Updated: Nov 4
The kitchen is often referred to as the ‘heart of the home’. It’s the place where meals are prepared, shared and enjoyed.
As a central place for preparing food, it’s essential that the kitchen is always kept clean to avoid the growth and spread of bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses.
A clean kitchen also promotes a healthy environment, preserving the quality of the food and ensures that the kitchen remains an enjoyable place to spend time in.
Kitchen hygiene is an essential aspect of home hygiene, and it’s critical to maintaining food safety and reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses.
A clean kitchen is a requirement for food safety, and it is essential to remember that bacteria can grow and multiply at an alarming rate if you do not practice good kitchen hygiene.
To keep your kitchen clean and maintain proper kitchen hygiene, here are some important steps to follow:
1. Clean as you go
One of the most crucial steps to achieving a clean and sanitary kitchen is to clean as you go.
This means washing utensils, appliances, and surfaces after each use and also wiping up any spills or crumbs immediately to prevent the growth of bacteria.
This proactive cleaning helps to keep the kitchen tidy and safe, as it reduces the risk of cross-contamination and contaminants getting into the food.
2. Wash hands often
Washing your hands before, during and after handling food is one of the most important hygiene practices that help prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses.
Wet your hands under warm water, soap and rub your hands for at least 20 seconds before rinsing and drying them with a clean towel or forced air dryer.
Hand sanitizers are also effective and can be used in situations where hand washing is not possible. Washing with soap and water is always preferred.
3. Keep surfaces clean
Kitchen surfaces, especially those that come into contact with food, should be cleaned with hot soapy water and disinfected regularly.
These include but are not limited to - countertops, cutting boards, sinks, stove tops, ovens, refrigerators, freezers, cabinets and floors.
A Few Methods For Sanitation
- Proper ratio of bleach and cold water for sanitizing
**(1 Tablespoon of 6% chlorine bleach to 1 gallon of water, let it sit for one minute before wiping or rinsing clean)
***(Warm/hot water renders bleach ineffective. USE COLD WATER WHEN MIXING SOLUTION.)
- Commercial FDA Approved Food Grade Disinfectant
- Mixture of water and vinegar, to wipe down surfaces after each use.
**(This method is not the most effective)
I personally keep a spray bottle full of everclear to spray and wipe surfaces after cleaning.
4. Know Your Appliances
All kitchen appliances, big and small need regular cleaning and maintenance to remain efficient and hygienic. This is anything from a stove to a small coffee grinder.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions to prevent damage to the appliances. For instance, the refrigerator should be cleaned regularly to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria, pay close attention to the gaskets between the body and doors of refrigerator and freezer.
If the instructions may be needed in the future, invest in a small file folder and keep all your appliance instructions with receipts stapled to them in that folder.
I find a file cabinet to be great for this. Or you could go the route of scanning and have digital copies on a USB drive if you are tech savvy.
MAKE A DOWNLOADABLE TEMPLATE FOR APPLIANCE INVENTORY AND CLEANING SCHEDULES
5. Practice Safe Food Handling
Improper food handling is a leading cause of foodborne illnesses.
Always follow safe food handling practices, such as properly cooling and storing food, thawing frozen meat and poultry in the refrigerator or under cold running water and heating food to the correct temperature in the proper amount of time.
Don’t reuse dishes or utensils that have touched raw meat without washing them first.
6. Store Food Correctly
To avoid contamination, always store food correctly.
Keep raw meat and poultry separate from cooked food, and don’t let cooked food stay at room temperature (danger zone) for more than two hours.
40°F - 140°F is the danger zone
Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer in airtight containers.
Never seal hot foods until they are cooled, if sealed when hot, there is no way for the heat to escape hindering the cooling process.
7. Dispose of waste properly
One of the most overlooked aspects of kitchen hygiene is the disposal of food waste.
Dispose of food waste properly, such as in an airtight bin or garbage disposal.
Empty trash and clean trash can regularly to prevent it from attracting pests and causing odors in the kitchen.
Below are some of the benefits a clean kitchen can provide.
1. Prevents the spread of bacteria
The kitchen is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and germs to thrive. Food spills, crumbs and grease left on surfaces can attract bacteria, which can multiply and spread to other surfaces and food. Proper cleaning and disinfecting can prevent the growth and spread of bacteria, helping to keep you and your family safe from foodborne illnesses.
2. Preserves the quality of food
A clean kitchen can help preserve the quality of food. A dirty kitchen can affect the taste, texture, and nutritional value of the food. If your kitchen is not clean, food can become contaminated with bacteria, lead to spoilage and compromise its nutritional value.
3. Promotes good health
Poor kitchen hygiene can lead to the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses, increasing the risk of infections and illnesses. A clean kitchen helps to keep the environment healthy, reducing the chances of getting sick.
4. Maintains a pleasant environment
A clean kitchen is more inviting than one that is dirty and unappealing. Kitchens that are not well-maintained can harbor bad odors that can quickly become unpleasant. Keeping a clean kitchen helps to maintain a pleasant environment and improves the overall atmosphere of the home.
5. Saves money
Maintaining a clean kitchen can have financial benefits. For instance, regularly cleaning your appliances can make them last longer, saving you the cost of frequent replacements. It can also help avoid costly repairs and replacements due to neglect.
A clean kitchen is essential for food safety, promoting good health, and maintaining a pleasant environment.
It’s easy to maintain a clean kitchen by practicing proper hygiene habits such as regular cleaning and disinfecting, safe food handling, and disposing of waste correctly.
Investing a little time and effort daily into maintaining a clean kitchen can go a long way in creating a healthier, happier living space.