Kitchen Sanitation Tips You Should Know

Make it a habit to practice food safety in the kitchen.

Updated on August 11, 2017 11:08 am

Samantha Echavez

how to disinfect and sanitise the kitchen

"Ever wonder why you sometimes feel you have the flu just after you ate but can’t figure out how you got exposed? In most cases, a flu bug isn’t bothering your digestive tract; it’s a mild case of food poisoning caused by not-so-careful cooking practice," warns Holly Rudin-Braschi, author of Grill Power. When we're in a rush making our meals, we fall into the trap of prepping and cooking without thinking—not conscious that before handling the uncooked chicken, we've already touched the door handle or scratched our skin mindlessly.

"Kitchens are also the main source of our exposure to dangerous bacteria in the home. Infamous interlopers like Salmonella and E.coli travel on everything from meat to produce, and once loosed in our kitchen they can contaminate food, utensils, and surfaces, and make us sick," adds Jeffrey Hollender, co-author of Naturally Clean.

Good hygiene and effective sanitation are keys to protect your food from contamination. Learn these helpful must-knows and tips by heart:

Wash your hands...more than once!

This simple habit can protect you from catching colds or Salmonella.

washing hands thoroughly can prevent catching bacteria and germs


When to Wash Your Hands

1. Moments before handling food. Even if you've already washed your hands before entering the kitchen, wash them again before you touch the food.

2. While you are cooking, after touching your face or any other part of your body

3. After handling raw meat, fish or poultry, and particularly after using your hands to spread a marinade or put raw food on the pan or grill. "If you handle any food that will be served raw (such as salad) or food that is already cooked (such as French fries) after handling raw meat, fish, or poultry without washing your hands, you run the risk of contaminating the raw ingredients with salmonella," says Rudin-Braschi.

Should you wash your meat before cooking?

do not wash raw meat


According to the United States Department of Agriculture, washing raw meat before cooking is not advised. A number of people do this, thinking they are getting rid of the bacteria and making the meat cleaner and safer. Ben Chapman, food safety researcher from the North Carolina State University explains, "Research shows that washing meat can spread dangerous bacteria around your kitchen or food preparation area. And washing poultry under running water can spray surface contamination up to three feet away. We cook meat to make it safer; washing meat can only make a meal riskier."

Transfer the meat from package to pan. The heat produced from the cooking will eventually kill the bacteria present in the meat.

Be meticulous when handling raw meat.

be cautious and careful when touching raw meat

  • Be mindful of what surfaces have had contact with your raw meat. Make sure you clean these surfaces after contact. "Try to restrict your handling of raw meat to a single confined area and do all meat-related prep at once in order to isolate these activities," says Hollender.
  • Use paper towels—not cloth, not sponge—when cleaning meat preparation areas.
  • "Even if you haven't used them to clean up after meat, sanitize your sponges by microwaving them for a least a minute at full power,” says Hollender. "As natural reservoirs of moisture that can often remain damp for days on end, sponges are a prime breeding ground for bacteria of all kinds that will then be spread around your kitchen as you use them to clean."
  • Don't serve food on kitchenware that's been used to prepare or marinate it.
  • Keep your cutting boards clean and sanitised. Scrub well with soap and hot water after each use. If possible, have separate cutting boards for meat and produce.
  • Wash knives carefully between each use. "Never use a knife on produce that you just used on meat without first subjecting it to a thorough washing. An even better idea is to assign each knife you’ll be using to either meat or produce use and then stick with that system throughout that meal’s preparation," says Hollender.

Wash produce thoroughly.

Meat is the most common source of bacteria in the kitchen, but vegetables can still get contaminated. Wash the vegetables and fruits—even the ones that require peeling like potatoes and avocadoes–under a running tap. Reminder: Avoid getting vegetables in contact with raw meat to prevent cross contamination.

avoid mixing raw meat and vegetables together

Keep kitchen clean at all times.

While it's impossible to exterminate 100 percent of the bacteria residing in your kitchen, you still have to obsess about its cleanliness. Click this for tips on how to make your kitchen so clean it sparkles.

Share your kitchen tips with us. Email us at

Cover photo courtesy of Culinary Schools

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