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It might not look like it to the naked eye, but microbiologist Dr. Charles Gerba reveals that there are more germs in your kitchen than in your toilet. Your sink, cutting board, and kitchen countertops are a cesspool for bacteria that, needless to say, can be harmful if not cleaned regularly and properly.

The good news is, keeping a kitchen clean shouldn’t have to be so hard, especially if you have this checklist of tasks:

Daily:

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– Wash dirty dishes right away to avoid the spread of bacteria. They can also attract nasty bugs and rodents.

– If you have a dishwasher, make sure to empty it at the end of the day.

– Sanitize your sink. Keeping the faucet running is not enough. You need to use something stronger than water, like an all-purpose cleaner or a bleach solution. Make sure to scrub stains or grease thoroughly and to remove food particles to avoid clogging.

– Wipe countertops. The Spruce’s how-to article on caring for countertops notes that a spritz of dish soap on a cleaning cloth might do the trick for solid surfaces, laminate, and granite countertops. For steel countertops, you may use mild abrasive cleaners like a diluted bleach solution. In any case, a multipurpose cleaner works well on different materials.

– Empty the bins. Afterward, spray your trash bin or cabinet with a disinfectant to kill germs and remove odors.

– Clean spills and dust off crumbs. Sweep and give the floors a good wipe.

Weekly

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– Clean your fridge out. Sort through any leftovers, empty jars, rotting produce, or any food items that need to be tossed out. Afterward, wipe the shelves clean.

– Clean the smaller appliances you regularly use, such as the microwave, toaster, and coffee maker. Don’t forget to check underneath and behind these kitchen tools as there might be a build-up of particles there.

– Replace sponges. Another surprising revelation from experts is that the kitchen sponge might just be the dirtiest thing we own, and yet, most of us don’t know how clean it properly. Healthcare writer Bruce Y. Lee suggests replacing your sponge as much as once a week because boiling it daily might not be sufficient. That’s because some strains of bacteria continue to spread under increased temperatures.

– Wash dish towels and rags.

Monthly:

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– Empty the cupboards. This is also the perfect time to do an inventory of the items in your pantry.

– Deep clean hard-to-reach surfaces. If you think the sink is dirty, then you’re not prepared to see what’s underneath it. One thing to watch out for is mould, as this type of fungus thrives in areas with moisture. These hard-to-reach areas include under the sink, behind the fridge, cupboards, and even cutting boards. HomeServe’s guide to getting rid of mould recommends using a chemical-based treatment, either store-bought or homemade. For a DIY solution, you can spray a mixture of one part bleach and four parts water to the affected areas and scrub with a brush. Then, rinse the area with a damp cloth and dry it, ensuring there’s no moisture left for the mould to grow back.

– Clean refrigerator coils. After giving some love to the inside of your fridge, turn it around to check on the coils, too. Our article on ‘Simple tips and tricks to clean and maintain your refrigerator’ notes how coils should be dust-free, as grime can lower your unit’s energy efficiency and cause it to need replacing sooner than needed.

– Clean bigger appliances such as the dishwasher and the oven. Again, you can use a multi-purpose cleaner to thoroughly disinfect these appliances, making sure to wipe everything dry after.

Stick this checklist on the door of your refrigerator and you won’t forget how easy it is to maintain a clean kitchen. Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Leave a reply below!

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