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By Eloise on 17/11/2016
As we prepare food in them every single day, it’s surprising that your kitchen may be the largest breeding ground for germs in your entire house. There are some items and areas in your kitchen that might be germier than you would expect. Some nooks in your kitchen may not seem large enough to need to clean, but can really harbour many bacteria.
Germs thrive in dark, warm and wet places, and if you think about these in terms of your kitchen, you start to realise how many places that match if not all, at least a couple of these things. If you’re now panicking trying to figure where you need to scrub, don’t worry! We’re going to go through some of the germiest places in your kitchen.
- Can Opener: your can opener might look clean, and you probably wouldn’t think that they even get that dirty in the first place. Giving it a quick wipe after use might seem like enough, but invisible food particles can get stuck in the mechanism and is a great place for bacteria to grow. The NSF tested some can openers and found yeast and mould bacteria, along with traces of E. coli and salmonella in some samples. You can clean your can opener with some vinegar and a toothbrush. If it is really gunky, soak it in vinegar for a few hours and then scrub with a toothbrush.
- Knife Block: although you wouldn’t think a knife block would be that germy, it actually did worse than the can opener on NSF’s studies. Although your knife block won’t get the buildup of food particles, any trace of bacteria will have the chance to grow in the dark hiding places where you keep your knives. To clean your knife block, the NSF recommends washing the entire thing in hot soapy water and to clean the hiding places with a small brush. You can also mix up a tablespoon of bleach in one gallon of lukewarm water and submerge the whole block for a minute to further sanitise your knife block. Once you are finished, leave it upside down to drain until it is fully dry.
- Kitchen Sink: when you think about your kitchen sink, you wouldn’t probably think that it would be very dirty. Obviously, it has water running through it every single day, why would it need to be cleaned further? Well, you might be surprised to hear that it had the fifth highest number of microorganisms in the houses that took part in the NSF study. To clean your kitchen sink you should be scrubbing the sides and bottom of the sink at least once a week with a disinfecting cleaner, and use a solution of bleach and water to wipe the sink once a day. You can then let this mixture filter through to your drain, and also put your kitchen strainer through the dishwasher once a week.
- Vegetable Drawer: If you’re cleaning your fridge out every few months, this actually is not enough for your vegetable drawers. The NSF found that the vegetable drawers are one of the germiest places in your whole kitchen, and even found some that were contaminated with salmonella and listeria, along with yeast and mould spores. You should be cleaning these drawers at least every few weeks with warm soapy water and thoroughly dried.
- Dish Sponges and Rags: Obviously, your dish sponges and rags are generally wet and warm, so the perfect place for bacteria to grow. After the NSF study, they found that these household items are by far, the most germ-ridden item in the house, containing more than 321 million microorganisms per gram. These samples found that 75% of sponges and cloths contained at least one form of coliform bacteria, which includes salmonella and E. coli and is a potential indicator of faecal contamination. A majority of samples also contained yeast or mould and a small percentage even contained bacteria that can cause staph infections. A way to clean them is to simply rinse them with hot water after every single use and let it dry in a ventilated soap dish. You can also put the wet sponge in the microwave for one minute, which should zap most of the bacteria that might have stuck around. Cloths should also be hung up to dry properly and put in the washing machine after one day of use. Also, remember to update your dishcloths and sponges regularly.
- Stove Knobs: when you clean your stove top, you may not always think about the dials on your hob or the cooker. You are always touching these dials, especially when you are preparing food, which means they are a great place for bacteria to build up. To clean them, once you find out how to completely remove and replace them, all you need to do is remove them and pop them in warm soapy water once a week. Give them a good clean and leave them to dry properly before reinstalling them.
- Salt and Pepper Shakers: although these may seem like quite a clean object in your kitchen, you might be surprised to learn that they commonly harbour cold virus germs. To clean them you can simply wipe them down when you wipe down the rest of your dining room table. WebMD also says that washing your hands before and after dinner will mean that any unwanted germs don’t make their way to the dinner table.
- Refrigerator Water Dispenser: as this area will be dark and wet, it is another place that bacteria thrive in your kitchen. The fridge water dispenser didn’t seem to harbour many disease-causing bacteria, but it did seem to be a large source of yeast and mould spores, which will cause allergies to flare more than normal. Before you clean this, you should always check the manufacturer’s directions first. However, sources such as the Huffington Post and Do It Yourself suggest cycling vinegar through the system. Unlike other cleaning products, vinegar won’t pose a risk to your health. Once you’ve finished this cycle, all you need to do is cycle enough water through so you don’t taste any more vinegar.
- Rubber Spatulas: if you use any rubber kitchen utensils that have two parts – the rubber bit and the wooden handle - and are not separating these two parts when you are washing them, you need to start! Otherwise, you will be letting bacteria build up around the edge of each part, allowing it to then contaminate anything whilst preparing food. During their studies, NSF found that these spatulas had traces of E. coli and yeast or mould. To clean them, all you need to do is separate them and wash them as you usually would and let is fully dry. Alternatively, you could simply buy a silicone one which is all one piece.
So that is our list of the dirtiest places in your kitchen. If you are not cleaning these places, you might want to start. If you are worried about any nooks or crannies in your drainage systems or pipes that could be dirtier than you think, give Drain Doctor a call! We’ll be able to get your pipes sparkling clean in no time!
Post Source: CheatSheet
Image Source: Freepik