Maintaining good kitchen hygiene is crucial for preventing illnesses and staying in good health. Without it, you risk the growth and spread of harmful bacteria.
In this article, we provide you with all the information you need to know about kitchen hygiene. This includes how to deep clean your kitchen, and steps to prevent cross-contamination.
Basic Kitchen Hygiene Practices
Following these simple kitchen hygiene practices will help you to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. These bacteria can lead to food poisoning, and other dangerous illnesses.
To help you remember the steps for food hygiene, you can follow the Four C’s. These stand for cleaning, cooking, chilling and avoiding cross-contamination.
Wash Your Hands Before and After Handling Food
The first and one of the most important steps for kitchen hygiene is washing your hands. You should wash your hands both before and after handling food. This will protect your food from harmful bacteria, and prevent them spreading around your home.
Follow our helpful hand washing guide to ensure you wash your hands properly:
Keep Surfaces Clean and Sanitised
All kitchen surfaces should remain clean and sanitised. By keeping your surfaces clean and tidy, you will be preventing the spread of bacteria.
To effectively clean your countertops, mix a few drops of dish soap with warm water. Use a microfibre cloth to soak up this mixture, wring out the excess, and wipe down your surfaces. You can also buy daily surface cleaning products. For regular cleaning, you should always use a gentler soap to avoid damaging your countertops and surfaces over time.
Store Food Properly
You should always store your food correctly to keep them safe from harmful bacteria and chemicals. Proper storage will also reduce the contact between the air and your food, keeping your food fresher for longer.
Follow these 8 food storage rules to keep yourself and your family safe:
- Keep raw meats on the bottom shelf of your refrigerator.
- Put chilled and frozen food away as soon as possible after sale.
- Don’t leave food out for longer than 2 hours.
- Cover leftovers or open food packages.
- Don’t put warm food in the fridge.
- Throw out expired products.
- Don’t overfill your fridge or freezer.
- Keep cupboard food in airtight containers.
Use Separate Cutting Boards for Different Types of Food
Using different cutting boards for different food types will help to prevent cross-contamination. Cross-contamination usually refers to the transfer of harmful bacteria from raw food to cooked food or other surfaces.
You should have at least two chopping boards. One for raw meat, poultry and seafood, and one for vegetables, bread and cooked meat. Using different coloured boards can help you to remember which chopping board is which. For extra precaution, you may want to consider having different chopping boards for different food groups. For example, you could have a separate chopping board for: raw meat, cooked meat, seafood, vegetables, dairies and bread.
Wash Dishes and Utensils Thoroughly
All dishes and utensils should be washed thoroughly to prevent the spread of bacteria. The best way to clean your dishes and utensils is with a dishwasher. Dishwasher’s can reach temperatures much higher than you can with hand-washing.
On average, a dishwasher’s main cycle will reach temperatures of 51-60°C. The rinse cycle can reach 80°C. This is a lot higher than the average hand washing temperature of about 45°C. The hotter the water, the more thoroughly your dishes and utensils are cleaned and sanitised.
Steps for Deep Cleaning the Kitchen
You should be cleaning your kitchen on a daily basis to maintain cleanliness. However, you also need to deep clean your kitchen at least four times a year, or every month if necessary. This will further prevent cross-contamination and the spread of harmful bacteria. It also gives you the opportunity to discard expired or unwanted products that you may have forgotten about.
To deep clean your kitchen, follow these steps:
Gather all the supplies needed for the deep clean. This includes:
- Cleaning products
- Microfibre cloths
- Scrub Pads
- Detail scrub brush (or toothbrush)
Empty the Refrigerator and Pantry
To begin, you’ll want to completely empty your refrigerator and pantry. By doing this, you can sort through all of your food containers and ensure that everything is still in date, and wanted.
Anything that is expired or no longer needed can be thrown away, or donated if possible.
Wipe Down All Surfaces
Emptying your refrigerator and pantry also means that you are able to clean all of your cupboard and refrigerator surfaces. You can use surface cleaners, microfibre cloths or scrub pads for this. What you use will depend on how much cleaning your surfaces need. You may also need to wear gloves at this time if you are using strong cleaning products.
Once clean, you can replace all of the contents that you’d like to keep.
As well as cleaning all of the surfaces in your refrigerator and cupboards, you’ll also need to wipe down every other surface in your kitchen. This includes all of your countertops, table tops, and appliance surfaces. For each surface, you will need to use an appropriate cleaning product.
Scrub the Sink and All Appliances
Grub, dirt, and bacteria can build-up on your sink and appliances. You will therefore need to give these areas particular attention during your deep clean.
Appliances such as your oven will need stronger cleaning products, and so it’s essential that you wear gloves at this stage. You may also need to use scrub pads and a detail scrub brush to get into all of the hard to reach areas. If you don’t have a detail scrub brush, you can use an old toothbrush instead.
Sweep and Mop the Floor
Once all of your surfaces and appliances have been scrubbed, and all of your food has been organised, you can focus on your floor. We’d recommend starting with dusting the underside of any freestanding appliances. You can buy long dusters especially designed for this purpose.
Once you’ve removed all of the dust and other debris from under your appliances, you can sweep up the rest of your floors. If you have a hard floor vacuum, you can also use this in your kitchen. Just be sure that there is nothing wet on the floor that your vacuum is unable to handle.
Finally, use a mop, bucket, and appropriate cleaning solution to clean your kitchen floor. Be sure to clean every inch of the floor possible for the best result.
Cross-Contamination is the transfer of germs and bacteria from one surface to another. Most commonly, this is the transfer of bacteria from raw food to other surfaces. These harmful bacteria can cause serious illness if they get into your body. It is therefore extremely important to take steps to prevent cross-contamination.
Proper Food Storage
Proper food storage is the first step in preventing cross-contamination.
You should always store raw meat separately. Ideally, raw meat should be stored on the bottom shelf of your fridge. This is to prevent it from dripping and leaking onto uncooked food. Placing it on a plate will further prevent possible drips. You should also cover raw meat to further prevent bacteria growth and spread.
Storing food in airtight containers prevents cross-contamination. You can store raw meat in airtight containers to prevent bacteria from spreading. You can also store cooked foods and produce in airtight containers to protect them from cross-contamination.
Wash Your hands and Surfaces After Handling Raw Meat
One of the most common culprits of cross-contamination is the transfer of bacteria from your hands to other surfaces. So, it’s crucial that you wash your hands after handling raw meat. You should also avoid touching your face or other surfaces before you have washed your hands.
Remember to wash all the surfaces that raw meat has been in contact with.
Use Separate Utensils and Cutting Boards for Raw and Cooked Food
Cooked food that is contaminated with bacteria from raw food is unsafe to eat. Because it has already been cooked, it is unlikely that you will be cooking it again to safely kill off the bacteria.
Because of this, separate utensils and cutting boards should be used for raw and cooked food. By doing this, you will be preventing the risk of cross-contamination.
Maintaining good kitchen hygiene is important for protecting our health and preventing the spread of harmful bacteria. By following the Four C’s of kitchen hygiene, deep cleaning your kitchen, and preventing cross-contamination, you can significantly reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.