Tips to Keep Your Kitchen Safe, Clean and Healthy

A family preparing food in the kitchen

 
The last thing we want for our family is getting them sick caused by kitchen germs. These include vomiting, fever and diarrhea. The hard part is that we cannot even see most of the germs that are growing in our food. Some don’t even change texture and color of a dish. So it is a must that the food we eat should be prepared as bacteria-safe as possible. By keeping our kitchen clean will not just make the kitchen look better, but also helps to improve the quality of health for our family and guests.
 

Tips on Keeping Your Kitchen Bacteria-Safe

 

Keep the cold foods cold

After you purchase meat, dairy foods, salad ingredients, vegetable, etc you should refrigerate them at or below 5°C (40°F) as soon as possible and don’t leave them in hot cars for too long.

By keeping foods in the refrigerator with temperature below 5°C will stop or makes food poisoning bacteria to grow slowly.

The temperature between 5°C – 60°C is the Temperature Danger Zone for food. Since in this zone, the food poisoning bacteria could grow to unsafe levels that could make people sick.

Your health is in your hands

Wash your hands in warm soapy water and let it dry for about 20 seconds before starting to cook. This should be repeated frequently especially when handling raw items such as meat and eggs, or vegetables with visible soil in it.

Keep cutting boards clean and in good condition

Clean your cutting boards by scrubbing it using hot water and detergent, and let it dry.

To prevent cross contamination, it is much easier to use 2 cutting boards – one for raw food only, while the other board is used for cooked food or ready to eat foods or breads.

Sanitizing Sponges

Sponges do not dry out between uses and this is a problem since the moisture will help harmful bacteria to multiply. So we have to clean and sanitize sponges to prevent this from happening.

To sanitize sponges, you can use a solution of ¼ to ½ teaspoon of bleach per quart of warm water. Then soak the sponge for 1 minute will do just fine.

If bleach isn’t available then you can also use your microwave to sanitize your sponges, except for sponges with metallic scrub pads which shouldn’t be sanitized using microwave. Completely wet the sponge and put it inside your microwave for about a minute on high. This will kill the bacteria, but make sure the sponge is completely wet to avoid catching fire in your microwave.

You can also use the dishwasher to clean and sanitize sponges.

Clean the kitchen regularly

Clean the kitchen counters and surfaces that may come in contact when preparing food. Use hot water and detergent or bleach, and water when cleaning. I prefer using a solution of bleach and water as it is more efficient in killing bacteria than using water and detergent in cleaning.

Keep kitchen floors clean by sweeping and mopping. Not only will it make kitchen floors free from debris or grease, it will also help prevent accidents such as trips or slips from happening and making it safer to work around the kitchen.

Organizing the Kitchen

You can divide your kitchen into sections such as:

  • Countertops – kitchen appliances and space for preparing food
  • Under countertops – pans, pots, etc
  • Cabinets – plates, glasses and fine china
  • Pantry – non-perishable food, spices, etc
  • Under the sink – cleaning supplies, chemicals, extra sponges, etc
  • Refrigerator – use different areas and compartments to divide your refrigerator by food groups

Defrosting frozen meat and poultry

It is best to use the defrost function in microwave when defrosting meat or poultry, then cook immediately. You can also defrost frozen meat or poultry inside the fridge (taking it our from the freezer, but still inside the fridge) even if it does take a while. Since bacteria loves to grow if you defrost with water in the sink, bacteria will get into the water and will contaminate the sink and kitchen.

What to do with leftover foods

You should refrigerate leftover foods after the meal (as long as it stops steaming) and not leaving leftovers to cool on the kitchen bench.

You should consume the refrigerated leftover foods within 2-3 days.

Leftovers should be reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit to kill harmful bacteria.

 

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