I’m not overly worried about germs. That doesn’t mean I don’t cover my mouth when I sneeze or wash my hands after I take the subway or handle a public pay phone. But I’m not one of those people who uses hand sanitizer compulsively or disinfects everything in my home at the sign of a sniffle. I believe our bodies can handle most of the germs we’re exposed to all by itself. However, there are some household items that should be sterilized regularly. Here’s my list:

Trash Can

I’m not worried about how sterile the trash can is, but I am concerned about odors.  Sterilizing your trash can with hot soapy water will remove spills, stains. or messes inside and outside the can, which helps keep odors away. If you have a very soiled or stained trash can, use bleach instead of dish soap. Just remember, you should never mix cleaning chemicals.

Bath Toys

If your baby or child uses bath toys while they are bathing, you should sterilize them regularly, especially if there are holes in the bottom where germs can grow. All that warm water is a prime breeding ground for bacteria.

Toothbrushes

Your mouth is one of the germiest places there is, so it stands to reason that you should sterilize your toothbrush regularly. This is especially true if you leave your toothbrush in a cup on the bathroom sink along with everyone else’s. Sterilizing your touthbrush is simple: just soak the head in anti-bacterial mouthwash overnight. Rinse your brush the next morning, and you’re ready to go!

Litter Box

If you’re a cat owner, you may not be aware that your cat’s litter box should be sterilized regularly. Bacteria from your cat’s waste can make the litter box smell bad.

All Phones

Whether it’s your home or cell phone, you should wipe it down regularly to kill germs.

Remote Control

Much like your phone, your remote control is likely touched by everyone in the house, and visitors, too. Not only is sterilizing it to remove germs and bacteria a good idea, it can also help keep your device in good working order.

Kitchen sponge

A study published early this year found that kitchen sponges are chockful of bacteria. Even more disturbing, study authors concluded that cleaning your sponge in the dishwasher or microwave won’t effectively banish the bacteria. But this NPR report disputes that conclusion, arguing that regularly microwaving or putting sponges in the dishwasher will help minimize bacteria. Still, experts agree that it’s a good idea to replace kitchen sponges often.

Are there other household items you sterilize regularly?