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The kitchen, germs and you

Barbara Willenberg, Former Associate State Nutrition Specialist

Jo Britt-Rankin, State Nutrition Specialist


Germs that spoil food and give us food poisoning can grow in our kitchen. A clean kitchen is not a good place for germs to live and grow. To start your attack against germs, use lots of hot, soapy water.

We all have germs on our hands and they can get into food as we cook. Scrub your hands with hot water and soap to wash off germs before you touch food.

We get germs on our hands when we use the bathroom, touch animals, change a diaper, blow our nose or smoke a cigarette. Wash your hands again before touching food.

Keep your hands away from your mouth, hair and nose while making food because you will get germs on your hands.

Germs grow in cuts and sores

It's a good idea to wear rubber gloves, when working in the kitchen, if you have a cut on your hands. Germs grow in cuts and can get into food, making people sick. Another way germs get into food is by using the same spoon for tasting and stirring. Always use a clean spoon for stirring after tasting food.

Germs fly into the air from our nose and throat when we cough or sneeze. It's a good idea to cover our mouths and turn away from food when we cough or sneeze to keep germs from landing in food. Be sure to wash your hands after you cough or sneeze.

Wash dishes and pots in hot, clean, soapy water. Change water when it looks dirty or greasy. Rinse dishes in hot, clean water. It's best to let dishes air dry on a rack because towels can spread germs. Be sure to put clean dishes away when they are dry because flies and other bugs may crawl on them.

Germs on our hands can get on clean dishes. It's best to handle clean dishes by the parts that don't touch our mouth, like the bottom of a drinking glass or the handle of a spoon.

Wash dishtowels and dish cloths often

Wash dishtowels and dishcloths often. Throw away sponges when they begin to look dirty or smell bad. Keep a special sponge or cloth to wipe up spills on the floor. Remember, a child's face has germs on it. These germs can get into your food if we use our dishcloth to wash a child's dirty face.

Can openers attract germs

A dirty can opener is a good place for germs to hide and grow. Wash your can opener with hot, soapy water each time you use it. Another great place for germs to grow is dirty trash cans. A bathtub is a good place to wash out your trash cans.

Wash cutting boards and counters with hot, soapy water each time you use them. This is very important after you prepare raw meat. Blood from raw meat contains germs that can cause food poisoning. Wooden cutting board are harder to keep germ-free than plastic cutting boards.

A good way to kill germs on cutting boards and counters is to mix one tablespoon of household bleach with on gallon of hot water. Use this to rinse cutting boards and counters after washing them with hot, soapy water.



Last Updated 10/25/2007










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