4 Tips for a Germ-Free Kitchen
The kitchen is usually considered the heart of the home. More than just a place to prep pasta or bake baklava, it’s where we tend to hang out, catch up and connect with family and friends.
But it turns out that your kitchen may be harboring a dark secret. According to a 2016 article by Business Insider, kitchens are actually the dirtiest room in the average home. Why is this? What makes kitchens so disgusting?
Says microbiologist Philip Tierno of the New York University School of Medicine, “You have a drain that’s there, you have countertops, refrigerators, appliances—all of which have been cross-contaminated with debris.” In other words, it’s the combination of organic debris from food, plus bacteria carried in on hands and feet, plus the incubational effects of dark, damp environments that are to blame.
Well, not to worry. Today I’ll cover a few of the places bacteria may be lurking in your kitchen, and give you some tips to get it safely clean and guest-worthy.
Dirty dishes, food particles—even raw meat juices: all of these and more can add up to a bacteria overload in your sink. In fact, kitchen sinks often contain more bacteria than a toilet bowl! (I know, “Ewww!” right?)
- To keep bacteria at bay, wash your sink with hot, soapy water every time it’s used to prep food or to soak dirty dishes, pots and pans.
Knobs and Handles
Drawer pulls and doorknobs are a natural breeding ground for bacteria that’s been passed along from dirty hands. And it can linger there, waiting for the next person to come along and pick it right back up, so you don’t want to take chances.
- Clean your kitchen knobs and handles once a week or so, especially the ones that are used the most—including doorknobs, light switches and refrigerator handles. This is also a great time to give your oft-used salt and pepper shakers a wipe-down too!
- Steer clear of harsh, chemical-laden household cleaners that can harm your family and the environment. Opt for a high-quality microfiber cloth instead. Our favorite brand is proven to remove 99% of bacteria from surfaces with just water, so your home stays freer from expensive, toxic chemicals.
Grease, crumbs and food dropped in or near your stove can also be a breeding ground for bacteria. Not a pleasant thought, considering so many of your family’s meals are prepared here!
- If you have a free-standing range, pull it out to clean behind it at least once a year. (Gas-model owners check the manual for how to turn off the valve and unhook the line.) Use a microfiber cloth and water to remove debris from the back of the stove and the wall, and a microfiber mop pad to tackle the floor.
- Clean the inside of your oven at least once every three or four months, depending on how often you use it. Your stove’s interior is certainly no place for harsh chemicals, so avoid them altogether by using an enzyme-based oven cleaner.
Sponges are great for quickly wiping up spills and messes, but most can be a hotbed of bacteria. If you’re a sponge person, make sure yours is as clean as possible:
- After every use, squeeze excess moisture out of your sponge and let it air dry.
- If your sponge is just a little dirty, use some dishwashing liquid and warm water to get it clean. Then rinse it well and let it dry.
- Sturdy sponges can even be placed in the top rack of your dishwasher.
- The dirtiest room in your house is not your bathroom | Business Insider
- How long can bacteria live on a doorknob? | Science Focus
- Best Ways to Clean Kitchen Sponges | USDA ARS
- Save Time and Get a Sparkling Kitchen in Just 12 Steps! | Norwex Movement
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