26 January 2011

The counters - problems & solutions

Countertops harbour lots of germs as food preparation takes place on these surfaces.


Counters - why they should be kept clean  

Countertops serve many purposes - from grocery storage, to a place to do homework, to food preparation to present wrapping - you name it. The point is that countertops harbour lots of germs as food preparation takes place on these surfaces.

Food scraps often get left behind on counters, which, unless carefully cleaned, soon teem with bacteria, such as Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli and Clostridium perfringens.

Studies have found that countertops are generally more germ-laden than the average toilet seat! Kitchen counters are also full of nooks and crannies that can harbour bacteria. Pets like cats can also jump up onto counters and leave hair and dander lying around. Clutter on countertops can also add to the problem.

How to keep countertops clean

The countertop in the kitchen is a central part of the home. This is where the groceries, the mail, the school projects, the shopping lists and the cooking utensils get put down. And where the food preparation is done.

If you clean as you go, you will never get to the point where countertops are a real problem. Let's face it, these are not storage spaces, even though they are convenient for putting all sorts of things on.

Remove all clutter from countertops. Things like condiments should rather be stored in cupboards than on countertops. Pets should be kept off these surfaces.

Countertops should be cleaned whenever food has been prepared on them, otherwise they can become germ-laden and attract insects. To clean the counter, an anti-bacterial cleanser or a product with bleach in it should be used. Use a clean sponge or scrubbing brush to clean the counter. Using a dirty cloth or sponge will simply make the problem worse, as you will merely be spreading the germs around. Dry the counter with a paper towel.

Handy hint:
Baking soda neutralises acid-based odours in water, and absorbs odours from the air. Sprinkled on a damp sponge or cloth, baking soda can be used as a gentle nonabrasive cleanser for the kitchen countertops as well as other surfaces in the home.

The cutting board


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