With spring cleaning right around the corner, it’s important to prioritize what needs cleaning in our homes. According to the National Sanitation Foundation, the kitchen is the dirtiest place in the household. This place where meals and snacks are prepared and served daily tends to have the most germs. The “germiest” area in the kitchen as well as the second “germiest” item in the household is the sink. This spring, clean everything and the kitchen sink to reduce germs in your home. Wash and sanitize the sides and bottom of the sink once or twice a week with disinfecting cleaner or in a solution of 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 gallon water. Clean kitchen drains and disposals every month by pouring a solution of 1 teaspoon bleach to 1 quart water down them.
A 2013 study identified the six germiest items in the kitchen. These items were found to have pathogens (disease-causing agents) on them that can cause someone, especially children, pregnant women, and older adults, to become ill. Risk of illness can be lowered by using the cleaning tips below.
|Kitchen Item||Pathogen Found||How to Decrease Pathogens|
|Can opener||salmonella, E. coli, yeast, and mold||Handheld: Wash in hot soapy water, rinse, and air dry after each use.
Electric: Using a clean cloth, wash the cutter, feed gear, and magnet with hot soapy water. Rinse with a wet, clean cloth.
|Vegetable drawer of refrigerator||salmonella, listeria, yeast, and mold||Wash in hot soapy water, rinse and air dry after each use.|
|Blender||salmonella, E. coli, yeast, and mold||Dishwasher Safe: Wash blender in the dishwasher.
Not Dishwasher Safe: Wash in hot soapy water, rinse, and dry before reassembling.
|Rubber spatula||E. coli, yeast, and mold||Wash in hot soapy water, paying special attention to the area where the handle joins the spatula.|
|Refrigerator meat compartment||salmonella, E. coli, yeast, and mold||Use a clean cloth and wash the bin with a mild detergent mixed with warm water. Thoroughly rinse with warm, clean water and dry.|
|Food storage container with rubber seal||salmonella, yeast, and mold||Wash in hot soapy water, paying special attention to any grooves where the cover attaches to the container. Then rinse and dry.|
|General Safe Food Practices:
• Always wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 10–15 seconds.
• Avoid cross-contamination by storing ready-to-eat foods on top of uncooked foods, such as meat, to avoid raw juices dripping on other foods.