Where Are the Germs in Your Kitchen?
Your kitchen may look clean, but are hidden bacteria lurking? The unfortunate truth is that the little microbes that make you sick are invisible to the human eye. The average kitchen is full of germs, according to extensive household research.
Microbiologists rank the “10 germiest places in your kitchen”. Are you sitting down? Here’s the list:
- Kitchen Sponge/Dish Rag
- Kitchen Sink
- Toothbrush Holder
- Pet Bowl
- Coffee Reservoir
- Faucet Handles
- Pet Toys
- Stove Knobs
- Cutting Boards
Food safety: cutting boards and toilet seats face off
More about #2, your sink: Microbiology expert Charles Gerba, PhD of the University of Arizona, was quoted by Philly.com saying, “You’d be better off eating a carrot stick that fell in your toilet than one that fell in your sink.” He has also said that cutting boards you use for raw meat have 200 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. (Consumer Reports, March 2012).
Raw eggs make trouble, too
Research from England reveals that the simple act of cracking a fresh egg can spread Salmonella bacteria across your counter. They land as far as 16 inches away, and persist for up to 24 hours. This is one of the invisible dangers of using raw eggs that aren’t pasteurized to eliminate the Salmonella risk. Many people say if you just cook the eggs – no Salmonella worries. Oops! Not true. Unless you’re cooking your counter, too.
Food safety tips for your kitchen
If you’re concerned about invisible germs, the good news is you can take charge. Choose pasteurized eggs so you aren’t spreading Salmonella around. And, advises NSF, an international standards organization, you can:
- Replace dish rags every 1-2 days
- Disinfect your sink regularly
- Wash kitchen strainers in the dishwasher weekly
- Clean your coffee maker following manufacturers’ instructions
- Wash and disinfect your counters every day
- Wash your stove knobs every week.
A lot of work? Perhaps. What’s food safety worth to you?