How to Keep Your Kitchen Healthy

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A lot goes on in your kitchen: cooking, socializing, homework, projects. Unfortunately, all of that traffic and food means a heyday for germs and bacteria. How can you put a stop to the little bugs taking root in your kitchen?

Make sure the kitchen is on your daily and weekly house cleaning schedule, and follow these tips to make sure you have the cleanest, healthiest kitchen possible:

1. Wash Your Hands. It seems like a no-brainer, but when you’re caught up in things, it can be easy to forget to wash your hands.

Anytime you’re cooking, you should not only wash your hands once, but every time you get done handling any sort of raw meat or garbage to prevent cross-contamination.

2. Put Food Away. Ever finish with dinner and leave the half-empty dishes sitting on the stove to be put away later? It’s tempting, especially when you’re full or chatting with friends, but food left out can become a breeding ground for bacteria and a little too inviting for flies.

Go ahead and put it in the refrigerator when you’re done eating—it will only take a second and it will be worth the effort!

3. Use Airtight Containers. The box of open pancake mix in the cabinet might seem okay, but leaving it open, even a little bit, is an invitation to small insects and air pollutants. Invest in plastic zipper bags and plastic storage containers to keep your dry items closed up and safe.

4. Wash & Sanitize Counters. Often, homeowners will do one or the other: they’ll wipe down their counters without going back to sanitize, or they’ll spray down their counters without washing them. The best clean comes from doing both!

Wipe down your counters with soap and water, even if they don’t look particularly dirty. This will deal with any particles that may be sitting on the surface that you can’t see. Then, spray a sanitizer over the countertops (you can make your own by combining equal parts water and vinegar or 2 drops of chlorine bleach to 1 cup of water).

Whenever you’re sanitizing, leave the sanitizer there for 3 minutes to give the chemicals a chance to do their job before you wipe it clean.

5. Disinfect Your Sponge. Sponges have been touted as the dirtiest item in your kitchen—unfortunately, it’s true! Their soft, moist, porous design is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Thankfully, disinfecting your sponge once a day is easy (we recommend doing it first thing in the morning so you start the day with a clean sponge): run the sponge through the dishwasher with a regular load or wet it, ring it out, and microwave it for 3 minutes. 

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