11 sneaky places germs are hiding in your kitchen
The kitchen harbors some of the most germ-ridden items in the average home. Though we focus a lot of attention on cleaning and sanitation in the kitchen, studies show that germs are still lurking in some of the most unexpected places.
In a study conducted by the NSF, 36 percent of kitchen items tested contained E. coli; 36 percent contained salmonella; 14 percent were contaminated with listeria; and 100 percent of the items harbored yeast and mold—43 percent at levels high enough to be a serious concern.
Not surprisingly, these pathogen-ridden surfaces and gadgets come into contact with our food on a daily basis, particularly raw foods, increasing the odds that we will get sick from one of many food-borne illnesses.
The produce drawer in your refrigerator can be contaminated with salmonella, listeria, yeast and mold. To clean it, remove the drawer from the fridge and wash it in warm, soapy water.
It’s no secret: lots of germs are washed down the kitchen sink. Make sure the pathogens don’t linger by disinfecting it daily with a solution of bleach and water.
The best way to ensure that salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold aren’t growing on your can opener is to wash it in the dishwasher after each use. If you don’t have a dishwasher, hand-wash after each use but be sure to pay extra attention to the area around the blade.
Check to see if your spatula can be disassembled. If so, remove the handle and wash both pieces in the dishwasher or by hand to remove any E. coli, yeast or mold that may be present. If the spatula cannot be disassembled, when washing, be sure to pay special attention to the area where the two pieces join.
Salt and pepper shakers
Because they’re handled so frequently, salt and pepper shakers harbor a tremendous amount of germs. The best way to ensure that your salt and pepper shakers are clean is to periodically wipe them down with disinfecting wipes.
Periodically clean your knife block to prevent yeast and mold from thriving. Remove the knives, turn the knife block over to remove any loose debris, and then clean the knife block in hot soapy water using a small brush in each of the slots.
Reusable containers with a rubber seal can harbor salmonella, yeast and mold. If the rubber seal is removable, remove it before machine or hand washing. If it’s not, be sure to pay special attention to the area around the seal.
Mold, mildew and bacteria can all be hiding in the reservoir of your coffee maker. Clean your coffeemaker according to the manufacturers’ instructions frequently; many also recommend using vinegar.
The blender is another kitchen gadget that needs to be fully disassembled before washing. Be sure to remove the blade and seal from the jar and base before washing to prevent salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold from thriving. Be sure to dry each piece thoroughly before reassembling.