Tips to keep your kitchen healthy, safe and germ-free

Courtesy/Paula Black
Okay, we do agree that most mums are victims of obsessive-compulsive disorder when it comes to cleanliness. You can see them shrieking around when their kids return home covered with sweat and mud after a session at play. Some of them even wake up to nightmares of their kids gorging on a bacteria-infested samosa from that street vendor.

While a toilet cleaner and a cleaning spray might be ready weapons in the arsenal to keep your homes healthy, little did you know that germs can be lurking around in places where you least expect them? Studies have shown that there are more germs in the kitchen sink than in the toilet bowl.

So, before you dig your nails into your cheeks in shock, read up these healthy kitchen tips, to ensure that you have a hygienic, germ-free, and healthier cooking environment.

Always wash your hands in warm, soapy water before and after preparing food
Trust us, this helps.

Clean kitchen surfaces after every stage of preparing your food
Try to ‘clean as you go’. This prevents cross-contamination as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and many other raw foods are the most common sources of germs.

Always use a separate cutting board for raw and cooked food
The juice from raw meat contains harmful bacteria that can make one very ill. If possible, avoid wooden chopping boards, which over time will have many small cuts or scratches where the bacteria can thrive. Even a very tiny opening on the surface of a cutting board can harbor more bacteria than you can think about.

Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before preparing
Scrub fruits and veggies with a brush and cut away any bruised or damaged parts of the food as bacteria thrive in these areas.

When cleaning cooking utensils, use an appropriate sponge
While cooking, you use different types of utensils – some can be made of ceramics, while others of glass, steel or plastic. Always use the right sponge which is specifically catered to clean that category of utensils to effectively remove grit and grease while avoiding scratches.

When washing utensils, make sure every part is washed
Do not forget to wash the bottom of the plates or the handle of the spoon and the fork. They are not as clean as you think. Instruct your maid if she is the one who handles the washing.

Clean the sponge after every wash
The sponges and brushes which are used to wash utensils can be infested by bacteria easily. Therefore, it is important to take extra care of them. Wash the sponges with plain clean water thoroughly, squeeze the excess water and leave them to dry before further use.

Clean the kitchen sink thoroughly
Clean the kitchen sink thoroughly with soap and water. Remove trapped food particles stuck in the drain as these are bacterial hotspots.

Use different clothes for different sections of your kitchen
Never use a cloth that you are using for cleaning your kitchen surface for wiping the dry dishes.

Never let water sit, whether spilled on the counter, the floor or under the refrigerator
Water can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mosquitoes, especially if other substances such as dust are present.

Keep soap bars as dry as possible to avoid bacteria growth
Or best, use liquid soap in a dispenser.

Do not forget your fridges, freezers, and cupboards
The above locations are prime spots for bacteria breeding if large quantities of food and drinks are stored. Clean them at least once a week.

Do not submerge hot pans in cold water or cold pans in hot water
Lukewarm water is best for cleaning non-stick pans. Place a paper towel in a pan quarter-filled with water overnight to remove the grease.

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