How to Properly Sanitize Your Kitchen: Food Safety Tips & Tricks

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Keeping your kitchen properly sanitized is imperative if you want you and your family to remain healthy. There are several measures that you need to take in order to ensure that your kitchen is germ-free before, during, and after meal preparation. If you properly sanitize your kitchen, you will be able to better prevent food-borne illnesses and food contamination.

Wash Your Hands

Your kitchen sanitation practices will require that you wash your hands before you begin handling your food. Use an antibacterial hand soap or regular hand washing soap and warm water. Make sure you wash your hands for at least two to three minutes to kill off any germs on your hands. Many food-borne illnesses can be shared via poor hand-washing practices. Later, after sanitizing your cooking utensils and surface areas, you will want to repeat your hand-washing practices to ensure that your hands remain germ-free.

Your Kitchen Sink

You will want to make sure that your faucet is clean if you plan on rinsing any food off; germs and bacteria can accumulate on the faucet and can get in the water you use to rinse your food, as it flows through the tip of the faucet. It’s a good idea to wipe down the faucet with an antibacterial cleaner or some bleach to eliminate any potential food contamination. You will also want to scrub down your skin basin with an appropriate antibacterial cleanser or bleach to prevent the spread of germs. Be sure to clean your sink and your dishes with sanitized dish clothes, too: wash the dish clothes in a washing machine with laundry detergent, and don’t use wet dish clothes that have been lying around for several hours to clean the sink. The dish cloth may dry out, but it can also form unseen mildew, which can be transferred to the items you clean.

Surface Areas and Your Dishes

Countertops and cutting boards need to be thoroughly wiped down when sanitizing the area before food preparation and handling. After you have cleaned your hands, you can work on wiping down the countertops with a sanitized dish cloth and an antibacterial cleaner appropriate for kitchen surfaces. You can also sanitize your cutting boards by washing them with a mild dish soap and warm water. You should then mix one quart of hot water with a teaspoon of bleach to sanitize your plastic and wooden cutting boards to ensure that they are germ-free. This same technique can be used to clean and sanitize any dishes and silverware that you plan to use: wash them in hot, soapy water and then put them in the bleach/water sanitizing mixture. Allow items to sit in the sanitizer for at least a minute, before rinsing them off with cold water.

Proper Food Handling

To keep your foods clean and free of germs, make sure that you use a separate cutting board for cutting up raw meats and another cutting board for your fresh vegetables: this helps prevent issues with cross-contamination. Never use a cutting board that has not been cleaned before placing your food on it; bacteria can get trapped in the crevices of the board and transfer to your food. Finally, make sure that you thoroughly rinse fruits and vegetables under cold water to help remove any pesticides that might be on the food: do not use soaps or detergents on your fresh produce, and use a produce cleaning brush to scrub the service of fruits like melons. Use a paper towel to dry off your produce after cleaning to eliminate remaining bacteria.

Resources

FDA US Food and Drug Administration for information about food borne illnesses at:

https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm103263.htm

FDA Center for Food and Applied Nutrition for Hand Washing Safety at:

https://www.foodsafety.gov/~dms/fsehandw.html

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service for information on Food and Sanitation at:

https://www.foodsafety.gov/~fsg/fs-apart.html

FDA US Food and Drug Administration for information about sanitizing vegetables at:

https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm114299