"The kitchen sink is 6,000 times more contaminated than the average toilet", says Dr. George Szatmari, an expert in Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases at University of Montreal. Let us explain ourselves before you cue up the Debbie Downer music. At Mixer Direct we work with a variety of food processing companies and we understand the importance of keeping things sanitary. As much as we would all like to suppress the truth, it is prime "everyone is sick" season. Our goal in writing this is not to convert you into a cult of germaphobia, but rather to keep you well informed and to limit the misery of illness you may experience from an unsanitary kitchen. Before you assume that you are already an expert on the topic of keeping a sanitary kitchen, lets explore a few insights on how to keep your kitchen more sanitary.
A Dry Kitchen Is a Lot Less Likely To Be a Germ Ridden Nightmare
Although innocent looking kitchen items like dish towels and sponges can be found in every kitchen, they can often be a magnet for nasty germs. When common household items like these carry moisture over an extended period of time and are routinely used, your kitchen will start to look a lot like the chaos of Jurassic Park under a microscope. Remember how that turned out?
You can combat the dish towel germ fest by rotating them out with frequency and washing them often with hot water and detergent. As far as the sponges are concerned, you can toss one of those bad boys in your dishwasher. If you want a quick and nifty way to sanitize, pop your sponge in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. This method is believed to be highly effective. Please of course do this with caution. Finally, keep these items away from food prep areas when cooking.
Food Prep: Handwashing and Disinfecting Surfaces
This one is really a given, but just in case you've been living under a rock, when working in the kitchen you should wash your hands like it's going out of style. This is crucial before and after food prep and handling garbage. To be clear we are not talking about the casual rinse under hot water, we are talking about full on antibacterial soap, hot water, and a few Macgyver moves to avoid recontamination (see chart above). Ffrequently washing your hands may be one of the easiest ways to keep your kitchen in clean mode.
Here are some helpful reasons from the U.S. CDC as to why hand washing is crucial to a sanitary kitchen:
Handwashing with soap removes germs from hands and helps prevent infections because:
- People frequently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth without even realizing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.
- Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, under certain conditions, and make people sick.
- Germs from unwashed hands can be transferred to other objects, like handrails, table tops, or toys, and then transferred to another person’s hands.
Lets not waste any time here, cleaning surfaces is about killing germs. Carrying out this task means utilizing the right weapons to do so. First, you want to clean the surface. There are a ton of surfaces in our kitchens: countertops, islands, floors, cutting boards, dishes, sinks, microwave, stove, refrigerator, and freezer. Feeling overwhelmed yet? No worries. The first step you will want to take is cleaning the surfaces. Yes, there is a difference between cleaning and sanitizing. During the cleaning process you will want to get a clean dry cloth or a sponge and using soap or a detergent to remove germs from the surfaces. Next, you will want to employee chemicals that will kill germs which will in turn lower the risk of any spread of germs. Lastly, you will wan to throughly dry that surface with a clean towel. If you are in a rush, make sure to focus on the surfaces that are most often touched. Remember, make sure this is done routinely.
Handle The Disposal of Your Waste and Garbage Properly
Have you ever walked through your home only to be blindsided in the nostrils by repugnant odors? I think it is safe to say that we have all had the delight of facing this real life problem. Our point is, this problem can be solved with taking a few proper steps. Getting into the habit of emptying the the garbage regualry is of course a big help. This is especially true upon cooking endeavors, emptying leftovers, and for those of us who have children...you know the drill. A couple other helpful steps include keeping the interior and exterior of your garbage can clean using the two steps mentioned in our disinfecting surfaces section. You can also clear a path to the door you exit your home to take out the trash. This will allow you to clean any trails left by a leaky or overfilled bag. You will also want to routinely check to make sure there are no leaks or cracks in your trash can as a preventative step. Lastly, keep your trash can covered as much as possible (this traps the stank in and also keeps debris from exiting the receptacle, wreaking havoc in your clean kitchen).