Do you often wonder whether your kitchens are truly clean or if they just appear to be germ-free on the surface? Even if we wash the plates, wipe countertops, sweep away crumbs and keep things in general order, micro bacteria could still be growing right under our noses. In fact, if you miss just one E. Coli bacterium when you clean, it can multiply to become a million within about 7 hours.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides the most accurate picture of foodborne illnesses in the U.S. In 2016, the CDC estimates that every year around 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 dies of foodborne diseases. In particular, it is estimated that around 5,461,731 illnesses are caused by the norovirus and around 1,027,561 are the result of salmonella.
So, what can we do to improve our kitchens’ defenses against the production of micro bacteria and keep ourselves safe from foodborne illnesses? We’ve got a number of tips designed to help.
Invest in antimicrobial countertops
Some countertops are actually antimicrobial. This means that the material used to make them actively works to kill microorganisms, including the famous norovirus and E. Coli. Silestone quartz is one of the most effective options to go for, as the antimicrobial agents are actually baked into the material. Copper is the second option and has the ability to kill bacteria on contact. If you don’t like the idea of Silestone quartz or copper, you might want to try Wilsonart HD Laminates. These plastic laminates protect your kitchen against mold and mildew and it’s thought that they inhibit the development of other microbes as well.
Swap your chopping board for an antimicrobial one
Logic dictates that if it’s possible to install antimicrobial countertops in your kitchen, it’s also possible to have bespoke antimicrobial chopping boards made from the same materials. Chopping boards are breeding grounds for microorganisms. We might chop raw meat, then prepare some sandwiches, or dice an onion. The list goes on and even if we’re sure to clean the surface in between each activity, we can’t be 100% certain that we’ve managed to eradicate all traces of micro bacteria in between.
This is why a chopping board made from silestone quartz, copper or Wilsonart HD Laminate makes sense. It will help to kill off any microorganisms that we’ve unknowingly not been able to remove.
Take care of your sponges
Sponges can harbor zillions of microbes, which is why they are so notoriously difficult to keep clean. The irony is that we actually use them to do the cleaning. So when we clean with a sponge that isn’t actually clean in the first place, how can we ever be sure that we’re not simply spreading the germs around from one place to another?
A really good tip for making sure your sponge is as germ-free as possible is to place it in the microwave for 60 seconds after you use it. If you have a dishwasher, you can also clean your sponges while you clean your dirty dishes. Make sure you put them through the drying cycle too, as the additional heat will help to eradicate persistent microorganisms.
Organize your fridge
Some bacteria actually thrive in very cold conditions, which is what makes it easy for them to grow in the fridge. If you’ve ever seen mold growing on something you’ve left in your fridge, that’s a clear indication of bacteria that has been awarded the right kind of conditions to grow.
It’s important to keep meat separate from seafood, vegetables, and cheeses. In fact, really good practice is to place raw meat, poultry, and fish on the lower shelves, so that their juices cannot accidentally drip onto and mix with other foods. You should also clean the inside of your fridge on a regular basis, mopping up any spills as soon as they happen. By being a little more organized, fewer germs will be given the opportunity to spread and grow.