It's a real challenge to keep the kitchen clean, and yet it's so important. Germs are everywhere. These nasty little interlopers stow away in your handbag or briefcase and hitchhike home on raw meats and vegetables.
Since you can't see them, how can you beat them? You must know where the most significant, germiest bugs lurk, and how to zap them.
A recent study found that the top 5 germiest areas in the home were in the kitchen: sponges and dishcloths, the sink drain area, the sink faucet handle, cutting boards, and the refrigerator handle. These kitchen cleaning tips can help de-bug these hotspots and keep this busy room sanitary and safe.
Not only are sponges and dishcloths vast breeding grounds for germs, but when you use them to wipe up countertops and other surfaces, they are perfect germ spreaders.
Disinfect them each and every day.
You can soak in a diluted bleach solution or microwave the sponge, in water, for two minutes. (Do not microwave a sponge with any metal parts.) seconds to kill germs.
And don't forget to bring in fresh replacements every two weeks, minimally. Always replace a sponge when it begins to smell funky; this is a telltale sign of germs.
Disinfect sinks each day. You can actually disinfect your sink, sponges, and dishcloths all at once.
Here's how: Fill the kitchen sink with a basic disinfecting solution (3/4 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of warm water). Soak sponges and dishcloths for five minutes, and then let the bleachy water run down the drain.
This sanitizes the sponges and disinfects the sink and drain area in one easy step.
Wipe down the sink faucet handle daily with a disposable disinfecting wipe, or spray it with a combination cleaner/disinfectant.
For cutting boards and other porous surfaces, mix three tablespoons of liquid bleach with 1 gallon of water. Apply to the surface.
Keep the surface wet for two minutes. Rinse with water and let dry.
Kitchen cleaning tips for the refrigerator handle and other hard, nonporous surfaces: mix one tablespoon of liquid bleach with 1 gallon of water.
Apply to the surface. Keep the surface wet for two minutes. Allow to air-dry. Do not rinse.
From toast to cereal and beyond!
These crumby culprits and all sorts of other drips, smudges, and dirt on countertops are ubiquitous in any household where Buzz Lightyear and SpongeBob fans reside.
Here's a simple solution to the Hansel and Gretel syndrome: Park a travel-size pack of baby-wipes counterside.
This does double duty: It serves as a reminder for kids to clean up, plus it provides a quick and easy way to do so.
Now, post-meal surface wipedowns are a snap, even if you can't reach the sink for the sponge. Floor and counter crumbs stick to the wipe's damp surface, and the wipe is tossed after use, making it easy enough for your 2-year-old to master.
Each week, do a more thorough countertop cleaning. Take everything off of your counters and wipe them down with a nonabrasive, disinfectant cleaner.
Let the counters dry, and then put everything back.
Wipe up any spills in your refrigerator immediately to keep bacteria from growing.
Wash first with warm, soapy water, then disinfect with a solution of 1 teaspoon of bleach in 1 quart of water.
Each week, do a more thorough cleaning and toss out old foods. Check expiration dates of foods and condiments you keep, rotating so that the oldest of any item (milk, for example) is front and center when little hands are searching.
Every few weeks, do a major cleaning. Remove all food. Dissolve four teaspoons of baking soda in 1 quart of water. With a soft, clean cloth, wash all interior surfaces, including the top, bottom, drawers, and walls.
Pay special attention to corners and crevices. Then, rinse all surfaces with warm water, dry with a soft, clean cloth.