Prevent Deadly Kitchen Germs (Common Hiding Spots)

By: Sheila Reynolds

Most people spend a fair amount of time in their kitchens, and in an effort to save money, more and more people are opting to stay at home for dinner rather than venturing out to pricy restaurants. And that’s a good thing; chances are, you’re eating much healthier and more cheaply at home than you ever would at a restaurant.

Prevent Deadly Kitchen Germs (Common Hiding Spots)

Despite all of the benefits, there can be one drawback to home prepared meals: kitchen germs. A recent study found that at least 20% of food borne illnesses are caused by home cooked foods. The study focused on the analysis of everyday kitchen items for the presence of four different types of microorganisms: E.coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and mold and yeast. This can be due to everything from not handling the food properly to how it’s stored.

Amazingly enough, these commonly used items contained the most germs:

  • Blender
  • Spatula
  • Water Dispenser in your refrigerator

In addition to these, the following are the most likely to be contaminated with harmful kitchen germs:

  • Refrigerator vegetable compartment
  • Refrigerator ice dispenser
  • Refrigerator meat compartment
  • Knife block
  • Food storage containers
  • Can opener
  • Refrigerator insulating seal

Why are these areas more likely to be “gross?” Simply put, they’re often bypassed during cleaning. After all, when was the last time you disinfected your knife block?

Here are some tips to get control over kitchen germs:

  • Clean your refrigerator vegetable and meat compartments monthly and always keep these items separate when shopping.
  • Completely disassemble your blender after each use to clean it thoroughly.
  • Wash can-openers after each use, even if it isn’t visibly dirty. Treat it like you would any other cooking utensil (you wouldn’t put your ladle back in the drawer right after serving soup without washing it!)
  • Remove the head from two-part spatulas before cleaning.
  • Focusing on cleaning the rubber seal on your food storage items, which is where most of the germs collect.
  • Every week, clean the spouts on your refrigerator water and ice dispensers, and disassemble both every 6 months for a thorough cleaning.
  • Wash your knife block once a week and always let knives dry completely before putting them back in the slots.

source: nsf