With the temperatures and humidity conditions in this region, some bacteria are able to divide every 20 minutes in the average home. Not all bacteria are harmful - your body contains plenty of bacteria that are essential for health, such as gut bacteria. But some can be found throughout your kitchen that can make you sick and weaken your immune system. If you think a wipe of the sponge or cleaning cloth keeps the kitchen clean, think again!
Over the coming issues and on the website, we’ll explore these areas, but for now let’s put the kitchen under the microscope.
Sponges and dish cloths
One study found that more than 75% of dish sponges and rags had salmonella, E.coli, and fecal matter (human waste) compared to 9% on bathroom tap handles. In the current virus climate, it is therefore a safe solution to use sheets of disposable sterilised kitchen roll to clean down surfaces before and after food preparation.
A study from the Hygiene Council in the United States found that the kitchen floor just in front of the sink has more bacteria (830 per square inch) than the garbage bin (411 per square inch). Other surprises included the fact that the average kitchen sponge held 60 times more bacteria than a pet's food bowl and that the kitchen counter was more bacteria-ridden than the average toilet seat.
Kitchen items that need frequent cleaning include:
After washing, use a kettle full of boiling water to pour over cutting boards, particularly if you have been using them for poultry, meat or fish.
These can be the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. One study swabbed 11 different brands of home coffee machines and found 11 different types of bacteria, including a bacteria that grows in standing water; and another strain of bacteria that is present in the human colon. So to clean inside the coffee machine, mix equal parts of white vinegar and water, then run the cycle. When this is done, brew again with just clean water once or twice to rinse any remaining vinegar solution away. Remove deep stains from the coffee pot with a soft sponge and some baking soda. Don’t keep water sitting in the water compartment - only use the amount of water you need and wash this daily.
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