The sponge and the sink are obvious culprits, but new research shows that other everyday kitchen objects can also harbor germs that can cause foodborne illnesses or worse.
Even the cleanest kitchen has germs.
In a new study from NSF International, a non-profit public health and safety organization, when 20 families swabbed 14 different kitchen items they found the following ones contaminated with various combinations of foodborne illness-causing germs such as E. Coli, Salmonella, Listeria and mold and yeast. (No wonder that 21 percent of cases of foodborne illness are due to food consumed in private homes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) Here are some of the worst germ breeding grounds, and tips on how to keep them clean.
Be honest: when was the last time you cleaned this, if ever?
De-gunk it: Remove the knives, then turn the block upside down to shake out crumbs. (You can also use a can of compressed air, like a computer keyboard cleaner.) Wash the block in hot soapy water and get in the slots with a small brush, like the kind designed to clean baby bottle nipples. To sanitize, soak the block in a mixture of one gallon of lukewarm tap water and 1 tablespoon of 5.25 percent household bleach, or just fill the knife slots with the mixture. Let it sit for one minute, then rinse thoroughly with clean tap water and place upside down to dry. Avoid germ buildup by washing knives and letting them dry completely before you put them back in the block.
If you don’t follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, you may be blending in bacteria with your food.
De-gunk it: Clean your machine after each use by disassembling completely, including removing the blade and gasket. Depending on manufacturer’s directions, put the pieces in the dishwasher or wash by hand in hot soapy water. Let all pieces dry thoroughly before putting the blender together.
Many people use this handy tool every day, but if you toss it back the drawer without a good cleaning, you maybe exposing your family to bacteria, yeast, and mold.
De-gunk it: It’s especially important to clean the area where the groove meets the can, and make sure you get rid of all food residue. Even better, buy one that’s dishwasher safe and wash after each use.
Food storage containers with rubber seals
You may rinse out your lunch container in the office sink, but these containers can allow germs to thrive.
De-gunk it: If dishwasher safe, make sure to wash both the container and the lid. If you’re cleaning by hand, take special care around the seal and any grooves where the cover attaches to the container.
By Lauren Gelman
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