The kitchen is one of the dirtiest places in your entire home.
If you're like me, when you think about the dirtiest places in your home, you probably think about the bathroom. Now, if we're talking about the messiest place, well, the bathroom might win that one too. In reality, studies show that the dirtiest place in your home is probably the kitchen. Hidden germs like Salmonella, E. coli, yeast, and even mold may be making camp in some of the hard to clean spots in the kitchen. "Germ Docs" have created a list of the dirtiest places in your kitchen, and we'll tell you how to make sure you clean all the right spots to avoid health risks for you and your family.
Dishcloths & Sponges
Dishcloths & sponges are a breeding ground for E.coli. According to the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), 75 percent (or more) of dish sponges and cloths have some type of coliform bacteria living on them. Coliform bacteria includes things like Salmonella and E.coli and is a strong indicator of possible fecal contamination.
How to get rid of it: Throw cloths and sponges in the microwave on high for about 30 seconds. This will kill a vast majority of the bacteria.
The sink may seem like a clean place since its filled with dish soap bubbles, but studies show that 45 percent of sinks had the Coliform bacteria present.
How to get rid of it: Use a heavy duty kitchen disinfectant in your sink when you clean, and if you drop food into the sink while cooking, just throw it in the trash.
The Vegetable Compartment
The vegetable compartment in your fridge is a germ's dream. Moist, dark environments are the perfect place for germs, just like the drawer in your fridge.
How to get rid of it: Keep your produce away from meat products. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping ready-to-eat and unwashed produce separated in your grocery cart and while you're cooking. Make sure you clean the drawer frequently. Mixing in some baking soda while cleaning will help remove the smell, too.
The Meat Compartment
The meat compartment isn't much better than the veggies.
How to get rid of it: Make sure you clean the meat drawer even more thoroughly than you would the veggie drawer.
Cutting boards often have high amounts of bacteria, and because we use them so often, it is important to make sure they are bacteria-free.
How to get rid of it: Use a separate cutting board for produce and meat, seafood or poultry. When you wash them, make sure you dry them right away so bacteria doesn't grow while the boards are air drying.
The blender is something we don't think about in a germ sense, but not cleaning them properly can make them a great environment to harbor bacteria.
How to get rid of it: You should place disassembled blender parts in the dishwasher because washing by hand may not allow for hot enough water or a thorough clean.
According to the study, 32 percent of counter tops had bacteria living on them.
How to get rid of it: Use a kitchen disinfectant and dry with a paper towel. Dish towels can transfer germs onto the counter whereas paper towels won't.
The Can Opener
The can opener is probably one we never think about, but simply rinsing it off isn't enough to clean bacteria off of this kitchen gadget.
How to get rid of it: Place the can opener in the dishwasher, even if you don't think it needs it. Trust us, it does.
The rubber spatula is a cooking staple in my house and it gets a lot of use. Moving from drawer to counter to your food, the spatula has a lot of time to soak up the germs.
How to get rid of it: If it is a two piece spatula, make sure you separate the rubber from the handle before washing. This is another one you should make sure to have in the dishwasher.
Food Storage Containers
The rubber seals on food storage containers are a germ's favorite spot. If yeast and mold build up in these containers, the second you put new food inside, it's contaminated.
How to get rid of it: Don't hand wash food storage containers. Place them in the dishwasher even if they don't seem dirty.
After reading this, I think it is safe to say that most of us aren't as clean as we could be. Below are the symptoms of the most common illnesses that come from these bacteria. Make sure you and your family are protected.
Salmonella: You will see symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain within 8 to 12 hours after eating contaminated food.
E. coli: This takes a bit longer, usually 2 to 5 days. You may develop diarrhea, possibly bloody, and cramps. You may have a low fever.
Yeast & Mold: Exposure to yeast and mold may lead to an allergic reaction.