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Nowadays, having a disinfected kitchen has never been more important. Also, disinfecting your kitchen is a lot different than making it clean. A clean kitchen might not be free of germs and bacteria. In order to maintain a safe environment, you need to go beyond cleaning and make sure you properly disinfect your kitchen.
How to Disinfect Your Kitchen Countertops, Appliances, and Surfaces
You might be in the habit of wiping countertops down after cooking, or spraying a solution on your appliances every now and again. And, while this is helpful for keeping the crumbs at bay and the dirt to a minimum, none of that actually disinfects your kitchen surfaces.
For example, a recent study found that your kitchen sink might actually be dirtier than your kitchen sink! So, lets get to work disinfecting!
Prepare Your Solution
According the CDC, a diluted bleach solution or an alcohol based solution are the two best options for disinfecting surfaces from germs. Other, over-the-counter produced solutions might also do the trick. But there is no better way to ensure you’re using a valid disinfect than to make one yourself.
Bleach with Water
Bleach is an age old cleaning solution, and there is no better go-to for your kitchen than this. However, make sure you water it down first!
The CDC recommends using a mixture of 1/3 cup bleach for every gallon of water. Now, if you’re thinking to yourself that you don’t need a gallon of disinfectant for your kitchen, that makes sense. A good rule of thumb is 1 part bleach for 10 parts water.
Mix this together in a spray bottle that has measuring units on the side, making it very easy to tell the ratios. For this spray bottle pictured, we use 3 ounces of bleach, and then fill the bottle up to the 32 ounce fill line.
Another great option is to use rubbing alcohol. Whether or not you water it down comes down to what kind of strength you use.
You can buy rubbing alcohol at 70% strength and 91% strength. If you pick up the 70% option, then you’ll want to use it straight without any watering down. The 91% rubbing alcohol can be watered down, but only a little.
The key is that you don’t want the overall alcohol content dropping below 70% – that is the amount required to kill germs and bacteria.
Either a bleach based or alcohol based solution will work! Once you’ve mixed your solution, you’re ready to get started!
You might be tempted to dive right in and start disinfecting, but it will be a lot more effective if you take the time to clear all of your countertops first.
Bacteria can easily get under and behind things that commonly sit on your counters, so its best to start with a clean slate. This will allow your efforts to get maximum benefit.
Before disinfecting, wipe all surfaces down with soap and water. This will make the surfaces free of dirt and debris.
With cleared countertops, disinfecting is actually pretty easy. All you need to do is spray your solution thoroughly on every countertop surface.
Make sure you don’t have any windows open or fans on. The solution you are spraying is very fine, and you don’t want it being driven all over your kitchen.
If you’re using bleach, you also don’t want to be in your favorite clothes. Even though the mixture is diluted, its best not to be in something you like.
Try not to get the solution on any painted surfaces, and make sure to thoroughly cover all areas. One way to tell if you’d done this is to lean down and catch the light on the countertop – you should be able to see any spots you’ve missed.
Make sure to let the solution sit on the countertop for at least 10 minutes! After that, you can rinse the surfaces off with warm water.
Clean the Sink
Fill your sink up with warm water and adding a few capfuls of bleach. Let that sit for awhile, and use the liquid to scrub the sides of your sink.
Scrub the faucet and handles and other side of the sink (if you have a double sink). Make sure to let all of it sit for at least 10 minutes before draining and rinsing.
Bonus: Have you ever considered putting a foam and rubber kitchen mat at your feet while you clean? You feet will thank you at the end of the day!
With the countertops and sink drying, its time to move on to the appliances. Believe it or not, you touch appliances a lot throughout an average week in your kitchen. Its important to clean these thoroughly.
For stainless steel, you can spray you solution directly on the appliance. Other plastics should be fine too, such as your microwave.
Most appliances have some nooks and crannies, and you’ll want to use a rag to clean these. Just pour a little of the solution onto a rag (that you don’t mind being permanently altered in color)!
While you have the solution on your rag, go around and wipe down all handles, knobs, and light fixtures in the kitchen!
Disinfect Individual Items
Its time to step back and take stock. Every kitchen is different – what items have you missed? You probably know from cleaning your kitchen before. Perhaps you have a vase on display or a dish drying rack? All of this needs to be disinfected as well.
These can often take the longest, as they are often awkward in shape and size. Spray where you can, making sure to use the rag to get inaccessible areas.
Don’t stop at just disinfecting surfaces and appliances in your kitchen! Here are a few additional tips to keeping germs and bacteria at bay where you cook and eat.
Wash Hands Frequently
Before you cook and before you eat, you need to wash your hands. This is one of the best practices to get into and will help ensure you don’t spread germs you’ve picked up elsewhere into your food.
Make sure you are scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and warm water.
Don’t do a cursory wash, but really scrub your hands, fingers, and under your fingernails. You need to put some effort into it!
Wash Fruits and Vegetables
You don’t know what has traveled with the fruit and veggies you’ve picked up, and its important to wash them thoroughly, just like your hands.
Use warm water and soap, and scrub the fruit or veggie. Make sure to do this prior to peeling or cutting.
Clean Your Cleaning Devices
That sponge you use to scrub the dishes? That rag you use to wipe down the table and countertops? They get dirt and full of bacteria too, and you need to make sure that they get their fair share of cleaning.
Believe it or not, sponges are best cleaned by putting them in the microwave and running it for two and a half minutes. Put the rag in the dishwasher every time you run it, or send it through a cycle in the washing machine.
Now that you know how important it is to not just clean your kitchen, but to also disinfect it, you’ll be equipped to embrace a truly clean kitchen!