How to tackle bacteria in the kitchen

The kitchen is always the center of activity at my house, especially in the summer when kids are breezing in looking for cold drinks or when we’re prepping for another BBQ party. But did you know that your kitchen can be a place where bacteria congregate as well?

A recent study showed that 49% of the kitchen towels they tested had some type of bacteria growth and the longer you use a towel without washing it, this percentage increases. Simply being aware that your kitchen towel can be germ-infested makes you want to wash them more often, and we recommend spraying your towels with Red Juice before turning the washer on.

I’m often asked how often should you wash your kitchen towels, especially knowing that they can be pretty gross and potentially harboring all kinds of bacteria, including e coli. If you’re handling raw meat like chicken or beef, wash your kitchen towels immediately after use or better yet, use a paper towel after handling meat. If you’re just washing your hands with soap and water before you wipe your hands on the towel then it’s probably ok to let that towel linger for a week. A month is definitely too long to go without washing.

Besides the kitchen towels, there are several other spots in the kitchen which you might not realize have germs lurking, such as your electric can opener. There can be a lot of build up and grime on the circular part that cuts into the can. Just hold it under warm soapy water and use a clean, stiff toothbrush to scrub it.

Another area to consider is the back of the door handle on your refrigerator. As we’re cooking and have stuff on our hands we’re grabbing the door to open it for that ingredient we forgot. We usually remember to wipe the front of the handle, but the back is where grime can lurk. Also, the rubber strip around the perimeter of the inside of the door can be an area where all sorts of things grow. These are great spots to hit with a spray of Red Juice then wipe down. And don’t forget the bins where you store meat—wipe those out periodically.

Other areas you might not realize are breeding grounds for bacteria include the ice bin. Think about all those little hands that are constantly reaching into the bin to grab some ice. And all those handles that never get wiped down, like the coffee pot handle or drawer knobs. Don’t forget to cycle your sponge out frequently. You can microwave a wet sponge for a minute to kill bacteria, but you’ll need to get a new one every month or so.

All of this is to say that you shouldn’t get obsessed about bacteria in your kitchen, but when you see gunk, clean it off.

Have suggestions for what else to tackle in your kitchen? Let us know in the comments!


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