We may think that our kitchens are squeaky clean, especially with all the sanitizing we've been doing during the coronavirus lockdown. But experts say the room where we prepare our food can be a lot dirtier than it should be. The dirtiest places in your kitchen are the ones we overlook during routine cleaning.
"Kitchens get dirty because they're often the busiest spots in our homes," Georgia Dixon of Grove Collaborative told Well + Good. "Meal prep leaves lingering crumbs and bits of food that attract bacteria, mold, and pests, so giving this area a little love and attention is well worth the extra time spent."
Sanitizing your countertops, especially when you bring home groceries, is always a good idea. But here are other areas that could use a little TLC.
- Sinks. The kitchen sink is one of the dirtiest offenders, say experts. "This spot gets dirty because we're constantly using it to wash dishes and our hands," noted Dixon. She added that dirty drains can be breeding grounds for insects and "faucets can be a hotspot for bacteria or viruses." Recommendation: Use an abrasive cleaner like Bon Ami cleaner or Bar Keeper's Friend to scour the sink. Pour a baking soda and vinegar solution down the drain regularly.
- Microwave and oven. Splattered food and grease can make your oven or microwave a mess. Recommendation: Clean the microwave daily with soap and water and leave the door ajar to release any built-up odors, according to Well + Good. For the oven, it's best to use a time-lapsed cleaning solution that you can leave overnight to degrease the interior.
- Refrigerator. The most offensive areas in our refrigerators are the produce drawers, said Dixon, who added that they can harbor mold — which travels quickly throughout the appliance. Recommendation: Wipe fridge spills immediately and remove all of the contents monthly to thoroughly clean all areas and crevices with a mild solution of dish detergent and water. Real Simple suggests checking expiration dates on the products in the fridge and tossing out those that are no longer safe.
- Stovetop. Food prepared on the stovetop can boil over, splatter, and leave grimy grease stuck to the surface. Grease attracts everything from dust to pet hair, said experts quoted in Well + Good, so it is essential to remove debris often. Recommendation: Use a degreasing agent like Simple Green or Easy-Off Kitchen Degreaser, and remove burners if applicable, taking care to wipe down all buttons and knobs on the stovetop as well as the backsplash and hood.
- Floor. Kitchen floors should be scrubbed weekly because they can accumulate lots of dirt, dust, and grease from food spills and daily traffic. Recommendation: Wipe spills quickly and use a broom to sweep away crumbs and other debris daily. Real Simple suggests using an electro-static duster like a Swiffer Sweeper to get right up to the baseboards and under the cabinet where crumbs congregate. Pull out appliances to reach spaces near the wall. Once a week, mop the floors with your favorite cleaning solution or use a steam cleaner. Dump the dirty water down the toilet or outside, but never in the sink.
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