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How To Keep Your Kitchen Bacteria-Free

How To Keep Your Kitchen Bacteria-Free

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"Just gimme some Lysol spray
Just hand me a moist towelette
Don't tell me I'm paranoid
I know that they're after me
Look under the microscope
See??"

-Weird Al Yankovic


Lisa wears "eau de hand sanitizer" and uses antibacterial wipes to clean everything from airline armrests to hotel TV remotes. My sister is mega-cootie-conscious, and, thanks to her, kitchens across the globe will no longer be Petri dishes for all-things-nasty. Here are her top tips to keep bacteria at bay:

1) THE SPONGE
The warm, moist kitchen sponge is enemy #1. Not only is this porous, spore-producer grimier than a public toilet, but it also acts as a vehicle, spreading germs from surface to surface.
The fix: Either zap it in the microwave 1-2 minutes on a weekly basis and then run it through the dishwasher or replace sponges with microfiber towels that you launder regularly.

2) THE SINK
The kitchen sink is another place where contamination runs wild. From the basin to the drain and taps, nowhere is safe from the perils of raw food.
The fix: In the evening, spray the drain, basin, faucets and spigot with disinfectant.

3) THE TOWELS
Dishrags are a hotbed of bacterial growth. Like the sponge, they give germs a free ride across kitchen counters, onto your hands and even onto that freshly washed apple you're shining
The fix: Launder towels regularly and dry on high heat. Alternatively, switch to paper towels, and for those who are eco-friendly, use the 1/2-size sheets or recycled paper.

4) THE FRIDGE
Raw meat and poultry isn't the only culprit that makes this a bacteria-box - raw, unwashed fruit and veggies come with pesticides and other germs.
The fix: Wipe down the inside of your refrigerator once a week and do a deep clean once a month. As well, clean refrigerator handles on a daily basis.

5) THE CUTTING BOARD
Cracks and crevices caused by wear and deep knife cuts make the cutting board a damp, dark, safe harbor for bacterial growth.
The fix: If using a wood board, rub it with mineral oil monthly. As well, to disinfect, use a bleach solution of 1 tbsp bleach with 1 gallon of hot water. If using a plastic board, run it through the dishwasher and use separate ones for produce and meat/poultry.

6) SECRET CROSS CONTAMINATORS
Be aware of these lesser-known germ carriers:
Can Opener: Wash with hot, soapy water
Fruit Rind: Wash before slicing through the fruit
Reusable Shopping Bag: Machine wash regularly
Kitchen Telephone: Clean with antibacterial wipe
Salt & Pepper Shaker: Wipe surfaces with disinfecting wipes
Raw meat/poultry: Don't rinse before cooking - proper cooking gets rid of harmful germs
*and of course outside of the home, beware the
Shopping Cart: Littered with bodily fluids and bacteria

Don't fret. It'll all be ok if you wash your hands like a surgeon and never consider keyboards, escalator railings, playgrounds and communion cups...


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