Would you be surprised if I told you that an average kitchen is as dirty as a washroom? Would you be offended? The thought is disturbing to say the least, but, unfortunately, it’s partially true!
The kitchen is a breeding ground for all kinds of bacteria because of all the raw foods that pass through it, which has the potential to carry harmful, and potentially lethal, bacteria. Not only that, but many of us are making some easily avoidable mistakes that only make the problem worse.
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Take a look at these top 5 sanitary sins around 48 million Americans are unknowingly committing each year, and the super easy steps you need to take to bring safety back into you kitchen.
Most Common Kitchen Mistakes
Not refreshing sponges and rags often enough
If you use a sponge to clean your dishes, it must be clean too right? Nope. Contrary to popular belief, a sponge or rag can actually be one of the dirtiest (and potentially bacteria-filled) things in your kitchen. When was the last time you sanitized your sponge? If your answer is never, then this is one easy step you can take towards better kitchen cleanliness. You’ll also still want to be replacing your sponge every week or two regardless. (You’re doing that, right?)
Not (properly) washing your hands
Hopefully most people are washing their hands before and after handling food. The real trickiness is in washing the hands correctly. No, a 5 second rinse in warm water doesn’t count. (I wish it did though.) To make sure no harmful bacteria survives on your hands, always wash using running warm water and a natural soap for no less than 20 seconds. It might seem like a pain, but it just might save you a trip to the hospital down the road.
Trying food to see if it has spoiled
This is another case of popular practice gone dangerous. Is that milk spoiled or not? Why not give it a taste test to find out? Well… there are actually a few good reasons not to. For one, the bacteria that causes food poisoning actually has no taste, so there’s no real way to know if what tastes fine really is so. In addition, by the time you taste to see, you’re already too late. Ingesting even a small amount of contaminated food can have some pretty serious consequences. Just stay on the safe side and toss what’s expired, or preserve food longer with natural preservatives.
Leaving cooked food out too long
So you made dinner and had a bit, but the pot is still warm. Is it time to put it in the fridge? Well… it still hasn’t cooled down yet… and what if I want some more later? Unfortunately, that’s the kind of thinking that can also give harmful bacteria the chance it needs to rapidly multiply in its room temperature sweet spot. Putting food in the fridge before the two-hour mark should prevent any problems.
Taking food out of the fridge to thaw
A close relative of #4, the logic (and the prevalence) for this sanitary problem is similar. As convenient as it is to leave food out where it’s warmer to help it thaw, that also exposes it to the same conditions that bacteria loves. Even if you end up cooking the food, your counter, plates, or hands will possibly be contaminated (are you washing your hands thoroughly?). To prevent this, just take frozen food out earlier and leave it in the fridge to thaw overnight.
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