If you like to cook and spend a lot of time in the kitchen, it’s important to make sure your kitchen remains clean and safe. If we’re not careful, kitchens can be one of the biggest sources of germs and bacteria, and can definitely contribute to making you and your family sick during the fall season, or any time of year. So, if you want to make sure that your kitchen is running at optimal capacity and stays germ-free, follow these few simple tips to keep your kitchen in tip-top shape.
Countertops & Surfaces
One of the easiest, yet most important aspects of a kitchen to look after is the countertops and other surfaces. Grease cooking, residue from food preparation, and crumbs from the dinner table all plague the countertops and other surface areas in the kitchen. One of the most important things you can do to keep your kitchen germ-free is to regularly clean the floors, countertops, cutting boards, stove tops, and any other surface areas in your kitchen space. Commercial disinfectants or household products should serve to cleanse the infected areas.
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Kitchen sink faucets are needed to provide a source of water for watching dirty pots and pans, but the residue from washing soiled dishware can often splash up and hit the faucet spout, causing mold and bacteria to grow in and around that area which is intended to clean other utensils. Consider cleaning your faucet spout with a disinfectant, or soaking it in diluted bleach water as often as possible.
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The Cutting Board
One of the biggest sources of germs in your kitchen is the cutting board. Cutting boards are porous, which means that they absorb even more germs and bacteria than the average surface area. For optimal disinfecting, cutting boards can be cleaned by adding 1 teaspoon of bleach to 16 ounces of water, and then scrubbed with a sponge or washable cloth. Rinse the cutting board with hot soapy water, and it should be ready for the next use.
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One way to decrease the amount of germs in your kitchen is to swap out hand towels in exchange for disposable paper towels. Bacteria thrives in damp areas, and this is especially true of a hand towel that is used repeatedly without having time to thoroughly dry. Furthermore, kitchen hand towels are more likely to catch spillage from cooking and food preparation, which increases the level of contamination that they may hold.
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Sponges are another area in which bacteria has the potential to fester. While it may not be cost-effective to replace sponges as often as we might like, there are definitely ways to reduce the germs and odor that a kitchen sponge attracts. One way to kill bacteria is to soak the sponge in a bowl of hot water with one teaspoon of bleach. The sponge can also be placed in the dishwasher or zapped in the microwave for approximately one minute in order to rid it of any harmful bacteria.
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The fridge can be a big source of contamination if it is not regularly cleaned out and set to the ideal temperatures. Make a habit of cleaning out your refrigerator at least once a week and do not every keep food beyond its expiration date. Your fridge should always be set between 37 to 40 degrees.
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Just like the fridge, the microwave needs to be regularly cleaned from the inside out. Food particles often spray and splatter throughout the inside of the microwave, and if these particles are not cleaned, they provide a space for bacteria to grow and can then contaminate any other food going into the microwave. Microwave can be cleaned with hot soapy water or a commercial disinfectant.
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Automatic Soap Dispenser
If possible, consider investing in an automatic soap dispenser in order reduce the amount of germs and bacteria that are spread throughout the kitchen. Having an automatic soap dispenser means one less surface area that dirty hands can touch.
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Finally, as obvious as it may seem, one of the best ways to keep germs at bay is to have everyone in your household, including guests, wash their hands before and after eating, food preparation, or when switching from one activity to another. Keeping your hands clean helps to keep all other surface areas clean, and ultimately reduces the spread of germs.
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These are just a few simple steps that you can take on a day-to-day basis to ensure that your kitchen stays as spotless and germ-free as possible. The kitchen can be a huge source of bacteria, but it doesn’t have to be. Keeping these suggestions in mind might just help your family stay well during this year’s flu season.