Top 5 dirtiest places in the kitchen
According to a recent article in Food&Wine, your toilet seat may be cleaner than your kitchen.
“In most cases, it’s safer to make a salad on a toilet seat than it is to make one on a cutting board,” said microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson., Dr. Charles Gerba (a.k.a. Dr. Germ).
Dr. Gerba has been studying hidden bacteria in the home since 1973. Below he identifies the top five dirtiest spots in the kitchen.
5. Sponges and Dishcloths
Out of 1,000 sponges and dishcloths, 10 percent contained salmonella. This happens because they stay moist, making it easier for bacteria to grow. E. coli and fecal bacteria in the home are usually located on a sponge or dishcloth.
DR. GERM’S ADVICE: “Replace dishcloths every week and throw the sponge into the dishwasher or microwave it on high for 30 seconds.”
Because it is wet and moist the sink holds more E. coli than a toilet after it is flushed.
DR. GERM’S ADVICE: “Clean the sink basin with a disinfectant product made for the kitchen. Vinegar and lemon juice can clean some bacteria, but they can’t clean really bad pathogens, so the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t recommend using them as an alternative.”
3. Cutting Board
There are almost 200 times the fecal bacteria on a cutting board than a toilet seat. Because people just rinse their cutting board after they use it the raw meat that was cut on it leave behind salmonella and campylobacter.
DR. GERM’S ADVICE: “Use one cutting board for meats and another one for vegetables, so you don’t get cross-contamination. Boards can be cleaned with a kitchen disinfectant or put it in a dishwasher.” As to whether you should buy a wood or plastic cutting board: “We used to always recommend using plastic cutting boards, but wood seems to have antimicrobial resins, so it’s a toss-up.”
2. Bottom Shelf of the Refrigerator
Moisture forms in the refrigerator and eventually drips down to the bottom shelf. Because people usually store meat on the top and produce on the bottom all the juices from the meat drip down onto the produce. DR. GERM’S ADVICE: “Wipe down the bottom shelf every two or three weeks with a disinfectant cleaner that’s made for the kitchen. To avoid cross-contamination, put raw meat on the bottom shelf and tuck raw produce into a drawer away from everything else.”
1. Kitchen Countertops
Because people tend to use sponges to wipe the countertops, E. coli and other bacteria are just spread all over.
DR. GERM’S ADVICE: “Use a disinfectant kitchen cleaner and finish off by drying the countertop with a disposable paper towel. Paper towels are great because they absorb a lot of the moisture and bacteria and you can just throw them away.”