Germs love hiding in overlooked places, so keeping your kitchen clean goes beyond the dishes and countertops. Lately, I have been cleaning my apartment way more than I usually would each month. Don’t get me wrong, my apartment was well kept, but I didn’t go out of my way to wash the floor if there weren’t crumbs all over it. My philosophy after every time I go to the grocery store in recent months has been, “when in doubt, clean the house.” A sanitized cooking space, especially in these unprecedented times, is a great way to maintain peace of mind at home. You won’t have to think and rethink if the surfaces of your kitchen are sanitized. So, where should you be looking?
Follow Your Hands
You’re constantly touching the faucets, oven knobs, panhandles, and more, but how often do you wipe these down? I know, I never did either. Raw meat and food residue can lead to severe bacteria build-up on these surfaces, so grab a disinfectant wipe and clean those surfaces a few times a week, if not every night after cooking! Don’t forget, a little dish soap and water on a reusable washcloth is an excellent method, especially if you are running low on paper towels in the house.
Clean Your Coffee Machine
Let’s repeat that for those in the back – clean your coffeemaker! I know this could be a challenge and is not the first appliance that comes to mind when you think about cleaning, but it is an important one. An NSF International study found that half of the observed families in their study had mold in their coffee reservoirs, thanks to constant moisture, heat, and neglect. YIKES! Make sure to grab some dish soap and scrub your coffeemaker inside and out about once a week.
Check Your Fridge
We’ve all had that one onion that was accidentally left in the fridge for half a year (right?). What you may not notice are all the moisture and juices that travel down from your food to the bottom shelf of the fridge. This can bring some pretty nasty bacteria and even mold if left untouched. Be sure to wipe down those shelves the next time you clean out the refrigerator. Read more on the best way to clear out your refrigerator and keep it mess-free here.
Beware of the Raw Meat
Cross-contamination is a surefire way to risk a foodborne illness at the dinner table. There are many kitchen items that touch raw meat during the cooking process, from knives and cutting boards to tongs and your busy hands. Make sure you soap up and rinse all these items under hot water before any other ingredients touch them.
Cook Your Sponges
Perhaps the final boss, and the nastiest of the nasty kitchen items. Your sponge is a haven for all the germs and gunk you clean off your dishes every day, but there’s one simple way to keep the bacteria down: using your Sharp Microwave Oven! That’s right – the CDC recommends microwaving your sponge once a day for 30 seconds to kill 99% of the bacteria present. Add that to the list of things your microwave can do! Want to learn the best way to clean your microwave oven? Click here for more squeaky clean details.
Now that your kitchen is as clean as a cucumber, let’s address the microscopic elephant in the room: keeping your food sterile in the age of COVID-19. Right now, the FDA doesn’t consider your food to be a significant cause for concern, but it’s always best to be safe! A simple way to maintain your peace of mind is to disinfect! Clean your reusable bags weekly, bring wipes to the grocery store with you, and disinfect your food’s packaging at home before storing it
These extra steps in sanitizing your kitchen and food add little time to your daily routine, but they make a big difference in the health of your living space. So get out there and microwave that darn sponge!
Interested in learning more cleaning hacks to keep your kitchen looking in tip-top shape? Click here for our How to Keep Your Kitchen Neat & Clean article.