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Keep Your Kitchen Squeaky Clean with These Germ-Killing Tips

A woman and man wearing rubber gloves and cleaning a kitchen.
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where delicious meals are carefully crafted, and then shared with those you love. You can keep your favorite room in the house super-clean with these tips!

Right now, it’s especially crucial to understand how and when we need to clean and disinfect a high-traffic area. Believe it or not, the kitchen is typically the room that has the most germs. Let’s look at some ways we can keep it clean during the current health crisis (and beyond).

Clean, Then Disinfect

While the words “cleaning” and “disinfecting” are often used interchangeably, they each have a distinct purpose and different meanings.

Cleaning is the first step to prevent the spread of germs. It’s the act of physically removing dirt and most bacteria from a surface. To clean a surface, all you need is some soap and water, and a cloth or scrub brush.

After you clean a surface, rinse the area with clean water. This ensures there will be as little as possible between the disinfectant and the surface.

Next, you disinfect the area, which will help destroy any remaining germs that might cause disease. Leave the surface wet for as long as the instructions indicate or simply let the cleaner air-dry. The time-on-surface is called contact time, and it’s vital you adhere to it.

Products that Might Kill Coronavirus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you use EPA-registered disinfectants on frequently touched areas.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided a preapproved list of products you can use to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Make sure you use the products correctly—follow all directions on the container. If you have questions, call the company or distributor.

The following are a few of the EPA-approved products you might already have under your kitchen sink:

  • Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner + Bleach
  • Clorox Commercial Solutions 4-in-One Disinfectant and Sanitizer
  • Lysol Bleach Multipurpose Cleaner
  • Lysol Disinfectant Spray
  • Pine GLO Antibacterial Kitchen and Bathroom Cleaner and Disinfectant
  • PURELL Foodservice Surface Sanitizer

You can also use diluted household bleach solutions, or solutions that contain at least 70 percent alcohol on appropriate surfaces. Again, just be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper ventilation and application.

Sanitize Frequently Touched Areas

The CDC also recommends that you clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces every day. Every kitchen has a unique set of appliances and objects, so identify which areas are touched most often and could use a daily wipe down.

The following are some of the most common hot spots:

  • Sink and faucet
  • Fridge and oven doors
  • Toaster and toaster oven
  • Pressure cooker
  • Cupboard and drawer handles and knobs
  • Coffeepot
  • Microwave
  • Door handles
  • Light switches
  • Countertops

Sanitize Counters Several Times a Day

The countertop is where most of us eat snacks and prepare meals, and it’s also where a lot of random odds and ends land throughout the day.

In most homes, the countertop and dining room table attract germs faster than anywhere else. So, be sure to clean and disinfect these areas more than once per day, and follow the cleaning guidelines we provided above.

Never Combine Cleaning Products

There’s a temporary shortage of cleaning products in many areas thanks to the surge in buying due to the coronavirus. As tempting as it might be to mix any cleaners you might already have, it can be very dangerous to do so. Not only could it irritate your skin or eyes, but it could also cause respiratory problems.

Most cleaning products are effective on their own, but mixing chemicals can be toxic, or even lethal in some cases, so avoid doing this.

Wash Reusable Grocery Bags

A woman's hands holding a cloth grocery sack next to a counter covered in unloaded groceries.
Sean Locke Photography/Shutterstock

Before you set those reusable grocery bags on the counter, think about where they’ve just been. From the trunk of your car to the public grocery cart, into the hands of a stranger, and then back to your home.

Do yourself (and your family) a favor, and make their final destination the washing machine.

Air Out Your Kitchen

Unless local guidelines instruct otherwise, opening your kitchen windows to let in some fresh air should be safe. Doing so will not only boost the indoor oxygen levels and clear carbon dioxide (always a good thing), but it will also help lower the particulate levels that build up when you cook.

Plus, if you disinfect surfaces a few times every day, inhaling all those chemicals isn’t ideal. Airing out the kitchen will help vent the vapors from different cleaners. It’ll also ensure that once they do their job, their smell doesn’t linger and irritate your lungs.

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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