My Mom Pointed Out the One Tiny-yet-Moldy Spot I Didn’t Even Know I Was Supposed to Clean

updated May 28, 2021
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Credit: Sarah Crowley

I love vacuuming my carpets and clearing clutter off surfaces because these tasks give me the quickest, strongest visual feedback. Homes are full of these kinds of obvious things to clean, and they’re what people spend the majority of their home-keeping time on. They’re the squeaky wheels that get the elbow grease.

But the more hidden spots around your home can be equally as satisfying to clean. Often, it’s because you rarely clean them and when you do, they’ve gotten embarrassingly dirty. For me, these easily overlooked chores include ceiling fan blades, window tracks (UGH!), and something smaller and easier-to-clean-but-just-as-horrifying-upon-inspection: what lies beneath the covered portions of your spatula handles.

If you’ve never cleaned your spatula handles or even thought about them, it’s time.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

I first discovered that my spatulas came apart (and that the tops of the handles can be black with mold) when my mother was visiting. Though we assure her it’s not necessary, Mom puts herself on dish-washing duty whenever she comes for a visit. She hand-washed the dishes, set them to dry, and then pulled the silicone spatula heads off their wooden handles, so they could dry separately without getting mildewy. Well, it was too late — I’d been washing them without realizing they could come apart!

If dismantling spatulas is new to you, I know how it feels. And I can also assure you that it doesn’t ruin your spatulas — this habit can keep them mold-free if you pull them apart when you dry them — and that sticking the handles back in after drying them or cleaning them is problem-free and totally worth it.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

How to Separate and Clean a Wood-and-Silicone Spatula

This only applies to spatulas with wooden handles that fit into an opening in the bottom of the silicone part. If you have any of these, gather them and then, one by one, pull the handles out and you might discover (like me) that the wood part that’s usually inserted in the silicone head is covered in black mildew.

To clean this film of mold, soak the separated handles and the top portions in a half-water, half-white-vinegar solution for about half an hour. You don’t want to soak them too long because you don’t want the wood to swell.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Next, scrub the affected wood with a salt or baking soda paste and a dish scrubber. Use a small bottle brush to scrub out the inside of the spatula head. If you can, set them in the sun to dry.

Going forward, when you wash your two-piece spatulas, remove the head from the handle to allow them to dry mold-free, separately.

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: My Mom Showed Me One Tiny (Moldy) Spot I Was Forgetting to Clean in the Kitchen