It’s hard to believe summer is already over. Now that the kids are headed back school, they’ll come in contact with germs and contagious bugs from their fellow classmates. You can’t control what happens at school, but you can maintain a clean kitchen to help prevent your family from getting sick this school year. Follow these kitchen cleaning tips for a healthier home.
Every family member should make it a habit to wash their hands when they get home from school, work or running errands. This is the single best way to keep outside germs from infiltrating your home. Other appropriate times to wash your hands include:
- Before, during and after food preparation
- After coming in contact with anything germ-ridden, including bodily fluids, garbage or animals
- After using the restroom or changing a diaper
- Before dressing a wound, administering medicine or putting in contact lenses
- After sneezing or blowing your nose
- Whenever your hands look or smell dirty
Clean and Disinfect Kitchen Counters
Most of the time, cleaning the counters with soap and water to remove dirt and germs is good enough. You should complete this step before, during and after preparing food. However, you should also occasionally disinfect the kitchen counters to destroy infectious germs.
Look for cleaning products that specifically say “disinfectant” and feature an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number. Follow the directions on the bottle, which may suggest letting the product sit on the counters for a few minutes before wiping it away.
To prevent germs from hanging around on cleaning cloths:
Use paper towels or disposable sanitizing wipes when appropriate.
Thoroughly rinse, wring out and air dry reusable washcloths and sponges between uses.
Place sponges in the microwave for 30 seconds or run them through the dishwasher at the end of the day to remove germs.
Use each washcloth for no more than 24 hours before washing in hot water and bleach.
Prevent Infection from Kitchen Gadgets
Foodborne illnesses are a common way to become sick. Implementing proper kitchen cleaning techniques before, during and after food preparation can help prevent infections from contaminated food. Your goal is to keep the kitchen and all its gadgets as clean as possible at all times.
Cutting boards, dishes and utensils: Wash these food preparation devices with soap and water before using them. Prepare fresh produce and raw meat on separate cutting boards. Clean them immediately or throw them in the dishwasher after each use to prevent cross contamination.
Can openers: Clean your can opener, whether handheld or electric, after each use. Allow the blades to air dry.
Garbage disposal: Food particles, soap scum and other grime build up inside the garbage disposal, sometimes creating a real stink. Once a month, apply a chlorinated cleansing powder to a long-handled angled scrub brush. Unplug the garbage disposal for safety and scrub the inside of the disposal. Give the cleanser time to work before using the sink again.
Blenders and food processors: Rinse these gadgets immediately after use and run all washable parts through the dishwasher before using them again. Wipe down the motorized base with a clean cloth to remove stuck on food particles.
Refrigerator: Every so often, empty the fridge and wipe the walls with a bleach solution. Remove shelves and wash them in the sink with warm soapy water. Clean up spills promptly to prevent smells from developing. Keep an eye on the condition of leftovers and throw them away at the first sign of mold.
With these kitchen cleaning tips, it should be easier to keep everyone healthy this school year!