A kitchen plays host to a variety of germs and bacteria and a superficial cleaning will not help eliminate them. Here are some tips on how to make it hygienically clean.

The kitchen is the perfect place to rustle up delicious meals. But few are aware that kitchen is also the place that sees a proliferation of hazardous germs and bacteria. This may sound odd since the kitchen is considered to be one of the cleanest spots in the house. In fact, disease-causing microbes cannot be warded off with a superficial cleaning alone. What it needs is hygienic cleaning.

This ensures that all germs and microbes are killed thereby preserving and promoting health. Those who believe that a superficial cleaning of utensils, dishes, food preparation areas like cutting boards and other kitchen articles is sufficient need a rethink.

Don’t go by the look of the kitchen. Just because it looks clean and spotless does not mean it is hygienically clean. A non-disinfected kitchen harbours the same disease-causing bacteria like E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus as a non-disinfected toilet .

In 2011, a survey to assess the level of cross contamination in the kitchen when food is handled, prepared and stored came up with some alarming findings:

Swabbed kitchen cloths were heavily contaminated with E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

Kitchen taps failed a basic hygiene test, with 85 per cent found to be contaminated with E. coli.

Fridge interiors were highly contaminated with bacteria.

Most Indians used plain water to clean their chopping boards.

Commonly touched surfaces in the kitchen such as dustbin lid, soap dispenser, mobile and radio buttons were also contaminated, posing a risk of cross-contamination. Infection-causing bacteria can spread from raw meat and vegetables during food preparation directly on to chopping/cutting boards, utensils, clothes and other foods increasing the risk of causing food-borne illness.

The survey revealed that 90 per cent of surfaces touched during food preparation become contaminated but good hygiene practices can reduce the level of cross-contamination to 16 per cent.

Cross-contamination can easily occur in the kitchen and therefore it is imperative to maintain kitchen hygiene to minimise the incidence of food-borne infections.

Washing hands regularly after working in the kitchen is one important way to ensure hygiene.

The same kind of hygiene and disinfection is required in the kitchen. Ensure that each article that comes in direct contact with one’s hands or the food that one eats should not just be cleaned but also disinfected.

Quick tips:

What to do

Wash hands before cooking or after handling raw foods.

Clean and disinfect preparation areas regularly.

Disinfect drying towels, reusable cloths and sponges regularly.

Disinfect the kitchen sink daily.

What not to do

Don’t keep dirty soiled utensils in the sink for too long.

Don’t wipe kitchen surfaces with a soiled cloth.

Don’t reuse cleaning cloths and sponges without disinfecting them.