11 Tips for a Clean and Healthy Kitchen
During the last year, our kitchens have been where life happens. Our kitchen islands, coffee machines, ovens, refrigerators and cutting boards have done double duty as work offices and full-service eateries — which is why it’s more important than ever to give them a deep clean.
With these 11 tips from NSF expert and microbiologist Lisa Yakas, you can quickly and easily clean your highly trafficked (and highly germy) kitchen.
Spruce Up Your RoutineIt’s good to do a weekly deep clean and sanitize your kitchen. So choose a convenient day and stick to your plan to tackle the job.
Top DownWork from the top down, which will help prevent dust from settling and dirt from spreading germs back onto the counters and floors.
Go GreenIf you want to be environmentally friendly, consider an alternative to your regular cleaning products. Try a vinegar solution mixed with hot water for cabinets, walls and appliances to help neutralize odors, remove dirt and dissolve grease. Or look for an EPA Safer Choice cleaning product or another eco-label in your area.
CounterattackFor your food prep surfaces, such as counters and sinks, clean with a mild detergent and water, followed by a disinfectant. For specialty surfaces, use the disinfecting agent recommended by your countertop manufacturer. And in some cases, a bleach-based solution (one teaspoon of household bleach per quart of hot water) can be used.
FoodstuffsCheck the cupboards, pantry, refrigerator and freezer for expired foods. Discard any items that are beyond their posted “use by” dates.
Soak the SpongeKitchen sponges are Petri dishes for bacteria, so it’s important to rinse and clean them in a bleach solution and replace them frequently. You can also microwave your sponges. But when in doubt, throw it out.
Sweep It UpBring out the broom and do a clean sweep of the floor daily. Kitchen rugs and hand towels should also be laundered regularly to keep the kitchen smelling fresh.
Everything and the Kitchen SinkRemember to give your kitchen sink a good wipe down with a disinfectant at least once a week.
Dive DeepMake sure to clean the veggie compartment in your fridge effectively. First, remove the drawer if possible. Use a clean sponge or soft cloth and wash the bin with a mild detergent mixed with warm water. Rinse with tap water and wipe dry with a clean towel. To help control odors, use warm water mixed with a baking soda solution.
Sweat the Small StuffDon’t forget about can openers, rubber spatulas and food storage containers. After each use, wash them by hand in hot, soapy water, rinsing thoroughly with clean tap water before air-drying.
Bring On the Knives and Cutting BoardsDark, moist environments can be a breeding ground for germs, and knife blocks and cutting boards are no exception. Both yeast and mold can grow here.