordinated microfiber towels!

Do It Now! 9 Helpful Tips on Keeping Your House Clean

clean houseWhether it’s the morning rush, the after work crash, or the thought that we can do something later, clutter and little messes are the easiest things to make and the hardest to get rid of. We get in the cycle of creating clutter that we don’t even notice until cleaning time turns into cleaning day!

But what if you were able to cut down on the clutter and little messes? Doing these little things can help save you hours of cleaning down the road and will make your house look much better!

Fold Your Clothes—This first one may seem simple, and it is! Having clothes on the floor, clean or dirty, makes a room look messy! Further, dirty clothes can pass that dirt, sweat, or grime into the carpet or onto your hardwood, making it more of a chore to clean later. Instead, throw your dirty clothes in the hamper or laundry room as soon as you take them off and put the clean clothes away neatly in the closet or dresser. The room will look and feel so much cleaner, and you’ll have less work the next time you clean!

Wash Your Dishes—Whether it’s a meal or a snack, you should make sure to wash your dishes right away, or, if you have a dishwasher, rinse them out! Rinsing will help prevent nasty dried food from sticking or drink residue from staining your glassware or ceramics. If you genuinely don’t have the time to wash something and don’t have a dishwasher, fill it with hot water and soap to un-stick any residue to make washing easier down the line!

Wipe Down Those Countertops—Odds are you put your dirty dishes on your kitchen counters. So now it’s time to clean that, too! Get all those food particles and partially dried liquids and leave your counters as clean as the dishes! They’ll look great and will be clean for future food prep, too. Plus, they’ll last longer with proper care! Oh, and do this for the bathrooms at least twice a week!

Store Your Shoes—Your shoes go everywhere you do, and hopefully you’re washing your hands of all the dirt and germs you come in contact with. Do you give your shoes the same care? If you don’t, consider organizing them in the garage, or, if you don’t have a garage, keep them on a rug on a hard surface that you wash regularly. Many furniture, big box, and accessory stores sell shoe cubbies, so consider getting one!

Place Rugs Inside and Outside—Especially if you only have one door going outside, this one is crucial. Having a rug both outside a door and inside a door means you get twice the dirt and junk your shoes pick up dropped on a rug! And it’s a lot easier to deep clean two rugs than one rug and all of your floors.

De-Extra Your Home—Do you have 142 free pens and 57 notepads that you refuse to get rid of because you might use them one day? Do you really think you’ll use all of them? Clear up some space by recycling or giving them to a school or organization that will! And this one goes for clothes, too!

Clean Something Every Day—Instead of losing your Saturday or Sunday to cleaning, do a chore every day! Vacuum Monday and Thursday, dust Tuesday and Friday, clean bathrooms Wednesday and Saturday, and you’ll have a lot more time on Sunday to get everything else done!

Put It Away—Remotes, game controllers, clean dishes, DVD cases, mail, etc. can all pile up and get in the way. Once you get the mail, sort through it! Get a basket or reserve a drawer for your remotes and controllers. Keep your DVDs and Blu-rays alphabetized. You’ll be more likely to put it back if it has a place where it belongs!

Respect the Flat Surface—All the things you pile on a dresser or wardrobe get in the way of dusting and can easily be kept in a better place. Plus, if you only allow yourself to keep a few select items (keys, wallet, phone, etc.) on the dresser, there’s more of a chance you won’t lose them!

All of these are incredibly easy to do and will save you time when it comes time for the deeper clean. Whether you’re cleaning those dishes or prepping for the deep clean that will now take less time, check out our lineup at US Wiping to maximize your cleaning! http://uswiping.com/

11 Things You Should Be Cleaning But Probably Aren’t

things that should be cleaned but aren'tWhen it comes to cleaning your home, your office, and your car, you’re a pro. You dust like a boss and dust mites don’t stand a chance when you break out the vacuum. You know how to make the kitchen floor sparkle like new and how to wash windows to let the sun shine in. But more than likely, you’re not cleaning everything that you really should be cleaning.

Here are the 11 items in your home, at the office, and in your car that really need to be cleaned but are probably forgotten:

Your Toothbrush Holder – The often overlooked, unsung hero of toothbrush holding is usually not cleaned very frequently. If not cleaned every once in a while, the toothbrush holder can get moldy and gross, especially since it’s drenched in a warm water a few times a day. Depending on what it’s made of, you can either throw it in the dishwasher for a good cleaning or clean it with a microfiber cloth and solution.

Trashcans – It’s ironic that we don’t tend to clean the very things that contain our trash. Even if you line your cans with clean trash bags, they are still covered in germs and will need to be cleaned once in a while, even the big ones outside. Every two weeks, scrub down the trashcan in the tub with some bleach and water to make it like new again.

Remotes and Controllers – Think about where your remote controls and game controllers wind up – on the floor, under your sleeping dog, wedged in the filthy cushions… these hard working devices need some extra care, for sure! To clean them, remove the batteries and use microfiber clothes and toothbrushes with rubbing alcohol. Do this about weekly to keep your remotes and controllers clean!

Your Cell Phone – Probably in greater need of a scrub-down is your cell phone. It lives in your pocket, in your bags, on the many desktops and countertops, and for many people, in the bathroom, too. Get rid of all the germs with an antibacterial cloth every once in a while.

The Car’s Steering Wheel and Buttons – Your hands, which may or may not be clean all the time, are all over the steering wheel and all the buttons that are placed in or around it. Make sure they’re clean! If your steering wheel is leather, opt for a leather cleaner. If it’s made of plastic, you can wipe it down with a disinfecting wipe to get the job done. Make sure to get everything that your hands routinely touch, including the gear shift and the knobs and buttons to your radio, air conditioning, and heater!

