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How to ensure the best kitchen hygiene


Lady wearing white marigold gloves and wiping down kitchen countertop with disinfectant spray.

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Everyone knows how important it is for a household to be hygienic so that bacteria and viruses are kept at bay. This is especially true in the kitchen. To make it easier for you to maintain the best kitchen hygiene possible, we have put together a kitchen hygiene checklist with the most important rules for you.

Why is kitchen hygiene so important?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), food-borne infections are among the most common diseases in humans. It is often food of animal origin that comes into contact with pathogens somewhere along the processing chain and this is what makes us sick.

While mild food poisoning isn't life-threatening for most people, contaminated food can become very dangerous for certain groups of people. These include small children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with a weakened immune system. The risk of infection can be reduced if there are strict kitchen hygiene rules in place and they are adhered to at all times.

The first and most important kitchen hygiene rule - stay clean!

Of course, you can't keep an eye on the entire food chain to make sure there's no contamination along the way. What you can do, however, is to do all you possibly can to ensure that your kitchen remains free of germs. When it comes to kitchen hygiene, cleanliness is paramount. The following kitchen hygiene checklist will help you stay clean and healthy.

  • Wash hands: Before you come into contact with food, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and dry them with a specially designed kitchen towel or paper towel. Repeat this after every step of the process - and, of course, after every visit to the bathroom.
  • Don't forget to take off jewellery such as rings and watches and tie your hair back.
  • Clean the work surface, sink with an effective disinfectant spray such as the Jeyes multi-purpose spray made for hard surfaces, and kitchen utensils with a damp cloth and washing up liquid after each step and dry properly afterwards. The sink, in particular, provides a good breeding ground for bacteria and needs to be cleaned frequently with cleaning agents including a drain cleaner. A great one to choose is Jeyes drain cleaner for removing and unclogging nasty dirt build up.
  • Wash dishcloths and cloths frequently or change them often to prevent germs from forming on them. This kitchen hygiene rule also applies to any sponges you have in your kitchen. For an extra hygiene clean try washing your kitchen towels with a Dylon Colour Catcher + Hygienic Cleanliness pad.
  • Meat juice or fish blood should be wiped away with paper towels. Don't use a dishcloth as this leads to contamination.
  • Wash kitchen towels and cooking aprons regularly on at least a 60°C wash cycle to kill bacteria.
  • Dispose of waste at least every two days and regularly clean and dry the inside of the waste bin in the kitchen.
  • Clean the floor regularly to prevent germ contamination and ensure top kitchen hygiene. We have useful articles on cleaning slate tile floors that you might find interesting.
  • Regularly clean kitchen appliances such as the fridge, hob, and dishwasher. This also includes, for example, emptying the filter in the dishwasher and checking the contents of the fridge and freezer.

Avoid cross-contamination by paying attention to hygiene when cooking

The tricky thing about contaminated food is that pathogens love making themselves at home on other foods that they come into contact with. So you may get sick from a salad because you cut it on the same countertop as a piece of meat that was past its prime. An important kitchen hygiene tip is therefore:

Separate work areas from each other by having a cutting board for each food

It's a good idea to have different coloured cutting boards so you can easily tell them apart. Only cut meat on the red board, only fish on the blue board, and only fruit and vegetables on the green board, for example. By the way, contrary to popular belief, the material of the board is not that important - it's the cleaning that counts. Many people don't use wooden boards because they believe they aren't hygienic enough, but as long as you scrub them down with plenty of hot water and washing up liquid immediately after use, they're fine.

It is also important to let wood dry well after cleaning. If you see mould forming on the board or if it's excessively scratched, then it's time to get a new one as germs can spread particularly easy in this case as they can hide in the cracks.

This kitchen hygiene tip also applies to all other utensils. If you have just cut a fish fillet with a knife, the knife must first be washed before you can continue to use it for the vegetables.

Only a healthy cook is a good cook

Got a cough, cold, or a stomach bug? Make sure you stay out of the kitchen. Even if you take great care of your hygiene, the risk of spreading germs to others in your house is too high if you decide to cook while sick.

Another kitchen hygiene rule is to not allow pets in the kitchen. Cats, for example, that are allowed outside and often come into contact with birds and rodents can bring dangerous germs into the kitchen.

With a few simple rules, you can ensure the best kitchen hygiene possible and therefore put a stop to unwelcome germs.