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6 Surprising Kitchen Places and Tools that might be Dirtier than a Toilet

According to  Dr. Charles Gerba, a microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona, the kitchen is more germ-infested than the bathroom! In fact, a typical kitchen houses some of the most germ-infested areas and items in the house. Hence, it is critical that homeowners clean these place or get these items replaced since germs can make us sick. Without further ado, here is the ugly truth about 6 kitchen places and tools which you should take note of!

1. Rinse the kitchen sink with hot, soapy water

 The kitchen sink is where the raw meat, poultry, fruits, vegetables and dirty dishes are cleaned and prepared. Hence, it harbours the most dangerous bacteria due to the dirt and grime introduced. Furthermore, most homeowners usually place more attention on a dirty countertop than a dirty kitchen sink.

Design: Linear Space Concepts

What does this means to you?

Wash the kitchen sink with hot, soapy water before and after handling meat, poultry, fruits or vegetables. Always wipe the kitchen sink dry with disinfectant kitchen wipes or with diluted vinegar (which is made from 1 part vinegar to 1 part water) after every use.

2. Zap the dish sponge

The dish sponge comes into direct contact with grime and dirt daily. As a result, it is “the No. 1 source of germs in the whole house” and harbors zillions of microbes. Therefore, the dish sponge is the number 1 item which needs to be replaced the most frequently in the kitchen. Unknown to most homeowners, the pores in the dish sponge trap moisture and thus makes it a splendid place for germs to multiply and thrive. Furthermore, cross-contamination occurs when the germ-infected dish sponges are used to wipe other places.

Design: VOILÀ

What does this means to you?

According to Neil Schachter, the author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds and Flu, the correct way of cleaning the dish sponge is to first rise off the detergent, then boil or leave it in the microwave for 2 mins (on high) to sanitize it. For heavy usage dish sponge, get it replaced every 2-3 weeks or when it smells bad or it becomes slimy; for light usage dish sponge, the general guide is to get it replaced every 4-6 weeks.

3. Practice good kitchen towel etiquette

Aside from the dish sponge, the kitchen towel is the number 2 item which needs to be replaced frequently. This is because, the kitchen towel picks up every kitchen spill and mess, dries the dishes, wet hands, dirty counter top surfaces and hence, picks up thousands of bacteria throughout its use. Similar to the dish sponge, the kitchen towel can cause cross-contamination when it is used for other areas.

Design: Three-D Conceptwerke

What does this means to you?

Boil the kitchen towel daily to keep the germs at bay. Allow the kitchen towel to dry out between uses since most bacteria cannot thrive when there is no moisture. The kitchen towel should also be replaced at least once a year or when it is full of stains which can no longer can be removed. Although disposable paper towel is more convenient, it is more expensive and not environmentally friendly.

4. Use separate cutting board

Although the hot, soapy water helps to clean the cutting board, the knife grooves in the cutting board are excellent places to hide the germs. Therefore, more bacteria thrive in the cutting board when there are more knife marks. Although a wooden cutting board has a porous surface and the plastic cutting board does not, it does not mean that the plastic board is more resistant to bacteria. This is because a plastic cutting board is softer and thus gets more knife cracks than a wooden one.

Design: D5 Studio Image

What does this means to you?

Use separate cutting board for cutting raw meat and poultry, and for the fruits and vegetables, to prevent the risk of cross-contamination. Since the plastic cutting boards are more prone to  knife cuts, they should only be used for low-impact food preparation tasks such as slicing fruit, vegetables, or any ready-to-eat foods. Wash the cutting board in hot, soapy water after each use and sanitize it with a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach with per gallon of water. Replace the cutting boards once they are worn or have many deep knife grooves which are hard to clean.

5. Clean the kitchen counter top

The kitchen counter is where almost of the food preparation activities and spills take place. When a germ infested dish sponge or kitchen towel is used to clean countertop, cross-contamination takes place and the germs get spread all over the countertop.

Design: Adroit Interior Design

What does this means to you?

Never prepare food directly on the kitchen counter top and use the cutting boards where possible. Disinfect the kitchen counter top daily with diluted vinegar.

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6. Disinfect the fridge and kitchen faucet handles

Based on a study by Dr. Charles Gerba, the highest concentrations of all the faecal coliforms, total coliforms and heterotrophic plate count bacteria are also found in kitchen places that are frequent contact points. These places include the refrigerator door and kitchen faucet handles. This is because homeowners tend to handle many types of different food in-between opening the refrigerator or handling the kitchen faucets. Furthermore, most homeowners do not normally clean and disinfect these places as part of their kitchen cleaning routine.

Design: The Scientist

What does this means to you?

Clean these places at least once a day with a disinfectant spray, diluted vinegar or kitchen wipes will keep these bacteria at bay. 

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