Knobs, Handles, and Touch Pads
Every appliance in your kitchen has some type of control panel or handle that's touched each time it's used. All of those knobs, buttons, or touchpads are used after raw food is prepared or before hands are washed, leaving body soil and bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli, plus mold and yeast. All of these organisms can cause digestive upset and even make you and your family very sick.
Kitchen cabinet pulls, appliance handles, and control panels should be cleaned after food preparation or daily, using a disinfectant wipe or spray-on disinfectant cleaner and clean cloth or paper towel.
Even though there is plenty of water running through your kitchen sink, there are likely microbes lurking on the surface, especially in the crevices where the sink joins the counter, around the drain and garbage disposal stoppers.
According to the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF), 45% of all home sinks tested had E. coli or some type of coliform bacteria.
The kitchen sink should be disinfected after every meal preparation, washing dishes or at least once per day, and don't forget the handles and faucet and the counter areas near the sink. They catch all of the splatters when you rinse off contaminated foods.
Use a sink cleaner that contains a disinfecting agent and a clean towel or disposable disinfectant wipes.
Sponges and Dishcloths
If you use these products, they should be washed in hot water after each meal preparation or cleaning session. If you are a typical eater that has 3 meals a day and several snacks, you know the washing your sponge after washing your dishes is at the least a little impractical. To avoid the extra work, look into other techniques or options. New solutions like SINK N' SPIN® have Antimicrobial Bristles that eliminate 99.9% of bacteria and prevent growth, making the dishwashing system essentially self cleaning. On top of that, SINK N' SPIN® can be deep cleaned (if necessary) by placing it in the dishwasher for thorough cleaning and renewed luster.
Most fruit and vegetables will stay fresh longer if they are not washed before storing. So, into the vegetable drawer they go, still covered with bacteria and pesticides. Of course, you wash them before preparing and serving them to your family, but the bacteria and germs are left behind in the crisper drawer.
The same thing happens with raw meat that is stored in the refrigerator. Packaging leaks and fluids accumulate in the drawers and along the edges of shelves. Even packaged products like milk or tubs of butter have been handled and stored numerous times before they enter your refrigerator.
To get rid of the coliform bacteria, as well as yeast and mold that can be grown there, remove refrigerator drawers or shelves—if possible—monthly and wash the surfaces with a mild detergent and hot or warm water. Dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
Between thorough cleanings, wipe away any spills and give the interior surfaces a quick wipe with a disinfecting wipe.
And when you're doing the monthly cleaning inside the fridge, take a few minutes to dust the top of the appliance and vacuum behind and underneath as well. Remove the vent cover to vacuum the coils. Dust on coils makes the refrigerator work harder to stay cool, using more energy, and food particles hiding underneath are insect magnets.
Cutting boards, especially wooden boards, can harbor bacteria in the tiny nooks and crannies that appear after even a single-use. It is important to have at least two separate cutting boards: one for fruits and vegetables and one for meats. This will reduce cross-contamination during meal preparation.
Wash each board after every use with hot, soapy water and rinse well with hot water. Then dry completely with a paper towel or clean dish towel. Do not leave the boards to drip dry because bacteria love a warm, moist environment. You can also choose cutting boards that can be placed in a dishwasher for a thorough cleaning.