The cooking area is the heart of the home, the place where you and your family and guests are most like to gather. Regrettably, due to its mix of food preparation, warm temperatures, and moisture, this room tends to be equally popular as a bacteria hangout. Keep bacteria at bay with these 7 easy kitchen area do’s and don’ts.
- Sponge or Dish Cloth
DON’T wash your mealtime dishes using a sponge or fabric without finishing up with a hot water final rinse. Research study has found that there are 10 million germs on every square inch of your cooking area sponge (ugh!), and about a tenth of that figure on your dish cloth.
DO make a habit to clean your sponge or dish cloth frequently; keep a few new clothes on hand to switch off. Fabrics that become laden with germs are easy to toss into the washing machine each time you do a warm water load. Sponges must be sterilized in the dish washer or microwave– always wet the sponge before microwaving to prevent fire danger– and disposed of after a month of usage.
DON’T forget to take care of your kitchen area sink’s faucet drains and handles. These are 2 areas which collect a massive quantity of bacteria.
DO clean all parts of the kitchen area sink well with baking soda and vinegar for natural green sanitization. (CAUTION: Do not use vinegar on stone sinks or countertops to prevent corrosion.) Pull out your removable sink strainer and scrub thoroughly paying close attention to the dirty underside.
- Cutting Board
DON’T simply give your cutting board a quick rinse after usage. Whether it is made of wood or plastic (the jury is out regarding which is more sanitary), the board should be cleaned up and decontaminated after each cutting session.
DO use white vinegar to sanitize your cutting boards. Be careful of the fumes, but it is a good idea to wipe down with hydrogen peroxide after chopping seafood, raw meat or poultry. This type of food should be prepared on a dedicated cutting surface such as plastic boards which can be cleaned in the dishwashing machine.
- Poultry Handling
DON’T wash chicken or poultry prior to cooking. I know it sounds strange, but rinsing raw turkey, duck or chicken under running water gets rid of some surface bacteria, however, these organisms can wind up all over you, your counters and sink, and everything close by. Instead, put the meat directly into your pan or roaster; any germs will be eliminated by cooking to an interior temperature level of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
DO buy from a trusted source. Shop for fresh poultry and put in the refrigerator or cook immediately (within 2 days, according to the USDA). Thaw frozen fowl below 40 F, not at room temperature. If your refrigerator is not cooling your food sufficiently on warm Myrtle Beach summertime days, a professional handyman can discover the problem’s source.
- Trash and Compost Storage
DON’T position damp garbage or compost in a bin without a tight-fitting lid inside your home, as this causes undesirable smells, in addition to drawing in bugs and other pests.
DO use covered trash bin with a step-on pedal to reduce your hands’ contact with bacteria. If you produce reasonably small amounts of compost, store in the freezer in a closed container until you can take it out to the main pile. Wash your hands with soap and warm water each time you deal with trash or compost.
- Hand and Dish Towels
DON’T continue using kitchen area towels indefinitely. Whether you are using the towels for drying your hands or dishes, damp, stained towels are a breeding place for all sorts of bacteria, including E. coli, staphylococcus and salmonella.
DO keep a good stock of different towels for hands and dishes. Launder often at 90 degrees F, on a regular cycle.
- Water Bottles
DON’T try to use plastic water bottles more than once. Not only is it possible for chemicals to leak into your drink, plastic beverage bottles are generally made with narrow necks. This makes them nearly impossible to clean effectively.
DO opt for an easy-to-clean, environmentally friendly, wide-mouth stainless-steel or glass bottle.