Do you regularly do fall cleaning? I used to love it when the air was crisp, the leaves had turned a beautiful orange and red, the windows were open and there was the smell of bleach as Dad cleaned the windows. Mom was cleaning the living room and vacuuming the furniture, it was so fresh and winter holiday ready. What are your memories of fall cleaning? Do you carry the tradition and clean in the fall?
The nostalgia of those rooms that smelled so fresh and clean is such an ingrained memory. But the place where the germs really lurked most likely did not get as much love and cleaned as well as it could have. The same goes for today and might even be responsible for illness.
“There’s more fecal bacteria in your kitchen sink than there is in a toilet after you flush it. That’s why your dog drinks out of the toilet. He’s smarter than you think,” Charles Gerba.
- Do you have a sponge at your kitchen sink?
- Do you come in from the grocery store and put your grocery bags on the kitchen counter?
- Do you wash raw chicken in the sink and the wash as dry your hands on the kitchen towel?
- Do you or your family/friends put a purse on the kitchen counter?
If you answered yes to any of these questions – there is likely E-coli, salmonella, and other gross and possibly life-threatening germs in your kitchen waiting for you and your family. Your kitchen has more germs than your bathroom! Yuck!
(see links for references)
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 20% of all food borne illness starts with food consumed in the home.
- Recent surveys of an average home found more fecal bacteria on a cutting board than the toilet seat.
- One in five handbag handles was home to levels of bacteria-related contamination which poses a significant risk of cross-contamination.
- In a test of 50 purses, nearly 1/4 of them tested proved to have E. coli on them. (Escherichia coli is the bacteria that lives in the intestines of humans and animals).
How to Banish Those Germs
- Throw those sponges away after a week. Microwaving and putting them in the dishwasher really does not sanitize them. The germs are still lurking.
- Wash dish towels every few days.
- Sanitize your refrigerator (you probably keep raw meat and chicken in the frig, which can come in contact with your fruits and vegetables). When was it last REALLY cleaned and sanitized?
- Clean your refrigerator, microwave and toaster oven handles. They get more bugs on them because they have everyone’s hands on them.
- Sanitize your kitchen sink with either bleach or use an EPA recommended safer choice cleaner.
- Get that purse and grocery bags OFF the kitchen counters – we know where they have been. Now that we are reusing our grocery bags, the number of germs they are in contact with increases.
- Don’t forget to clean that cell phone – we know that they often live on the kitchen counter, don’t they?
Are you ready to rethink your fall cleaning? Maybe start with your kitchen and hopefully you are off to a healthy winter season.