The germiest place in your house

March 10, 2008

“Kitchen sinks are dirtier than most bathrooms,” says Kelly Reynolds, PhD, an environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona. There are typically more than 500,000 bacteria per sqaure inch in the drain. In fact, in a recent study, half of the top 10 germiest spots in the home were in the kitchen. That sponge you use to clean the counter? Crawling with bacteria, as are the sink’s basin and faucet handles.

Reduce the risk:

“Clean your kitchen counters and sink with an antibacterial product after preparing or rinsing food, especially anything raw, which can carry lots of lots of potential pathogens like salmonella, campylobactor, and Ecoli,” says Tom Tierno, PhD, author of The Secret Life of Germs and director of clinical microbiology at New York University Medical Center.

Sanitize sponges by running them through the dishwasher. “That killed 99.9 percent of the bacteria on the sponges we used in a recent study-and we’d gotten them good and contaminated first, ” says Cheryl Mudd, a microbiologist with the Agricultural Research Service’s Food safety laboratory.

As for the sink, clean it twice a week with a solution of one tablespoon chlorine bleach and one quart of water. Scrub the basin and then pour the solution down the drain.

You can also sanitize counters with a mixture of cold water and chlorine bleach.  Mix 3/4 cup bleach with a gallon of water.  Spray the mixture on your counters and let it stand for at least 30 seconds.  Utensils, cutting boards, and dish cloths can also be sanitized in the solution.

Source: Health magazine, November 2007


2 Responses to “The germiest place in your house”

  1. Saara Says:

    Sounds like a fine solution if you’re running a lab kitchen! 🙂

    Firstly, dispense of the sponge completely. Certainly a scrubby sponge can be used for the occasional tough job, but for the reasons mentioned, it’s not a good idea for daily use (dishwashing and counters). A scrub brush will take care of the dishes and a dish rag that is replaced daily works for the counters. A vinegar-water solution is sufficient.

    I do keep a mild bleach-water solution in a spray bottle for use if there is some sort of contamination. “Anything raw” is not it. In the past, battery chicken would certainly have qualified as would factory ground beef. Since those don’t cross the threshold much less the countertop these days, I’m less concerned. Households with counter-surfing cats and dogs certainly are a different situation as well.

    Thanks for the great blog, Annie. I appreciate what you’re doing and enjoy reading. 🙂

  2. […] See also: “The germiest place in your house” […]

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