11 Sneaky Places Germs are Hiding in Your Kitchen

11 Sneaky Places Germs are Hiding in Your Kitchen
See Gallery
11 Sneaky Places Germs are Hiding in Your Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the germiest places in the average home.

Refrigerator Drawers

The produce drawer in your refrigerator can be contaminated with salmonella, listeria, yeast and mold. To clean it, remove the drawer from the fridge and wash it in warm, soapy water.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Kitchen Sink

It’s no secret; lots of germs are washed down the kitchen sink. Make sure the pathogens don’t linger by disinfecting it daily with a solution of bleach and water.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Can Opener

The best way to ensure that salmonella, E.coli, yeast and mold aren’t growing on your can opener is to wash it in the dishwasher after each use. If you don’t have a dishwasher, hand-wash after each use but be sure to pay extra attention to the area around the blade.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Rubber Spatula

Check to see if your spatula can be disassembled. If so, remove the handle and wash both pieces in the dishwasher or by hand to remove any E.coli, yeast or mold that may be present. If the spatula cannot be disassembled, be sure to pay special attention to the area where the two pieces join when washing.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Salt and Pepper Shakers

Because they’re handled so frequently, salt and pepper shakers harbor a tremendous amount of germs. The best way to ensure that your salt and pepper shakers are clean is to periodically wipe them down with disinfecting wipes.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Knife Block

Periodically clean your knife block to prevent yeast and mold from thriving. Remove the knives, turn the knife block over to remove any loose debris, and then clean the knife block in hot soapy water using a small brush in each of the slots.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Rubber-Seal Containers

Reusable containers with a rubber seal can harbor salmonella, yeast, and mold. If the rubber seal is removable, remove it before machine or hand washing. If it’s not, be sure to pay special attention to the area around the seal when hand washing.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Coffee Reservoir

Mold, mildew and bacteria can all be hiding in the reservoir of your coffee maker. Clean your coffee maker according to the manufacturers’ instructions frequently; many also recommend using vinegar.

Image Credit: Shutterstock


The blender is another kitchen gadget that needs to be fully disassembled before washing. Be sure to remove the blade and seal from the jar and base before washing to prevent salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold from thriving. Be sure to dry each piece thoroughly before reassembling.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Sponges, Rags, and Towels

Your dish sponge, rag and towels all create an ideal environment for pathogens. Be sure to wash and change your rags and towels frequently and microwave your dish sponge for a few seconds after each use to help disinfect and dry it.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Rubber Seal on Your Refrigerator Door

Much like the rubber seal on food storage containers, the seal around the door of your refrigerator or freezer can harbor harmful bacteria. Remember to clean it periodically with soapy water and then dry it thoroughly with a clean towel.

Image Credit: Shutterstock


When asked to think of the germiest place in their home, few people would think of their kitchen. But, in reality, the kitchen harbors some of the most germ-ridden items in the average home. Though we focus a lot of attention on cleaning and sanitation in the kitchen, studies show that germs are still lurking in some of the most unexpected places.

Click Here to see the Slideshow for the 11 Sneaky Places Germs are Hiding in Your Kitchen

In a study conducted by the NSF, 36 percent of kitchen items tested contained E. coli, 36 percent contained salmonella, 14 percent were contaminated with listeria and 100 percent of the items harbored yeast and mold, 43 percent of which contained yeast or mold at levels high enough to be a serious concern.

Not surprisingly, these pathogen-ridden surfaces and gadgets come into contact with our food on a daily basis, particularly raw foods, increasing the odds that we will get sick from one of many food-borne illnesses.

Common culprits include kitchen gadgets that aren't (or can't be) disassembled when they're washed. Salmonella, E. coli, yeast and mold can all thrive on gadgets, even after they've been washed in hot, soapy water. Whenever possible, disassemble multi-piece kitchen gadgets before cleaning them.

Similarly, germs are often found in rubber seals. The rubber seal around the refrigerator freezer door require special attention to clean properly and rubber-seal storage containers should be disassembled when they are cleaned, if possible.

Dish sponges, rags and towels also often contribute to the problem. Clean and replace these items often and, in the case of sponges, take extra preventative measures (such as microwaving the sponge to help it dry out) to avoid spreading germs.

Check out the slideshow above to learn the sneakiest places that germs hide in your kitchen.

Most Common Kitchen Myths Busted
11 Common Kitchen Mistakes
How to Make the Perfect PB&J
How to Clean Your Refrigerator
10 Reasons to Love Avocados

Read Full Story

Sign up for the Best Bites by AOL newsletter to get the most delicious recipes and hottest food trends delivered straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.