As governments begin to ease restrictions and allow more businesses to open their doors to the public, the need for physical distancing and proper sanitization procedures remains critical to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Retail stores will be required to limit the number of people that can be in the store at the same time while restaurants must sanitize tables and chairs as customers leave and before new guests can be seated.
A similar level of care should be taken at home as well, with special attention being paid to the kitchen. Not only is this where food is prepared, but it’s also where families tend to gather. Here are 7 tips you can use to reduce the spread of germs in your kitchen and help keep your family safe.
1. Kitchen sponges
When it comes to spreading germs, the ordinary kitchen sponge is a leading source of contamination. A damp sponge is the perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria and if you use the same sponge to wipe down countertops and appliances, germs can be transferred to different surfaces in your kitchen.
As a replacement for the old-fashioned sponge, consider switching to silicone sponges and scrubbers. Silicone is non-porous and is less susceptible to bacteria and can be easily cleaned after each use.
2. Dishcloths and hand towels
Like sponges, dishcloths and hand towels can also harbour germs. To help reduce the spread of germs and other contaminants, wash your dishcloths and towels frequently and when drying in a clothes dryer, be sure to use high heat.
3. Kitchen sink
The taps and drain of your kitchen sink provide excellent places for germs to hide. You can sanitize your sink with disinfectant following the manufacturer’s instructions, or for a homemade alternative to commercial cleaners, simply fill the sink with hot water and add a little bleach. Let sit for a few minutes before draining and allow to air dry.
4. Cutting boards
As the surface of your cutting board becomes scarred with use, the small cracks and cuts provide places for germs to hide. Again, you can use a disinfectant or a bleach solution to kill these germs.
Keep in mind also that your cutting board can come into contact with different foods, and this means you run the risk of food cross-contamination. It’s a good idea to have more than one cutting board so that you can dedicate one cutting board exclusively for raw meats and poultry. This will help reduce the likelihood of cross-contamination.
5. Can openers
Every time you use a can opener, the blade of the opener comes in contact with the can’s contents. If you just toss the can opener back in a drawer without cleaning it, you provide bacteria an opportunity to grow and risk transferring germs to the next can you open.
To prevent this potential contamination, you should clean your can opener with soap or a disinfectant after each use. Pay particular attention to the blade and other parts of the opener that come into close contact with the food in the can.
6. Reusable shopping bags
Reusable shopping bags, especially those made from cotton, are also potential sources of cross-contamination. Juices from fresh meats and poultry can lead to bacteria and germs that can then infect other goods carried in your bag.
You can reduce the possibility of your cloth shopping bag spreading germs by regular washing. Simply hand-wash in hot soapy water or if machine-washable, throw in with your regular laundry.
7. Fresh fruit and vegetables
Fresh fruit and vegetables may seem an unlikely source of contamination but for some produce such as apples and other fruit with hard surfaces, it is possible for germs to be transferred to other food items. You should wash produce with cold, running water before eating and for fresh vegetables like potatoes and carrots, use a scrub brush to remove dirt and other contaminants prior to cutting and cooking.