Whether or not you’re a home chef in the making, you likely spend a fair amount of time in your kitchen. As a result, you might think that you’ve got your kitchen organization and cleaning down pat. Naturally, you already know that cutting boards, kitchen countertops, and dish sponges are germ factories. But other areas might surprise you.

Take a look at where the most germs get found in your food prep and cooking spaces, based on the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).

  1. Vegetable Crisper
    Fruits and veggies may be good for you, but the refrigerator’s crisper drawers are one of the top places you’ll find bacteria in the kitchen. That’s right; your produce bins can house Salmonella and Listeria. In addition to those germs, they can also harbor yeast and mold.

Reduce germs in the kitchen: Take the time to clean out your refrigerator and wash the bins in warm soapy water. Also, wipe down crisper drawer handles with a clean microfiber cloth once a day.

  1. Meat Compartment and Deli Bin
    It’s no secret that raw meat can introduce bacteria to your kitchen, but that doesn’t stop most people from storing it in their fridges. Those lunch meats need a place to live, too. Like your crisper, meat drawers can get lined with Salmonella, yeast, and mold. Another baddie that can thrive in these compartments is the infamous E. coli.

Reduce germs in the kitchen: Clean your meat and deli drawers, just as you would the vegetable bins using the instructions above. Another way to help prevent the spread of illness is to learn to properly organize your refrigerator so that you can reduce cross-contamination concerns.

  1. Blender Gaskets and Can Openers
    Do you ever skip taking your blender apart to clean. The same goes for can openers that get tossed directly into drawers after use. These kitchen items can be breeding grounds for Salmonella, E. coli, yeast, and mold.

Reduce germs in the kitchen: Take apart your blender and clean every last bit of the appliance in hot soapy water. The same goes for your can opener, minus the disassembly, of course. Just make sure all blender components or openers are 100% dry before reassembling or stowing them away.

  1. Rubber Spatulas
    Unfortunately, your favorite rubber spatula could be teeming with E. coli, yeast, and mold. And those probably aren’t three of the ingredients in your grandmother’s pound cake recipe.

Reduce germs in the kitchen: Take two-piece spatulas apart before cleaning them. If they’re dishwasher safe, then that’s your best course of action. However, wooden-handled spatulas should get washed by hand. Regardless of where the cleaning gets done, make sure you thoroughly dry your spatulas before returning them to utensil canisters or drawers.

  1. Food Storage Containers With Rubber Seals
    Glass or plastic storage containers that keep food locked in with rubber seals are a worthy investment for any home cook. Something scary can lurk underneath those air-tight seals, though—several tiny somethings, actually, including Salmonella, yeast, and mold. And you thought your coworkers were the only ones getting into your leftovers in the office fridge.

Reduce germs in the kitchen: Wash rubber-sealed food storage in hot soapy water or the dishwasher (after checking the manufacturer’s care instructions, of course). When washing by hand, take extra time to clean the area around the seal. You may be unpleasantly surprised by what you find.

There’s no way you’ll ever be able to get rid of all the yeast, mold, and bacteria in the kitchen. Microorganisms are just a part of life, but by knowing the areas where the most germs are found and cleaning appropriately, you may help prevent the spread of illness in your home.

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