How Clean Is Your Kitchen?
Is the toilet seat cleaner than your sink?
The kitchen sink should be one of the cleanest areas of your home but it is often the dirtiest. In a recent episode of the BBC programme, 'The Food Inspectors' presenter Chris Hollins teamed up with food inspector Ben Milligan to drop in on an unsuspecting family at meal time. They carried out the kind of tests usually reserved for commercial restaurants and demonstrated to the householder's horror that the toilet seat in the family home was actually cleaner than the kitchen sink.
The food inspector used an ATP monitor, a tool used for rapid hygiene assessments, to assess the cleanliness of kitchen surfaces. A reading of over 1000 on an ATP monitor indicates a potential risk of food poisoning. The area under the kitchen sponge was measured at 1547.
A reading taken for comparison from a toilet seat in the family home registered 584. The toilet seat was significantly cleaner than the kitchen sink. It appears that this is not uncommon and is a familiar scenario to food hygienists. The food inspector describes it as 'a famous statistic'.
Dangers lurking in the kitchen sponge
You may think you have cleaned your kitchen effectively but how clean is your kitchen? Unless you are careful you could be just spreading the germs and bacteria around.
The inspector didn't take a reading from the sponge itself, only from the surface underneath.
The moist micro crevices and holes in a kitchen sponge mean that there can be hundreds of thousands of bacteria per square inch. Your kitchen sponge may be carrying Salmonella and E Coli. If you then use it to wipe down work surfaces you are spreading the germs across surfaces that will be used for the preparation of food.
The Sink Drain
Another source of potential problems is the sink drain. Around the bend of your plumbing is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, mold and mildew. The drain can be a source of pathogens that can make their way back into the sink contaminating anything you put there.
How to clean your kitchen
Use kitchen roll instead of sponges or dish cloths.
If you must use a sponge or dishcloth make sure it is thoroughly washed and rung out after each use.
Rinse the sink out after every use. Use a proprietary cleaner and dry thoroughly using kitchen towels. Check with manufacturer's instructions to choose the most appropriate cleaner for your sink.
End each day with a clear, clean kitchen sink and drainer. Don't leave things overnight in the sink to soak.
Once a week disinfect the sink by filling it with warm water and adding a capful of bleach. Clean around the plug and overflow using a brush.
Work around taps, plug and overflow with a good limescale remover.
Pour boiling water down the sink drain at least once a week. Use a capful of bleach to make sure the drain is effectively cleared.