What are the Germiest Kitchen Items?

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What are the Germiest Kitchen Items?
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What are the Germiest Kitchen Items?

It's vital to keep a clean kitchen. It not only takes care of bacteria that's harmful to your health, but ensures that your food will taste as fresh and tasty as possible.

Check out this slideshow for kitchen cleaning tips and suggestions.

Coffee Machine

Mix one part white vinegar to two parts water (should amount to a full pot) and run it through your machine. Dump the mixture down the drain, then follow with running through one full pot of water.

If it's been a while since you last cleaned your machine, repeat the water and vinegar process up to two times.

Toaster

It may come as no surprise that the toaster is one of the least often cleaned appliances, but we have a cleaning method that is simple.

First, remove the tray and clean. Then, flip the toaster upside down and shake out any crumbs.

Garbage Disposal

Does your garbage disposal smell? Garbage disposals need to be cleaned, too, and we have an easy solution. Grab an ice tray and fill it with vinegar. Freeze into cubes, throw two to three cubes in your disposal and hit the button.

Vinegar will not only help disinfect and clean, but remove unwanted odors. Other tips include grinding fresh citrus, such as a slice of lemon, or powdering your disposal with baking soda, followed by vinegar. This will also help unclog and clean your kitchen piping.

Blender

Cleaning out one of your most germy kitchen tools, your blender, can be a pain if you don't know what you are doing.

We recommend cleaning it right after you are done using it. Simply empty your blended contents, quickly rinse and fill your blender with hot water and add a squirt of detergent. Then turn on the blender. Try different settings to make sure all the nooks and crannies get covered.

Microwave

In a microwave-safe bowl, create a solution of one part water, one part vinegar and fresh lemon slices or freshly squeezed lemon. Place in the microwave, and set on high for five minutes. This should help disinfect and steam clean, loosening up stubborn food splashes on the interior. Remove the bowl, and use a towel to wipe down the inside with the boiled solution.

For hard-to-remove food, use the actual lemon peel to scrub.

Tip: Does your microwave have an odor? Microwave a little natural essential oil in some water, or crumple up newspapers and leave them in your microwave overnight.

Garbage Can

Depending on what kind of garbage can you have, the easiest solution may be to toss the garbage and pop the can in the bathtub! Give it a clean and thorough scrubbing with hot water, vinegar and baking soda, or, alternatively, try some dish detergent. For garbage cans with extra odor or rotting food, it may be wise to consider using bleach. If using bleach, remember to put on your cleaning gloves and open your windows. Bleach is highly toxic; it can dry out the skin and cause unwanted headaches while cleaning if the room is not ventilated.

Stovetop

Clean this surface with water. Have a tea kettle or pot? Simply boil water and pour a tiny bit over your stovetop to loosen up the splatters. Then use a soft scrub sponge and grime should come off easily.

Refrigerator

First, remove all food and condiments from your refrigerator, tossing out turned and expired products. Second, pull out all of the drawers and shelving, placing them in the kitchen sink. With a soapy mixture (hot water and dish detergent), scrub down all shelving and drawers, then rinse and allow to air dry.

To clean the interior, use one part hot water and vinegar and scrub thoroughly. For stubborn splatters and buildup, use a touch of baking soda or cream of tartar and work into the buildup with a scrub.

To keep your refrigerator fresh and odor-free, keep an open box of baking soda in it.

Dishwasher

Cleaning out your dishwasher is easy. Remove your dishwasher rack and place aside. Using a hot water and vinegar solution (equal parts), scrub down the inside. If you have a stainless steel exterior, try creating a baking soda paste, composed of baking soda with a drizzle of water, and buff. Use a towel to remove the excess.

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Bacteria lurks in some of the most unassuming places -- spots that you may not clean thoroughly or often enough. In fact, studies show that your kitchen is likely the germiest room in your home. Three out of the five of the most germ-ridden areas in your home are all located in the kitchen, according to a NSF International study. The kitchen sponge or dish rag is the single most germy spot in your home followed by the kitchen sink and, in fifth place, the coffee reservoir.

Within the kitchen alone, the NSF's recent study determined that the six items with the highest concentrations of germs are your refrigerator vegetable and meat compartments, blender gaskets, can openers, rubber spatulas and food storage containers with rubber seals.

But these aren't the only scary items in your kitchen. These and other cooking tools host harmful bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella and mold. NSF determined that common kitchen items such as pizza cutters, can openers and rubber spatulas can contain E. Coli, while salmonella was found on spatulas, in blenders and in ice and water dispensers on refrigerators. Yeast and mold were found on everything tested, from strainers to microwave keypads.

These bacteria can make you sick. For some, especially those with weakened immune systems, these germs can cause everything from fevers and allergic reactions to pneumonia and urinary tract infections.

It isn't hard to see why cleaning your kitchen is so important. We've compiled the easiest and most effective ways to clean common kitchen appliances, and also offer some natural approaches so you can steer clear of cleaning chemicals.

Check out our slideshow above to learn the best way to clean your kitchen appliances.

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