The kitchen is one of the most used and often the dirtiest places in the home. Harmful bacteria can be lurking on surfaces even if it looks clean. If you are anything like me I try to keep my house clean and my family healthy. However, as a busy working mom this is often easier said than done. Although I may not always be able to do a deep clean there 5 simple ways to keep your kitchen cleaner and family safer that don’t take very long at all. Here are 5 simple ways to keep your kitchen clean and family healthier all year long.
- Sanitize The Sink: The kitchen sink is almost always wet and well used for washing hands, food and dishes making it an easy place for bacteria to grow. Studies have found that the kitchen sink has more bacteria than the garbage bin. The faucet handle, and soap dispenser can also reintroduce bacteria to your hands after you’ve washed them. Cleaning the sink regularly with hot soapy water is amazingly effective at eliminating bacteria, but for added insurance rinse with a solution of 1 tablespoon bleach per quart of water. Going all-natural or want to be green? Use 1 part white vinegar to 3 parts water.
- Clean the Sponge: A sponge is almost always wet making it an ideal host for bacteria, dishcloths and wet rags are usually not much better. The best method to disinfect your sponge is to use heat. Take a damp sponge to the microwave for 1 minute. The water will create steam and boil out any bacteria. Some sponges can burn in high-powered microwaves so for extra safety boil it in water for 5 minutes. Replace your sponge frequently; one time per month is preferred.
- Wash Everything You Eat: We almost always wash an apple before we eat the skin, but it is good practice to wash all produce before consumption even those with inedible rinds and peels, such as melons, pineapple and squash. Cutting into a contaminated peel can drag pathogens inside. Cantaloupe rind is one of the most common sources for food contamination.
- Wipe it Down: Think of all the non-common food places you touch on a regular basis: light switches, door handles, cabinets, knobs on the oven or stove; even having your cell phone or tablet in the kitchen with you. All of these things are routinely touched and can easily hold and spread bacteria. Make it a practice to wipe these down and sanitize them on a regular basis.
- Wash your hands longer: It’s simple. Washing your hands is one of the best ways to stop the spread of food-borne pathogens. Wash before and during cooking, especially after touching raw meat and poultry. Most of us simply quickly wash or rinse our hands with water. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends at least 20 seconds in warm, soapy water. How long is that? Try singing “Happy Birthday.”