8 dirtiest spots in your kitchen (and how to clean them)

Hate to break it to you, but your kitchen is probably grimier than you thought.

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The kitchen is often seen as the cleanest place at home. We clean and scrub everything from top to bottom after every cooking session, so it must be speckless, right? Nooot quite. The ugly truth is, no matter how dedicated you are to keeping it squeaky clean, there’s bound to be a handful of hidden spots that attract major muck. If left untreated, your dirty kitchen might even foster all kinds of bacteria that could potentially make you sick.

To prevent your kitchen from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria, find out how to tackle those tricky spots and get them gleaming.

1. Sink

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Just because everything gets washed in the sink doesn’t mean it’s clean. In fact, it’s one of the germiest spots in your kitchen. Think about all the things you do in your sink — thaw frozen meat, wash vegetables, pour leftover juice… And now think about how much germs and bacteria it has built up over the years. Nasty, right? You could argue that you rinse your sink on a daily basis, but we regret to inform you that merely rinsing it is not enough.

Let’s get clean: Your kitchen sink is vulnerable to a host of bacteria, so if you clean it with a dirty sponge, it’ll do more harm than good. Here’s what you need to do: Use a clean sponge or paper towel to clean the sink with disinfectant. Do this every once or twice a week and you won’t have a dirty sink to deal with anymore!

2. Chopping board

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The chopping board you use to prepare food is another hotspot for bacteria to thrive. The number of items that come in contact with your board makes it even easier for contamination to happen. Rinsing it won’t help either, especially with the wooden ones. Bacteria grow in hidden cracks of the board and washing it with plain water won’t help rid of them.

Let’s get clean: To keep your chopping board germ-free, run it under hot water, or better yet, sterilise it by pouring boiling water over. That said, you should also replace your chopping board every now and then. What really helps though, is to keep separate chopping boards for different types of food. So get one for raw meat, one for cooked items, one for vegetable produce and one more for fish and seafood items.

3. Sponge

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Sometimes the cleaning tool we use to scour our kitchenware ends up becoming the filthiest of all. Many people might not realise it, but yes, even sponge gets dirty! And because of that, they don’t get cleaned or replaced often.

Let’s get clean: The last thing you want is to use a germ-infested sponge to ‘clean’ your dirty dishes. An easy method to combat the spread of bacteria is to simply pop your sponge into the microwave. As microwaves are one of the most effective ways to eliminate germs (it kills 99% of germs), soak your sponge in a bowl of water and a teaspoon of lemon juice, then place it in the microwave for about a couple of minutes on high. If you own a dishwasher, load your sponge along with the rest of your dishes!

Note: Make sure your sponge is safe to be microwaved, so avoid anything that contains metal.

4. Refrigerator

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Easily one of the many spots we miss during the cleaning session. The inside of the fridge might seem unassuming, but its dark moist environment makes it easy for germs and bacteria to breed. If you aren’t careful with the way you store your food, bacteria from expired or thawed meat might make their way to other areas in the fridge.

Let’s get clean: Always, always segregate your meat from your fresh fruits and greens. Stow your thawed meat in the lower drawer to prevent liquid spills from dripping into your fresh produce. To give your refrigerator a good scrub, remove the drawers from the refrigerator, then clean them with detergent and warm water. This will help purge any lurking germs. Finally, dry them with a clean towel before putting them back in their respective compartments.

5. Countertops

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It may look spotless on the outside, but your kitchen countertop is another breeding zone for bacteria. Whether you realise it or not, it’s the workhorse of the kitchen. Not only do we prepare our meals on it, but we also place grocery bags, car keys, laptops, money and everything under the sun on it. No wonder it’s infested with microbes.

Let’s get clean: Simply wiping it down with a damp cloth won’t do you any good. Equip yourself with an all-purpose cleaner and start scrubbing with a clean sponge or cloth. Do it once a week for a guaranteed sanitised and germ-free countertop.

6. Blender gasket

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Do you wash your blender gaskets after using them? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. A lot of time people tend to focus their attention on their blender jars and lids. The gaskets, on the other hand, are often neglected because they’re afraid of getting cut by the sharp blades. Little do they know that uncleaned gaskets can harbour microorganisms that could potentially harm your health. Imagine using a soiled blender day after day. Yech, definitely not a pleasant thought.

Let’s get clean: First, disassemble any removable parts. Check if your blender is dishwasher-safe, if so go ahead and put all the pieces in the dishwasher. If it’s not, you can either fill the blender half full with hot water and dishwashing soap and blend for 20 seconds, or you can run each piece under hot soapy water before re-assembling. Be wary when handling the blades!

7. Knife block

We all love having a knife block in the kitchen. It’s safe, it’s convenient and not to mention, you can finally organise your tools properly on the kitchen counter — away from harm’s way. What’s not to love about it? In spite of that, there is a huge problem that comes with it. Those little slots that hold the blades of your knives? It’s susceptible to contamination. The warm, dark environment is pretty much a hot zone for mould and bacteria to grow.

Let’s get clean: To clean your knife block thoroughly, you need to first remove all the cutting tools from the knife block. Then, turn it upside down to shake out any crumbs or remains that may have collected inside. Next, wash it in hot, soapy water and scrub the insides with a bottle brush or pipe cleaner. Rinse until water is no longer sudsy then allow it to dry overnight by placing it upside down on a clean surface. If there’s too much hassle for you, invest in a magnetic knife holder — so much easier to clean!

8. Can opener

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Add this to the long list of items that we do not know were mucky until now. Most of the time, we just grab the can opener from the kitchen drawer, use it, rinse it and place it back where it belongs. Unfortunately, rinsing it is not enough as can openers can get grimy and not to mention, rusty. Before you even think about tossing it into the bin in disgust and getting a new one from the store, check out this cleaning tip.

Let’s get clean: Immerge the can opener in a bowl of apple cider vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes. If the condition of the can opener is less than ideal, consider soaking it longer. Then, use an old toothbrush and start scrubbing the gears. Repeat until it’s clean. Afterwards, wash the can opener with dish soap and give everything another round of scrubbing before rinsing it off. Finally, dry it with a clean towel and tada, you’ve just got yourself a good-as-new can opener!

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