Your kitchen is a breeding ground for bacteria, especially those surfaces that come in contact with food. These surfaces – the countertops and sink especially – should be cleaned after each use to avoid the potential for food-related illness. Follow the tips below to disinfect your countertops properly.
Clean Spills Right Away
Allowing food spills to linger on the counter is just asking for trouble. The longer spills sit, the more bacteria grows and the harder it is to get rid of it. The trick to keeping bacteria at bay is to clean spills right away. A simple swipe with a paper towel really isn’t enough, though.
To properly clean a spill, use soap and warm water. Of course, there’s a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning removes dirt and grime, while disinfecting kills germs. Regardless of how clean your countertops are, be sure to use a disinfectant to kill germs, too.
Disinfect Sponges and Dish Cloths
If you’re like most people, you use paper towel, dish cloths, or sponges to wipe your countertops. This is fine, but did you know that these cleaning aids can be wrought with bacteria, too?
To keep your cleaning aids germ-free, be sure to clean them after each use and let them dry thoroughly. If you use sponges, toss them into the microwave for two and a half minutes to kill 99.9 percent of germs and bacteria.
Clean Then Disinfect
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends cleaning kitchen countertops with warm soapy water. This cleans but does not disinfect the surfaces. To disinfect, the CDC recommends a weak bleach solution, or a prepared disinfectant bought at the store.
To prepare a DIY bleach solution, combine ¼ cup bleach with 2-1/4 cups water. Spray liberally on counters, wipe, rinse, and allow to air dry.
Keep the Counters Dry
Bacteria, mold, mildew, and fungus like to grow in moist conditions, so keeping your kitchen countertops dry will help deter their growth. After cleaning with soapy water, take the time to dry the surfaces thoroughly to prevent the nasties that can cause illness.
If you don’t like using bleach or other harsh chemicals in your home, there are a host of organic disinfectants on the market. Alternatively, you can make your own organic disinfectant using vinegar and hydrogen peroxide.
Pour peroxide into a dark-colored spray bottle. Pour white vinegar into another spray bottle. Don’t combine the two as the vinegar will turn the peroxide to water before it has a chance to do its job.
Wash your counters with soapy water. Spray them down with vinegar and then follow immediately with the peroxide. Wipe and you’re done! There’s no need to rinse.
Your kitchen is probably the germiest room in your home because where there’s food, there’s bacteria. Follow the tips above to disinfect your countertops to keep yourself and your family healthy.