Do you know where the most germs roam in your home? While many expect it to be the bathroom, the kitchen is most likely the germiest place. It’s a literal hotbed for all kinds of microbes and bacteria that can lead to nasty viruses, infections and illnesses. Kitchen germs can be very dangerous, leading to scary infections like e-coli, salmonella, campylobacter, shigella, norovirus and hepatitis-A.
Read on to discover some of the germiest spots in the kitchen.
Research conducted in recent years shows that toilet bowls may be cleaner and harbor less germs than the kitchen sink! Sinks are full of germs—think about everything you put into it on a daily basis. We wash produce, scrape food particles, defrost raw meat products and rinse off cutting boards into the sink, creating a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria like salmonella and E. coli that can easily spread onto your hands and food. The faucet handles are also high-touch areas that breed germs as well. Wash the sink and faucets with hot water and soap after each use.
Cutting boards can be a cesspool of germs, even for vegetarians. They can spread E. Coli, salmonella and campylobacter bacteria when used to cut up meat products and can cross-contaminate other food items cut on the board afterwards. Produce carries pathogens that are easily spread to cutting boards as well. It’s a good idea to use one cutting board for meat, one for poultry and another for produce to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
The damp, dense environment of a kitchen sponge is ideal for salmonella and coliform bacteria. We use them to wipe other germy hotspots down, including the sink, faucets, counters, cutting boards and light switches. To reduce breeding of dangerous bacteria, use paper towels whenever you can, keep sponges away from raw meat and replace them weekly.
Refrigerator Door Handles
The handles on your refrigerator are touched many times per day, often after users touch a variety of food items like raw meat. Wipe the handle down every day to reduce germs on this high-touch area.
A lot of activity takes place on kitchen counters, from prepping produce, cutting meat and cracking eggs to eating and hanging out. We typically wipe them down with the aforementioned germ-ridden sponges and spread even more germs instead of disinfecting. Use cutting boards whenever you can and clean spills with paper towels.
Click through to learn about more about how to protect yourself from everything from kitchen germs to locker room bacteria.