How to clean and disinfect your kitchen counter tops

By Jay Dee Infra In Home Decoration No comments

How to clean and disinfect your kitchen counter tops

Of all the rooms in your home, the kitchen, other than the bathrooms, is prone to get dirtier than the rest. Consequently, it is one place that needs more attention in keeping it clean, more so because this is where you cook your food.

Where there is food there is bacteria and this is a truism. Keeping your kitchen clean and proper handling of food are some of the ways in which you can help keep your family safe from infection and illness. Rotten food left exposed or in the fridge is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria.

The areas in your kitchen that come in direct contact with food should get your attention the most. Now which are these areas: Kitchen counter-tops, sinks and draining board. These should be thoroughly cleaned every time you use them and it may require cleaning more than once. Cutting vegetables and meat is mostly done on the counter tops or on the cutting board placed on the counter tops. So, before you engage in this exercise, you need to clean the surface well in order to prevent any contamination due to lizard droppings, ants or cockroaches prowling around and leaving a trail of the invisible bacteria.

Is cleaning the kitchen counter top enough?

Would it be enough to just take a rag or a kitchen or paper towel and wipe the area and believe that you have cleaned it? If you think that this should suffice then you must know that you are wrong. Even cleaning with warm water and soap will not be enough though it might help a little. You also need to disinfect it and prevent bacteria from lurking around to infect the food. Moist environments are ideal for the growth of bacteria, mold and fungus.

The first thing to do is to ensure that no food spills are left unattended on the counter top. No unattended spills, no bacteria. Clean and disinfect is what you need to do. These are complementary to each other. Cleaning will remove dirt and grime but disinfecting will eliminate the bacteria.

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If you are using a sponge to wipe and clean your counter tops ensure that you clean them after every use, dry them thoroughly between uses and replace them every couple of weeks. The best way to get rid of the bacteria that could reside in a used sponge is to put it into a microwave for a couple of minutes. Microwaving sponges kills 99.9 percent of bacteria. Cool the sponge before use. You can also sanitize sponges and dishrags using disinfectant or a bleach solution.

Use warm, soapy water to clean countertops and other kitchen surfaces before and after food preparation. But this will only clean the surface and this is not enough. You need to disinfect the surface area too. The dreaded salmonella, E coli and staphylococcus can survive on surfaces for hours and even days and often disinfecting the surfaces is better than just cleaning them.

Using bleach is another easy and natural way of cleaning the counter tops and is pretty effective in disinfecting the area. Here’s how you do it:

• Clean the countertops with warm soapy water thoroughly
• Make a solution with 2 ¼ cup of water and ¼ cup of household bleach.
• Wipe the counter tops with this solution and allow it to air dry.
• Wipe with a clean cloth or sponge.

You may also use vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to disinfect your countertops and other kitchen surfaces. Individually, they are good at killing germs naturally but when combined they become doubly effective. This is how do you do it:

• Take a dark coloured spray bottle and pour out hydrogen peroxide with strength of 3% (Do not use clear bottle as light can destroy the peroxide.)
• Fill a second spray bottle with white vinegar.
• Wash your countertops and other kitchen surface areas with soap and water.
• Spray the white vinegar over these areas followed immediately by spraying the hydrogen peroxide.

That is all you do. The smell of the vinegar will soon dissipate.

Caution: Never combine the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in a single spray bottle because vinegar will convert the hydrogen peroxide to pure water and it will lose its effectiveness. Never use or spray commercial disinfectants on or near food items.

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