When you’re shaking off the winter with spring cleaning, it’s a great time to target harmful bacteria that can lurk on kitchen surfaces and even in your refrigerator. Salmonella, Staphyloccus, E. coli and Listeria are just some of the bacteria that may be hanging out in your kitchen. While you can’t see or smell bacteria (foodborne bacteria) they are everywhere, and they especially like moist environments. A clean and dry kitchen helps fight bacteria and protect you and your family from foodborne illness.

Know the Difference – Clean vs. Sanitize

It’s important to know the difference between cleaning and sanitizing. They aren’t the same thing. Both are important to help prevent the spread of harmful germs.

  • Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
  • Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects. This process works by disinfecting surfaces or objects using a diluted liquid chlorine bleach solution (combine 1 tablespoon liquid chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of water in a clean bucket).

When You Should Clean

  • To remove dried food and spills from countertops
  • To remove food from a stove top
  • Wipe down interior refrigerator surfaces with hot water and soap

When You Should Sanitize

  • Someone sneezed all over your countertop.
  • Someone sick touched your refrigerator door handle or faucet.
  • Raw meat juice spilled on countertop, stove, sink, floor or in refrigerator.
  • Raw meat touched a countertop, stove top, sink, utensil or cutting board or shelf in your refrigerator.

Some cleaning tips you should practice year-round to make your kitchen and your meals safer include:

  • Your counters may look clean, but bacteria may be hiding all over your kitchen.  Always clean surfaces thoroughly with hot water and soap. After thoroughly washing surfaces with hot water and soap, you can sanitize them with a diluted chlorine bleach solution or a disinfectant kitchen cleaner. Let the solution stand on the surface for several minutes, then rinse with cold water and air dry or pat dry with fresh paper towels.
  • Kitchen towels and sponges provide a moist environment for bacteria to grow.  Consider using paper towels to clean up kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine. If you use kitchen sponges, replace them frequently.
  • Rid your fridge of spills, bacteria, mold, and mildew. Clean your refrigerator weekly to kill germs that could contaminate foods. To tackle bacteria, mold and mildew, clean interior refrigerator surfaces with hot water and soap. Rinse with a damp cloth; dry with a clean cloth.
  • Clean your kitchen sink, drain and disposal once or twice a week with warm water and soap.  Disinfect your drain and disposal by pouring in a solution of 3/4 teaspoon chlorine bleach per quart of water.
  • Microwaves need regular cleaning as well.  Heat a microwave-safe bowl filled with water on high for approximately 4 minutes. Remove bowl and use hot water and dish soap to wipe down the microwave interior.  Dry with a fresh paper towel.

Source:  www.fightbac.org