How to Rid Your Kitchen of Germs - dummies

By Gill Chilton

There are certain areas in your kitchen which are the most likely to have harmful micro-organisms and you need to take special care with these items.

Because germs love water, thoroughly dry the surface of each of the following problem areas with a clean cloth or paper towel after you clean it.

  • Chopping boards: Clean with an antibacterial spray before use and during use when you switch foods. Ideally, keep one board for raw meats and wash this with dilute bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).

  • Eating and cooking utensils: It’s the hot water, not the washing-up liquid, that kills germs on your pots, pans, plates, and cutlery (silverware). If you can tolerate only lukewarm water, consider switching to a dishwasher.

    If you can’t do the dishes right away, cut germs by scraping off food, but don’t leave pans or dishes to soak if you won’t get back to them within two hours – stagnant water is a breeding ground for germs.

  • Inside the fridge: Stay on top of drips and spills. When raw meat drips on a shelf, for example, spray an antibacterial cleaner onto a cloth, not the fridge shelf, or use an antibacterial wipe to clean the spill. Always store raw meat at the very bottom of your fridge so that any drips will not contaminate your other food.

  • Sink drainer (dish drainer): Wipe with dilute bleach or antibacterial cleaner after each use. Dry thoroughly.

  • Worktops: Use an antibacterial spray labelled safe for food-preparation areas on surfaces where you prepare food.

Because bacteria and viruses grow in pooled, stagnant water, the kitchen black spots listed here can turn into reservoirs of germs. Take special care to clean and dry these areas:

  • Plughole (drain) and U-bend in the sink: Pour around 60ml (4 tablespoons) of neat bleach down the sink. After three minutes, run water, then dry plughole.

  • String-mesh dishcloths and sponges: Soak in very diluted bleach (20ml [1–1/2 teaspoons] to 5 litres [1 gallon] of water in a bucket). You can do this in the sink (and so disinfect the sink, too), but only if you’re confident that the metal on the plughole can withstand this – bleach may tarnish the metal.

  • Wet tea towels and fabric cloths: Machine-wash on hot with bio-powder or liquid.

Good hygiene isn’t about cleaning more; it’s about targeting hygiene hot spots, the areas where keeping things clean helps keep you well.