After carefully maintaining hygienically clean surfaces in your kitchen, it’s essential to keep any kitchen utensils, dishes and equipment clean too, to help prevent them becoming a source of bacteria that could contaminate your food. Cleaning and, where necessary, disinfecting these items regularly will limit the chance of them gathering bacteria.
How do germs spread?
Germs can spread very quickly, either by preparing ready-to-eat food on surfaces contaminated by raw food or by using contaminated dishes and utensils to serve cooked food.
Cleaning your dishes and cooking utensils
Generally, direct food contact surfaces such as dishes and cooking utensils can be hygienically cleaned by washing with detergent and hot water, provided this is followed by thorough rinsing with clean water. Where there is a doubt about the quality of the water, antibacterial dish washing detergent can be used to clean the dishes, followed by rinsing in good quality water.
Disinfect your kitchen work surfaces
Fixed or large food preparation surfaces that cannot be rinsed thoroughly, such as kitchen benchtops or kitchen slabs, should be cleaned with your usual detergent, then disinfected with an antibacterial product that is proven to kill bacteria. This will help to reduce the risk of cross-contamination from one of the biggest hygiene hotspots in your kitchen.
Keep your sponges and scourers hygienically clean
It stands to reason that the sponges you use to wash dishes and surfaces should be clean; otherwise you’ll end up spreading bacteria throughout your entire kitchen. Try to change washing-up sponges once a week and disinfect them overnight to kill any lingering bacteria. You’d be surprised that within just a few hours, your damp cloth can breed millions of harmful bacteria, simply by sitting next to your sink.
A strict hygiene routine is even more important if you live in a hot, humid climate where bacteria multiply at an even faster rate.
Top tips for keeping your kitchen utensils hygienically clean
Follow these simple hygiene tips to help keep your kitchen hygienic.
- Disinfect washing-up brushes and sponges regularly
- Wash dishcloths at the hottest washing machine temperature or use disposable ones
- Mops and buckets should be cleaned, disinfected and dried every time you use them
- Wipe down all food preparation areas with food-safe disinfectant before and after every use
- Always use separate chopping boards for meat (especially poultry) and vegetables
- Scrub chopping boards, disinfect, wash and dry after every use
- Change wooden chopping boards regularly as they can harbour germs
- Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly after handling raw food, especially meat
- Clean floors regularly to remove food scraps and other debris as this can attract pests
- Don’t allow pets on to kitchen work surfaces
- Store pet food away from human food and use separate tin openers, bowls and cutlery
- Wash hands immediately after touching the rubbish bin – a foot pedal for opening/closing your bin is the most hygienic option.
- Make sure you dispose of food scraps and rubbish properly
- All cleaning chemicals should be stored away from the food preparation areas
- Ensure all food is cooked through properly before eating. This is especially important when re-heating leftover meals.
- If you don’t have access to clean running water, use an antibacterial washing up liquid or surface wipes