Pillows and Duvets – You probably clean your pillow sheets, but what about the pillows themselves? They contain a lot of really gross stuff like dead skin cells, mites, and more. Most pillows can be machine-washed and –dried – just make sure to check the label first! Set the washer on the gentle cycle and wash the pillows in hot water with a mild detergent. You can throw two regular-sized pillows in together to keep the load balanced, but you should really only wash one king-sized pillow at a time. Put them through the rinse cycle twice to get the soap out, and place them in the dryer with two clean tennis balls on low heat.

Ceiling Fans – You might not be able to see the dust that’s been collecting on the top of your ceiling fan blades, but it’s definitely there. Wipe it down with a duster or a damp microfiber cloth to prevent dust from swirling around in the air.

Bathroom Exhaust Fan – If you have one of these in your bathroom, you might not realize how dusty and dirty it gets over time. Remove the vent and wash it with warm soapy water regularly to keep it squeaky clean.

A/C and Heating Vents – Just like your bathroom exhaust fan, it’s a great idea to clean these vents frequently. You won’t just breathe easily, but you’ll also help improve the efficiency to your system!

Reusable Grocery Bags – Many of us have switched to bringing our own bags with us when we go grocery shopping, but very few of us clean them. According to a study from the University of Arizona and Loma Linda University, about 97% of us never wash our bags, and about 50% of the bags had tested positive for coliform (fecal) bacteria while 12% contained E. coli. Throw your cloth bags right into the washer and dryer after each use, and wipe down your recycled plastic bags with hot soapy water or with a disinfectant spray to keep things clean and to avoid cross-contamination.

Computer Keyboards – According to a 2008 study from the U. K., our keyboards are dirtier than toilet seats! Make sure to give your keyboard a good cleaning every few months by spraying between the keys with compressed air and lightly cleaning the keys and surrounding areas with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab.

Arm yourself with the best cleaning gear around to tackle any sort of cleaning problem! Choose U. S. Wiping for all of your cleaning needs. Check out our stock and order yours today at www.uswiping.com.

5 Steps to a Sparkling Clean Fridge

cleaning fridgeThe end of May is nearing, which means you have probably already done your spring-cleaning for the year. The lights have been dusted, the floors mopped, and the stovetop rid of burnt food. Did you also know that your refrigerator is probably the most neglected part of your kitchen?

Here are some tips to getting the squeaky-clean fridge and preventing those sticky, smelly messes in the future! Remember to turn off your fridge before cleaning it out – you will save quite a bit of energy!

De-clutter your fridge

Start by cleaning the inside of the fridge shelf-by-shelf, starting from the top and working your way down. As you start consolidating, use your counter space to group similar items together. Staying organized minimizes future items from becoming expired. Be sure to check the expiration date and toss anything that’s long overdue. Check for spoilage or awful odors on any items without an expiration stamp. When in doubt, throw it out! Everything else that made the cut should be placed in ice in a cooler to avoid spoiling.

DIY Cleaners

Before you break out the chemicals to clean, there are great DIY cleaners that you can make using household items. Vinegar is great for scrubbing your shelves and eliminating bacteria. Another option is to use equal parts baking soda and water. Used all your baking soda to soak up those odors in the fridge? That’s okay! An alternative is to use salt, water, and lemon. Get one cup of salt and dissolve it into a gallon of hot water. Squeeze fresh lemon juice in your solution, and you’re ready to scrub!

Time to Clean!

Grab a microfiber cloth and start scrubbing those shelves and bins to eliminate any stickiness, dried up leaks, and any other grime that has been sitting there all winter long. Remove any drawers and shelves to make cleaning easier!

Check the seals of the fridge doors. It’s a guarantee you will find dust, grime, food particles, and even pet hair lodged in the crevices of the seals. Grab some hot water with a little bit of vinegar and a microfiber cloth and watch the gunk come out! Be sure to wash that rag once you’re done. The rag itself may need a little extra attention!

Be sure not to neglect the outside of the fridge! The door handles are full of bacteria since they are touched most often! Grab a clean rag to disinfect the handles and exterior. Vinegar is also stainless steel friendly, so don’t be timid using it on your shiny reflection.

Keep Your Fridge Smelling Fresh

Store a box of baking soda in the back of your fridge to trap foul odors. Be sure to swap out the box every three months or your remedy will become ineffective. Don’t forget to label your fresh box with a date as a reminder of when you need to swap it out. Though baking soda may be a well-known remedy, soaking a cotton ball with vanilla extract is another great alternative. If your fridge needs a little more help than an open box of baking soda, kick it up a notch by adding fresh coffee grounds to your baking soda. The coffee smell will fade in time, taking the odors with it.

Keep It Simple

To make cleaning easier the next time you tackle your beastly fridge, consider putting Cling Wrap or Press N Seal on your freshly cleaned shelves. When you clear everything out next time, just lift and pull. Toss that sticky mess in the trash and replace it with a new layer.

Don’t forget to plug your fridge back in! Now that you’re inspired to cook, avoid putting food directly back in until your fridge has reach appropriate temperatures.

Performing a deep clean on a regular basis helps remove unwanted bacteria and germs that can be a health risk to you and your family. Use the best, sturdiest cleaning materials around by ordering yours from US Wiping! Find our many products online at www.uswiping.com!