Kitchen cleaning tips: The myths and the facts

In a time where our busy lives mean home cleanliness takes a back seat – what are the truths and lies regarding kitchen hygiene?

The kitchen is the heart of any home, where people like to spend time cooking, eating and even dancing, but it can get dirty very fast and requires the most attention when it comes to cleaning.

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With its warm and moist conditions, the kitchen is the ideal environment for lurking bacteria to thrive and multiply.

We've compiled a list debunking the facts and myths surrounding kitchen cleanliness and what can be done to make sure your kitchen is spick and span.

Myth: Dishcloths and sponges clean themselves

Commonly overlooked as a breeding ground for gems, it is easy to mistake dishcloths and sponges as some of the cleanest items in the kitchen, especially given the fact they are constantly submerged in hot, soapy water and cleaning products.

However, dishcloths and sponges actually harbour the most bacteria and can even contain six times as much bacteria as toilet handles.

To keep your dishcloths and sponges bacteria-free, regularly replace them every two to three weeks and leave them to dry in an airy environment after every use.

[5 ways to keep your fridge smelling fresh without using chemicals]

Myth: Knife blocks and utensil holders are clean

Almost every household will have knife blocks, and utensil holders are becoming increasingly popular due to their practicality and ease of access.

They keep your work space tidy and, as much as we love them, so does bacteria.

If not cleaned and disinfected regularly, these storage solutions soon become a hotbed for yeast and mould to multiply at the base and spread onto other kitchen utensils, including cutlery.

For best results and to limit the passing of germs between knives and food, regularly clean and disinfect utensil holders and invest in a knife block with antibacterial properties that is dishwasher safe.

Fact: Washing hands is the most important way to fight infections

Always remembering to wash your hands is the oldest rule in the book and was constantly embedded into your brain as a child.

Hands can carry up to 3,000 different kinds of bacteria and they can be picked up just from opening and closing the oven or kitchen cupboard doors.

Our hands are the most unforgiving tool when it comes to passing germs onto food, proving that washing your hands really is the most effective way to eliminate the spread.

However, a quick rinse under the tap is simply not enough.

Always use hand sanitiser or anti-bacterial hand wash before and after preparing food, and even before eating.

Fact: It’s important to disinfect kitchen surfaces before and after preparing food

Only needing to clean and wipe down kitchen surfaces after you’ve prepared food is a common misconception that needs to be addressed.

It is just as important to clean before as well as after.

Leaving kitchen windows open and touching surfaces with unclean hands can leave unwanted bacteria festering on your kitchen surfaces, which can then be transferred to your cooking.

Frequently touched surfaces in the kitchen such as taps and door handles, can be hotspots for the transfer of microorganisms that cause many common tummy infections.

To avoid the spread of gems and reduce the risk of illness, make sure to clean and disinfect all surfaces and handles on a regular basis, even if you resort to anti-bacterial wipes for efficiency and ease.

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