When it comes to cleanliness, there’s no better place to start than with your kitchen sink. After all, this is the place where you will prepare your food, clean your dishes, and sanitize your hands.
Unfortunately, all that heavy use means that it’s also prone to getting dirty--fast! As you are washing hands or dishes, you are rinsing bacteria into the basin. In fact, the kitchen sink is reportedly one of the dirtiest places in your house.
How Germ-Filled Is Your Kitchen?
You might be thinking that maybe it’s not that bad. But you’re making an enormous mistake by underestimating the issue.
Indeed, a report by the University of Rochester Medical Center reveals that the kitchen is a hub for viruses and bacteria in your household.
So what objects in your kitchen are most germ-filled? Based on URMC’s findings, they are the following:
Dishcloths, sponges and kitchen towels
Sink, sink traps, and garbage disposals
Small electric appliances (like blenders, food processors, and juicers)
How Do the Germs Spread?
Simply put, you spread germs in your kitchen--and to the kitchen sink--via cross-contamination.
Imagine this-- a familiar scenario in many households.
Your kids use the bathroom but forget to wash their hands all the time, despite all your helpful reminders.
They come to the kitchen for a bite and use their hands to open the door to the fridge to find the string cheese. Then, they place the snack (which now has germs on it) onto the counter top. They now have free hands to open up a cabinet, pull down a drinking glass, dispense ice into the cup, and turn on the tap to pour a glass of water.
Do you see how many surfaces could now be harboring viruses? This one simple snack run has spread germs onto several places in just a few seconds.
During cold and flu season, this could trigger a never-ending cycle of one family member passing their illness on to the next.
How to Rid Your Kitchen of Those Nasty Germs
So what do the experts at the URMC suggest you do to resolve the spread of germs? Clean and disinfect all areas of your kitchen daily.
The key to killing these germs is not only to clean but also disinfect the surfaces in your kitchen.
Get rid of wooden boards, which are porous and will harbor disease. Instead, opt for cutting mats that you can disinfect daily. Keep separate mats for fruits and veggies, chicken, and meats.
Kitchen Towels and Dishrags:
Use a clean dishrag and towel daily. And change them out more often on days when you are doing a lot of cooking and cleaning. Wash kitchen linens in hot water.
Remove old food from the fridge once a week and wipe off the shelves of any drips or leaks to prevent odors and bacteria. Wipe down the outside of the appliance with disinfectant weekly. However, disinfect the door handles and the area around the ice dispenser daily.
Small Kitchen Electrics:
After each use, put dishwasher-safe components in the dishwasher and clean them on a sanitizing cycle. Use a sanitizing spray and hot water to wipe down non-immersible parts.
Clear your countertops of all clutter and spray them with a germ-killing disinfectant cleaner. Wipe clean with a clean kitchen rag, and then dry before replacing your items on the countertop.
Why You Save Cleaning the Sink for Last
Whew. You’ve done a lot of work, and now it’s time to clean the sink. But why do experts recommend that you save the sink for last?
As you have been working on all that sanitizing, you have been rinsing all the crumbs, dust, pet hair (come on, you know you have it) into…
The kitchen sink.
It’s no wonder that some reports warn us that the kitchen sink is filthier than a toilet bowl.
How to Thoroughly Clean and Sanitize Your Kitchen Sink
Before you get started, grab the supplies that you’ll need to accomplish this task.
Mild abrasive cleaner
Start by removing any loose debris--vegetable peels, crumbs, bits of food and discarding them.
Then, lift the sink drain cover (or covers if you have a two-part sink) and give it a look. These remain wet much of the day. Of course, that makes them a safe harbor for mildew and a breeding ground for viruses. If his looks dirty or slimy, that is bacteria. Rinse this cover in hot water, scrubbing it with a mildly abrasive cleanser. If you have a dishwasher, place this piece in there for a proper, hot washing. However, if you do not have a dishwasher, give this a spritz of the disinfectant spray and clean it thoroughly. Set aside to dry.
Your next step is to cleanse the faucet, sprayer and handles with the same mild abrasive. Be diligent as you clean the tap handles, as they are touched a lot during the course of a day and can accumulate germs.
Now apply the mild abrasive cleanser to the sink basin. Scrub the entire body of the basin. Pay special attention to that area surrounding the drain--this is another place where bacteria colonies thrive. Get in there and don’t be afraid to give it some elbow grease.
Use your sprayer to thoroughly rinse away the abrasive cleaner from all the clean surfaces.
You’ve Cleansed, But You’re Not Done!
So now you have cleaned your sink. However, my friends, you are not done.
Remember the earlier mention of cleaning versus disinfecting or sanitizing? It’s now time to sanitize your sink.
Cleaning probably washed some germs down the drain. However, it did not kill them all. Sanitizing will slay those buggers and also inhibit their regrowth.
Following the instructions on your disinfectant spray, spritz the entire sink liberally. Of course, you’ll want to include the tap handles, sprayer, basin, and the sink stopper that you set aside earlier.
Rinse the sanitizer. Wipe the sink out with a clean microfiber towel. No sense in a dirty towel after all that work!
One final step--toss the cleaning cloth and towel into the laundry. Don’t use them on anything until after you wash them.
Congrats, You Have a Clean Kitchen Sink
Now, you can sit back, enjoy a tall glass of sweet tea, and admire your handiwork. You have a clean kitchen sink that is also sanitized and odor-free. Or, at least until the kids come back in from playing.