Germ Sources in Your Kitchen Can Be Scary

It may not be surprising that your kitchen provides hiding spots for germ, what may surprise you is the sources of those germs. Do you know what the germiest thing in your kitchen may be? It’s your hands.  Basic hand washing starts the germ free kitchen.  Scrubbing your hands with warm, soapy water before you begin any food preparation is a must but it’s also a good idea to wash your hands between preparing different food types.  A good example is to wash your hands after working with chicken before your start chopping your vegetables.  The good news is that warm soapy water really does kill most germs.

Sinks

Another interesting fact is that your kitchen sink harbors more germs that both your toilet and garbage cans. Try to keep raw foods like fruits and vegetables from touching the side of the sink when preparing.  To clean your sink safely and effectively use a sink scrub using a mixture of a liquid dish soap with some baking soda. Be sure to rinse thoroughly with hot water.

Countertops

Clean your countertops with hot, soapy water BEFORE and AFTER food preparation.  When dealing with messy spills, especially from meat, poultry or fish, use an absorbent paper towel that can be immediately thrown away.  Then wipe the area with warm, soapy water.

Cutting Boards

Cross-contamination can occur if you don’t thoroughly clean your cutting board after each use.  Germs can collect in the grooves and gouges.  Wash your wood cutting boards in, again, hot soapy water.  Replace your cutting board when it gets deep gouges.  Place plastic cutting boards in the dishwasher after each use.  Consider dedicating a cutting board for meat preparation and one for veggie preparation.  This will avoid contaminating the veggies, especially if you plan on eating them raw.

Dish Towels & Sponges

Sponges and dish towels provide the perfect growth spots since bacteria thrives in damp places, but they are easy to sanitize.  One way is to boil them in a pot on the stovetop.  Another option is to run your sponges through the dishwasher.  This will kill the bacteria lurking in the crevices.   Try putting a small amount of bleach in the washing cycle with also kill the odor causing germs.

Refrigerator

Leaking food packages in your refrigerator can contaminate the shelves and drawers inside.  When leaks and spills occur, wipe them up immediately.  If your refrigerator has an outside water dispenser be sure to scrub the tray that catches the runoff.  This is a perfect place for bacteria and mold to flourish.  Mold can also grow in the seal portion of your fridge, especially in the heat of the summer.

Knobs & Handles

Don’t forget to consider all the knobs and pulls on your cabinets including the handles on your refrigerator, oven, microwave oven and your appliances. These surfaces get a lot of hand contact, especially when prepping food, but are seldom wiped down properly on a regular basis.  As you wipe your countertops after meal preparation, be sure to use your warm, soapy sponge or wet paper towel  and wipe off your knobs and handles to get rid of bacteria.

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