In order to keep you and your family well fed and healthy, a clean kitchen is essential. Here are some tips to keep your kitchen germ- and bug-free.
- Wash your hands before preparing and eating meals and snacks. I know you know this already, but it's just a little reminder.
- Clean commonly touched surfaces in your kitchen. Use disinfectant spray or wipes on sink faucets, refrigerator handles, stove handles, cupboard handles, soap dispensers, trashcans, doorknobs, light switches, and any other areas touched by grimy hands.
- Have separate cutting boards for meat. To avoid cross-contamination to veggies and fruits, use a separate cutting board for meat. Be sure to wash them immediately after use. If using plastic or glass cutting boards, run them through the dishwasher.
- Keep the items that disinfectant your dishes clean. Have both a sponge for dishes and one for the counters; replace sponges every two weeks. While in use, limit bacterial growth by allowing your sponge to dry out between uses, and you can also periodically microwave your wet sponge for two minutes. Dish towels should also be cleaned at least once a week.
- Wash all fruit and vegetable peels, even the ones you don't eat. Who knows how many hands (or worse) came in contact with your oranges, avocados, bananas, and cantaloupe. Wash all fruits and veggies before cutting into them to avoid transferring germs onto the edible parts.
Read on for more germ-busting tips.
- Don't let produce overipen on the counter. In the Summer, when fruit flies are worst, I even put my bananas in the fridge. The peel turns brown, but the fruit inside stays creamy yellow. If that's not possible, place your food in sealable plastic bags to reduce their aroma.
- Don't let dirty dishes or appliances sit out overnight. The same goes for crumbs and food spills on the counter. Washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen after a long day of work isn't as appealing as plopping on the couch to relax, but if you leave your kitchen messy, you're giving an open invitation to bacteria, ants, fruit flies, and other creepy crawlies.
- Take the trash out frequently. This is important so food isn't rotting in your bin for days on end. If you compost your food scraps, empty out your kitchen container into the compost bin every night.
- Wash out your pet's food and water dish once a day with warm soap and water. I know it's easier just to refill the water dish, but if it stays wet, a slimy film will collect on the inside of the bowl. Gross, I know. Also, if meat stays on their food dish, it can spoil making your pet ill, and will also attract bugs. Since your pets are part of the family, you've got to take care of them in the kitchen too!