Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday's Household Assignment- Germs in the Kitchen- Let's get'em!!!

The kitchen may be the heart of the home but it is also the home to over half of the top 10 germ hotspots in a home.

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program to bring you this very important message:
I highly recommend using a mild chlorine bleach solution for sanitizing serfaces in your kitchen and entire home. There are some people that will disagree with using bleach because they think that it is too toxic.  I disagree! Any chemist will tell you that 95% to 98% of chlorine bleach breaks down into harmless water and salt when it reacts with germs and surfaces. A weak bleach solution is the safest thing you can use to sanitize and kill germs in your home. For more info go to American Chemistry. This is my educated opinion and and if your's differs, please use a substite disinfectant.
We now return you to your program! 

Here are the germiest spots in your kitchen and how to deal with them.   

Your Kitchen Sponges, Dishcloths, scrubbers and dish brushes- The items that we use to wipe down our counters and scrub our dishes is actually the most germ laden item in a home unless you deal with it carefully. The figures show that there are 250,000 bacteria per square inch of these sponges and washcloths.  Becuase we use them to wipe up spills and they stay damp all the time they become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Food and damp= Germs  
Ways to deal with these items.
  •  Every Morning pull out a clean, dry sponge or dishcloth.
To properly clean a sponge or dishcloth do one of the following:
  • Wash them in the washing machine with hot water and some bleach then dry them completely. 
  • Microwave them by getting them soaking wet, place into a microwave safe dish and heating on high for 3 minutes. Let cool before touching.  
  • Soak all these items in a solution of  2 quarts of hot water and 1/4 cup bleach.  Let sit for 10 minutes then remove to let dry. 
  • Run your sponges, scrubbers and brushes through the dishwasher cycle with a heated drying cycle enabled. Keep items seperate from dishes. 
  • Use paper towels when cleaning up any raw meat juices to prevent cross contamination. 

    The Kitchen Sink: You might think that your bathrooms is dirty, but the kitchen sink is dirtier.  Germs grow where food gets trapped.  From the drain, to the faucet handles and the sink itself germs can grow.
    Ways to deal with this area.
    • Daily:  Use a mild bleach solution. Mix two tablespoons of chlorine bleach with a quart of water in a spray bottle. I mix up a new batch every other day. Each night before bed, scrub the sink  down with soap and water, rinsing well. Then throw your sponges or dishrags into the laundry or soak them in a bleach solution. Once this is done, spray down the sink and faucet with your bleach solution, don't forget the rims. Don't rinse it just leave it to dry. 
    • Twice a week.  Mix 1/4 cup of bleach with 2 quarts of water and pour this solution down the drain. Turn the garbage disposal on for 2 quick pulses. Don't run the water just leave the bleach solution in there to sanitize it.   
    Your Cutting BoardIf you think that there are more bacteria on a toilet seat than on your cutting board, you'd be wrong! There are actually 200 times more bacteria on an average cutting board than on a toilet seat. Because of the salmonella and E. coli in raw meats, your cutting board harbors lots of bacteria.  There are no great advantages of plastic cutting boards over wooden ones because plastic boards are easier to clean and disinfect but wood boards have natural antibacterial proporties to them. Deep grooves and cut marks on a board are the best hiding places so of yours are too cut up, throw them out there are too many hiding places for germs.
    Ways to deal with these items.
    •  Invest in different cutting boards for veggies, bread and meat. I have a red board for meats, a green one for veggies and a wooden one for bread.  Glass and plastic which are best for meats because juices don’t seep into the material.  To clean a plastic board, Plastic boards throw it in the dishwasher. If you use a wooden board pour your with bleach solution on the top of it and allowed to sit for three to five minutes before rinsing and then air dry.

    Surfaces that you touch often: Silverware drawer handle, the fridge door handle, light switches, dishwasher handle, 
    and microwave buttons.
    Every time you tough something you leave germs from your hands behind on that surface.  Germ can  live on these hard surfaces for a day or more infect other people when they touch them. In college when I took second year Microbiology, we had to take swabs of different surfaces. We could choose anyplaces we wanted to and there was a prize for the person who found the dirtiest spot on campus. I took samples of the toilet seat- pretty clean, a doorknob- pretty dirty, and the keys on the grand piano in my dorm's formal living room (my dorm was built in 1905). Yep, the piano keys won the prize out of both sections of the class. The combination was perfect, lots of people touching it and never cleaned  with a disinfectant.
    How to deal with these items:
    • Hand washing is your best line of defense. To really get your hands clean you have to sing Happy Birthday twice while you wash them. It is actually not the water, it is the friction that gets the most germs off of your hands. Make sure to wash well, as soo as you get home from being out of the house, after going to the bathroom, before and after preparing food, after you sneeze, cough or shake hands.  
    • At least 2 to 3 times a week spray down all of the surfaces in the kitchen with your bleach solutions and let it sit for a minute before whiping dry. You can also use disinfecting wipes on these surfaces as well.  
     The rule of thumb is the more it is touched, the more it needs cleaning. 
    If you get in the habit of a quick spray and wipe down of surfaces each day or at least a couple of times a week you will have a safer and healthier kitchen.

    This is the first in a 4 part series.
    Part 2 - Tomorrow- Germs in public places
    Part 3- Wednesday- how to prevent infections from spreading to your entire family when one person gets sick.  
    Part 4 Next Monday will deal with other germ hotspot in your home

    1 comment:

    FRANNIE said...

    I like the different colored cutting board technique. I think I'm going to give that a try :).