When you think of the germiest place in your house, you might think of your bathroom first but more than likely, the title belongs to your kitchen. Even when a kitchen looks clean, it can be a breeding ground for germs and disease. Proper kitchen sanitation may seem like a no-brainer but if you don’t pay careful attention, it can be easy to slip up and creating a breeding ground for germs.
Before you even being pulling out food to prepare, sanitize the area in which you intend to cook. This includes removing everything from the area such as writing utensils, recipe cards, and even your water glass. Wash your hands before touching any food products to help reduce the spreading of germs and bacteria.
Once you are done preparing food, it’s best to sanitize the entire area again and wash your hands to prevent the spread of germs. Always use clean sponges and towels when cleaning.
Even if the package says “pre-washed” you should give them a good rinse. The FDA recommends that you wash all produce before cutting, peeling or cooking regardless of where you got it from. The reason for this is because most chemicals and germs aren’t visible to the naked eye and can be lurking on your produce without your knowledge.
A main source for bacteria is raw meat. Just as you wouldn’t eat raw meat, you shouldn’t let it come into contact with anything else that you intend to ingest. This goes for both direct and indirect contact. Always wash hands after handling raw meat and don’t use the same knife to cut meat as you do to cut veggies without washing it first.
It’s best to avoid wood cutting boards because the grooves in the wood provide a hiding place for germs and bacteria. If you must use a wood cutting board, make sure to thoroughly clean it with a bleach water solution.
After cooking meat, never place it on the same surface that you had it on when it was raw. Also avoid placing meat directly on the kitchen counters. When storing raw meat, make sure you keep it in the bottom portion of the fridge to prevent contamination.
Give your dishes and cookware a good scrape before loading them into the dishwasher. Too much food debris can cause your dishwasher to be less effective and your dishes may not come out entirely clean.
Not following labels on food packaging is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to kitchen sanitation. ‘Refrigerate after opening’ isn’t a suggestion, it’s a warning. If a seal is broken, bacteria and germs have an opportunity to infiltrate your food but refrigeration will help to keep that process at bay.
Cassie Corbett loves to experiment with new recipes in her kitchen and is constantly using her friends as guinea pigs. She dreams of one day being the star of her own cooking show and admits to being a chocoholic. To keep up with Cassie follow her on twitter.