Germs are lurking everywhere in the home, but kitchens are a key area where contamination can easily lead to illness. That’s why kitchen hygiene is so important. It’s not about being house proud or sloppy – it’s a matter of safeguarding your family’s health and wellbeing. Keep your kitchen surfaces scrupulously clean at all times so that microbes are given no chance to flourish and your family is kept safe.
Pay special attention to these 5 contact points where germs particularly like to breed.
1 – Wash your hands
What’s the first thing you should always do in the kitchen, before you do anything else? Wash your hands with soap and water! This is especially important – in fact, imperative – if you have pets or have just been to the toilet. Dry your hands with a disposable paper towel if possible, or have a dedicated hand towel that is laundered daily at high temperatures. Use an alcohol based hand sanitiser if no soap and water is available, or for extra protection after you’ve finished washing your hands.
2 – Dish cloths and tea towels
Research has repeatedly shown that tea towels and washing-up cloths are among the worst culprits for spreading germs around the kitchen. Scientists have found that bacteria such as salmonella can actually grow overnight on a dish cloth or tea towel, even if they’ve been rinsed in the sink. Make sure you machine wash your kitchen cloths and towels every day at 60C or higher, or soak them in a detergent solutions before immersing in disinfectant for at least 20 minutes.
3 – Chopping boards
Bacteria can survive for many hours on a chopping board, so it’s important to scrub it thoroughly with hot, soapy water after each use, then rinse with very hot (ideally boiling) water and dry with a paper towel. Use different chopping boards for vegetables and for animal products (meat, fish) to avoid cross contamination. Plastic chopping boards are more hygienic than wooden ones since germs are unable to penetrate the non-porous plastic surface.
4 – Raw and cooked foodstuffs
Make sure you keep raw and cooked foods separate from each other, whether in the fridge or on work surfaces. It is possible for food poising organism such as salmonella, E.coli, norovirus and listeria to be transferred between foods by direct contact. Better safe than sorry.
5 – Food contact surfaces
Constant vigilance is key to kitchen hygiene. In addition to general cleanliness in the kitchen, use a disinfectant to clean all your food contact points, including kitchen utensils and cloths, each time after handling and preparing foods. This applies to any food, whether raw, cooked or ready-to-eat.