Germs hide here too!

On any given normal day, the kitchen area is where most activities in the home take place from early morning till perhaps 9 pm at night. “Cleanliness is next to godliness” should be the motto! Hand towels, dish cloths, and sponges have to be kept as spotless and germ-free as possible.

The photo above shows what my helper does at the end of each day. In Domestic Science classes during school days so long ago, we were taught to place all our dishcloths into a large pot, drop in some soap powder and to boil them for a while. My helper’s nightly routine is to place my kitchen towel, sponges, brushes and dish cloths with some soap powder (to get rid of the grime and oil) and Napisan (which is antibacterial), pour in 2.5 litres of boiling water and let them soak overnight. During the day, if there has been heavy food preparations that day, the sponges and other dish cloths are given a quick wash once in a while and kept food debris and oil free.

Why? Here’s what been reported on WebMd.

It has been reported that the kitchen harbours more germs than any other room in the home! And these germs — the same ones that can cause a cold or flu to spread through a household like wildfire – lurk everywhere from the sponges you use to clean your countertop to your cutting board and the drain in your sink.

Zap away bugs.
Kitchen sponges are the No.1 source of germs in the whole house. Why? The moist, micro-crevices that make a sponge such an effective cleaning device also make it a cozy home for germs and more difficult to disinfect. Wiping your counters or dishes with a dirty sponge will only transfer the bacteria from one item to another. “Wet your sponge and then pop it in the microwave for two minutes to eliminate the germs that lurk inside the crevices,” says Neil Schachter, MD, medical director of respiratory care at Mount Sinai in New York City, and the author of The Good Doctor’s Guide to Colds and Flu.

Practice good dish cloth etiquette.
Your dish rags are really no better than your sponges. And like sponges, using a dirty dish rag to clean a kitchen countertop will only spread germs. Your best bet is to replace rags about once a week. “Allow them to dry out between uses because most bacteria thrive only in moistness,” Schachter says. In fact, they can only survive a few hours on dry surfaces. “Rags should be washed in the washing machine and then dried on high heat,” he says.

The kitchen sponges and dish rags have been tested and two -thirds of them contain dangerous bacteria, including E. coli, salmonella, and staphylococcus. Turns out the reason why these dish scrubbers were so filthy was because the cellulose sponges provide a perfect habitat for bacteria: the sponges are porous and easy for bacteria to cling to, there’s a constant food supply, and the moisture of the sponge keeps them alive. A blogger has even tried microwaving her sponges.

It is impossible to keep germs away 100% of the time. Several months ago, I stopped using celluose sponges. My French Canadian friend knitted her own dish cloths and my helper then enjoyed the benefit of her skills. They were larger than sponges, loosely knitted so food debris were easily washed away and they were thus easy to keep clean and drier. These dish cloths may also be crocheted from several types of materials. In the photo above, you will notice a piece of purple crocheted cloth – it is Korean and I found them so sale at Hankook, a Korean supermarket along El Camino Real in Northern California.

Below is an image of  a crocheted dish cloth taken from the internet.

Practice what is workable for you!

Some of my readers may be great with the crochet hook and derive much pleasure in crocheting. If you are keen to crochet some scrubbies or dish cloths, check the video clips on you-tube. No I haven’t made any. Here is a link to crochet pot scrubbies or dish cloths using nylon netting material and other types of yarn- Have Fun!!

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