We try our best to keep the kitchen a germ-free area for ourselves and loved ones. We do the dishes, we clean the countertops, and always mop up any spills that may befall the floor. Try as we may, though, there are some germ hot spots in the kitchen that we need to pay more attention to. These bacteria-ridden areas are the ones you should be working extra hard to keep clean.

1. Countertops

a stove surrounded by countertops with shelves on the wall

Our counters will inevitably collect a fair amount of grime. We use them a variety of messy tasks such as cutting food, placing groceries on top, and resting multiple items that are also filled with germs (like our keys or purses). Countertops get the most attention. Be sure to wipe down your counters with at least one or two times a week to fight off any collecting germs. There are different ways to clean depending on the surface you have (such as quartz or granite), so work hard to clean them properly.

2. Dish Rags And Sponges

After a while, our sponges and dish rags are going to start to smell a little mildewy and there's a simple reason for that: they're constantly in water, they're being used to clean all the grime from our dishes, and sometimes we don't wring them out properly. The solution here is to replace them on a regular basis and to rinse them under hot water once you've used them to clean something.

3. Various Handles

Just like with doorknobs, handles in the kitchen can collect their fair share of dirt as well. Think of your dishwasher or refrigerator handles as key examples. They might not cross our mind but when we're preparing food or reach into the fridge after a long day of work or travel, the handles are bound to soak up the germs. All you need to do to avoid this is make sure you wipe down the handles at least 2-3 times a week to get rid of all the bacteria.

4. The Refrigerator

the inside of a crowded fridge

This is really one of those large appliances in the kitchen that needs to be tended to far more often than it is. Think about all the things that happen to your fridge: the handle can attract germs, the shelves deal with spills or wet food, your leftovers are often sitting in there for days on end, and various fresh foods are placed in there such as raw meat and vegetables. The fridge deserves a thorough clean and you'll both be able to reap the benefits. Aim to empty the fridge and give the shelves and drawers an extensive clean at least once a month.

5. Cutting Boards

No matter which cutting board you're using, they're going to attract an assortment of bacteria. The age-old debate of which board holds more germs, plastic or wood, is still something talked about to this day. Regardless of which one you use, it really all boils down to lifestyle and how you're using them in the kitchen. Take care to note the proper cleaning techniques for your particular board and follow them to a tee. At the very least, make sure you wash your cutting boards after every single use.

6. Kitchen Sink

This shouldn't come as a shock to anyone. Our sinks put up with a lot; the residue from our plates go down the drain sometimes, we might spill food, our dishrags and sponges sit in there, and think about all the liquids we pour down there. Sinks need more TLC whether we like it or not. You should be wiping your sink down after certain tasks such as emptying expired liquids, cleaning a pet's bowl, or after rinsing raw meat or veggies.

7. Can Openers

a can opener on a tin can

Some of us may be guilty of merely rinsing our can openers after each use, but that doesn't cut it. Can openers come into contact with a lot of things when they open various foods and if you're only rinsing them off after each use, there's the risk that germs and bacteria will travel to the next item. Clean your openers after every use properly.

8. Coffee Maker

Make sure that you're cleaning out the reservoirs after each use because coffee makers attract lots of unwanted guests. Bacteria, mold, and germs can all grow inside your coffee maker and you should really be doing your best to keep them clean or stick various dishwasher-safe components into the dishwasher.

9. Blenders

Even after you rinse out the blender gaskets or clean them after making smoothies, the blender is another hot spot for germs, mold, and bacteria. Ensure that you're cleaning the gasket thoroughly after each use to prevent anything from building up and ruining your next meal.

10. Microwaves

Though our microwaves probably don't look like the one from The Office, they do collect their fair share of bacteria. Between all the splattering and infrequent cleaning, it's hard to imagine a microwave that doesn't have a few lingering germs. If you use it quite a bit, you should aim to be cleaning at least once a week.

a pristine kitchen

These are just some of the zones you need to be more mindful of in the kitchen. Rinse things properly and do your duty to wash items as often as they need so you can live in a germ-free environment.

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