1. The Sink
No matter how clean it looks, kitchen sinks often play host to a variety of illness-causing bacteria like E.coli and salmonella. These can cling onto the faucet, drain system and surface, and multiply when combined with food waste and water.
What to do: Always clean the sink after rinsing and preparing raw meat and vegetables in it, and spray it down with a disinfectant once a week.
2. Sponges And Dish Towels
Yes, these are used for cleaning up spills and food remnants, as well as for washing the dishes, but this means that dirt gets transferred to them instead. Without proper sanitation, they can become overloaded with disease-causing germs. And if you don’t swap them out often, you’re basically spreading bacteria around the kitchen!
What to do: Replace dishcloths regularly, and throw sponges away after using for about two weeks. Dry them out well and avoid leaving them soaked in one spot for too long.
READ MORE: 10 Time-Saving And Easy Cleaning Hacks For A Shiny, Spotless Kitchen
3. Chopping Boards
Plastic or wooden, chopping (or cutting) boards are where germs easily lurk in due to the many grooves and cavities from all that knifework.
What to do: Always use a separate cutting board for raw meat/seafood and fresh produce to avoid cross-contamination. Wash the board(s) in hot water and make sure to dry it well.
READ MORE: Kitchen Hack: 5 Ways To Use Lemons To Get Rid Of Bad Odours
You touch fridge handles, stove knobs and even the light switch multiple times a day, especially when cooking, so imagine all the bacteria it racks up over time! And they’re often forgotten when it comes to cleaning.
What to do: Avoid touching them right after you’ve handled raw meat or unwashed produce, and wipe them with disinfectant regularly, paying extra attention to the insides of handles and the edges.
5. Fridge Drawers
Dark and moist, the meat and vegetable compartments in the fridge are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria. Add to that accidental spills and raw juices from seafood and meat, which can contaminate other ingredients, and you’ve got a hotbed of microbes like Salmonella, yeast and mold.
What to do: Wipe up any spillage immediately, throw out anything that’s expired or spoiled and use liners to help make future cleanups easier.
READ MORE: 21 Storage Tips To Make Your Groceries In The Fridge Last Longer
6. Reusable Grocery Bags
Those eco-friendly cloth bags you carry to the supermarket? They actually contain harmful E.coli from absorbing juices and getting contaminated from unwashed groceries.
What to do: Use washable cotton bags and soak them in hot water at least once a week or after every use.
READ MORE: Do You Know These Places Where Germs Hide? Number 3 Will Surprise You
Photo: Project Green Bag / Etsy
7. Small Appliances And Tools
From blenders to can openers, food residue tends to accumulate in the grooves and hard-to-clean areas if they’re not properly washed after use.
What to do: If it’s something like a blender or food processor, disassemble the gadget and make sure to really get into the difficult areas to remove any residual food stuff. For utensils and can openers, clean thoroughly and let dry before stowing them away.
8. Coffee Machine
You might be brewing more than coffee – microorganisms like yeast and mold can grow and multiply quickly in the water chamber if left sitting idle for too long. Not only that, mold can make your coffee taste bad.
What to do: Remove wet coffee grounds after every use and wash the carafe, lid and filter basket daily in warm water. Dry well. Deep clean the machine once a month by filling the water chamber with white vinegar and water and letting it brew.
READ MORE: Everything You Need To Know About Getting Your Own Coffee Machine
The heat might kill some germs, but most of the time, your microwave most likely isn’t turned on. Germs thrive in dark, moist environments, and can multiply faster when there are food particles lying around.
What to do: Always cover food before microwaving to minimise splatter and prevent the growth of microbes. An easy way to clean a microwave is to combine water, lemon and vinegar, then heat on high for a few minutes. This helps the hardened food particles dislodge so you can wipe them away easily.