Your kitchen is where you prep food, keep food and eat food, therefore it’s pretty evident that you should endeavour to keep it spotless!
Many of us hoover, clean up and wipe down our kitchen surfaces in an attempt to keep them squeaky clean and germ free (and in turn keep sickness at bay) however did you know that three seemingly harmless items in your kitchen could be harboring a nasty cocktail of germs?
Keep your family safe with our list of mystery items and our guide on how to clean them:
Topping the list of contaminated kitchen items is the humble sponge. We use it to clean our dishes (which we then eat off!) but more often than not we are in fact making them even dirtier; sponges are often soaked in tepid water making them warm, moist environments which are the perfect place for harmful bacteria to set up camp. Every time you wash a dish or wipe down a counter you are effectively spreading these germs onto our hands and all around the house.
To minimise the chances of bacteria build-up, change your sponge every couple of days. If you feel this is too often, then there’s nothing to stop you disinfecting your sponge. The simple way to do this is to put it in the dishwasher amongst your plates and run it one cycle, then leave it to dry between uses. This will effectively get rid of all germs, dirt and mold without the need for harsh chemicals such as bleach.
Alternatively, dishcloths do the same job as sponges but are less prone to contamination.
Researchers at Kansas State University carried out a study involving fruit salad and meat; they observed individuals creating a fruit salad along with cooking a meat dish. The results of this showed that 90 percent of the prepared fruit salad was actually contaminated with bacteria from the meat – and researchers believed this was due to improper use of dish towels.
Participants of the study often wiped their hands on the towel in between touching meat and fruit without washing their hands properly. This caused cross-contamination and therefore the spread of germs.
Participants also often wipe down the counter, dry dishes and dry their hands using a single dish towel; the spread of germs is seemingly inevitable when dish towels are around!
First things first, make sure you wash kitchen towels at the end of every day and hang them up to dry properly between uses. If you are preparing a meat dish, immediately put any dish towel that has been in the vicinity into the wash, as there is a risk that it has been contaminated.
Furthermore, instead of using one dish towel for wiping down, drying up and drying wet hands, have one allocated dish towel for each task.
Bags for Life
A friend to the environment is a friend of ours, and a bag for life is certainly that; with the 5p plastic bag charge coming in, these sturdy replacements are becoming more popular than ever. However, the nature of their use means they are a hot bed for germs to accumulate (not to mention that many people keep a stash of them scrunched up inside their cars).
A 2010 report indicated that the majority of bags tested were rife with bacteria, with 12 percent carrying the hugely dangerous E coli; sometimes meat juices can run out of packaged meat and this causes a built up of harmful bacteria – especially since people seldom think to wash their bags.
The solution to this problem is screamingly simple: wash your bags!
Whether you do so by hand or put them in your washing machine along with your laundry, washing your bags can get rid of 99.9 percent of bacteria.
Finally, don’t use the same bag for life for multiple purposes. Keep a set for your food shop and a set for personal belongings like clothes, phones, gym kit etc. This way you will greatly decrease your risk of cross-contamination.
Food poisoning is hugely unpleasant and potentially very dangerous, hence you should make every effort to avoid it. Our simple tips make keeping your kitchen clean and germ free a simple task – you’re welcome!