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Is There a Difference Between Cleaning and Sanitizing in the Kitchen?
In a word – YES! Cleaning is where you remove the visible dirt and crumbs that you can see and sanitize is where you are removing bacteria and killing germs on the surfaces.
Let’s define Cleaning – This is a process that cleans visible dirt from surfaces like your countertops, stovetops, and fridge or freezer tops. Cleaning would include dusting, on windowsills, light fixtures, and open shelves. Cleaning includes removing odors and putting away clutter and general clearing of the kitchen area. In general – organizing the kitchen and making surfaces look clean and shiny!
Sometimes cleaning may require more effort than sanitising as it takes more energy to clear away, wash, rinse and drying items in the kitchen.
How do you clean – Cleaning the surfaces would include soap and water or an all-purpose household cleaner applied with a kitchen sponge or cloth and rinsed with a clean kitchen sponge or cloth. If you are doing the dishes and want to dry them using a cloth or wait for them to dry on the drying rack, the choice is yours. Just pack them away and you’re done!
Cleaning surfaces with your basic soap and water or all-purpose cleaner dilutes surface bacteria and will reduce the spread of micro-organisms that could cause health infections to you and your family!
Let’s define Sanitising – Sanitising a surface area is a commitment to kill bacteria and disinfect all surfaces in the kitchen by killing viruses, germs, and all microorganisms to within the health and safety parameters of general public health standards! Sanitizing is especially important in areas where food is prepared, and microorganisms grow. Sanitizing is extremely important for foodborne illnesses such as Salmonella.
Sanitizing might not include any chemical products as washing something with extremely hot water – at least 180 degrees in the dishwasher or by steam cleaning is effective also. These are both effective methods of sanitizing. Sanitizing reduces the growth of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Most sanitizing products will promise to rid your surfaces of harmful germs and leave your kitchen germ-free! To sanitize your kitchen you will not necessarily have to energetically scrub, but rather spray the surface and leave it to air dry!
The Age-Old Question – Should you Clean and Sanitize?
YES! YES! YES!
Honestly, if you are going to clean your kitchen, do it properly and be assured of your family’s health and safety at all times! Watching your healthy kids playing is so much better than having them in bed with a bacterial infection!
Your Basic Step-By-Step Guide To Cleaning And Sanitizing Your Kitchen!
- Throw everything that belongs in the trash can in the trash first.
- Now, clear away the clutter.
- There is a place for everything, and everything has its place – so just do it!
- Remove dirt and grime from all surfaces.
- Spray surfaces with a all-purpose household cleaner.
- Wipe down surfaces with a clean wet and warm material cloth or kitchen sponge.
- Allow to dry.
- Spray all surfaces with a Sanitizing spray.
- Allow contact time as per instructions (usually 5 minutes)
- Now wipe off with a paper towel or dry cloth.
In order to clean your kitchen, removing all dirt, and killing surface bacteria, these steps will ensure that you have a clean sanitized kitchen. Free from odors and germs and a healthy environment for cooking and making a cup of tea or coffee!
Ever Wondered What Chemicals You Should Use In The Kitchen?
Chemicals that you use in the kitchen should be tested and approved by the regulatory health standards locally or internationally!
Remember – this is where you cook your families healthy meals and you have to ensure that no harmful chemicals are used.
NOW – Dare I say this? Please don’t use chemicals tested on animals! After all besides our pets, should we not also care about the rabbits and monkeys used in these tests! AND I know the answer – Yes, we do, because we care enough to ensure a clean sanitized kitchen, we will naturally care about nature!
Chemicals should have a label on them specifying the contents, ideally, they should be in a spray bottle with the nozzle able to adjust to spray a fine mist to ensure all surface areas are covered.
When using a sanitizing spray, you should always ensure the surface is dust, dirt, and grime-free. This will ensure that the sanitizing mist reaches areas where bacteria can hide.
Where Will I Find The Time To Clean And Sanitize My Kitchen?
That’s an easy answer – Develop a cleaning schedule!
How do I develop a cleaning schedule? Well – we have the answer for you!
It is so easy that all areas are cleaned at least once per week as a normal cleaning routine, just list the areas specific to your household and family routines and needs! Incorporate the principle of clean-as-you-go!
Nobody believes me – BUT – by the time I dish up all my cooking utensils, bowls, and pots are washed and dried. As I cook, I basically clean what I’ve used, it’s amazing! You get so used to it that it becomes routine, and that’s what you want. A routine to follow!
Your general Cleaning Routine.
Start by making a list that includes the areas most often used – Daily used areas and items!
- Kitchen surfaces
- Kitchen Tables
- Refrigerator handles
- Cutting Boards
- Stove Top and oven
- Electric Frying Pan
- Any area that food will come into contact with daily
Areas in the kitchen that are touched by your hands daily.
- Kitchen cupboard handles
- Drying racks
- Open shelves
- Shelves or cupboards where food is stored.
Are we done? – Nope! So what’s next?
These are other areas in the kitchen that don’t come into contact with food daily but should be cleaned regularly.
- Kitchen Floors
- Cabinet doors
- Kitchen table legs
- Other Cooking Equipment
Make your own Checklists!
Having a Checklist for your cleaning schedule is important and makes it easier to remember to clean areas and items that are not used every day.
Keeping a hands-on approach to these items daily will keep your kitchen clean daily and make your weekly and monthly deep cleaning and sanitizing routines much faster and less labor-intensive. AND save you time!
- Once you have cooked your meals, wipe down the countertops and stove tops.
- Sweep the floor and mop up any spots on the floor.
- Take an all-purpose cleaner and clean the sink.
- Wash the dishes and leave to dry, pack away just before bedtime!
- Do a quick tidying up by putting away any items that don’t belong in the kitchen.
Set aside time weekly to delve deeper into your cleaning routine. Develop your cleaning process and clean like a pro! I like to do my weekly kitchen clean on a Monday.
- Take a microfibre cloth and clean the outside of your large kitchen appliances; for example; the refrigerator and stove. Also, any small kitchen appliances standing on countertops like the microwave, the toaster, the blender, and the coffee maker. If your appliances are stainless steel use a stainless-steel spray cleaner to ensure there are no marks or streaks. These special cleaners for stainless steel appliances prevent marks and leave your appliances shining and new!
- Take special care when wiping the refrigerator door and handles, including the inside of the door and handles.
- If your refrigerator has a water dispenser, don’t forget to clean, sanitize and refill.
- Clear the leftovers from the refrigerator and throw out any items past their expiration date.
- Give the floor a quick sweep before mopping, just to get rid of pet hair or surface dust. If you are a messy cook – much like I am, then a quick mop daily is a must. Most people however mop once or twice a week. A good floor cleaner is a must as you don’t want to have a build-up of floor cleaner, only to have to deep cleanse more often.
- The Kitchen sink issue – You do the dishes daily, now weekly, clean that sink. Take a kitchen sponge and an all-purpose cleaner, first rinse out the sink with hot water. Now scour with the sponge, make sure to rid the crevices and drain area of small bits of leftover food. Don’t laugh – I use a toothbrush when I really want to get into those areas! Now your sink is clean, rinse with hot water and wipe down the faucets with a bit of white vinegar, it is a cleaner and disinfectant.
- A good cleaner for kitchen cabinets is vinegar and water, it removes odors and disinfects.
- Clean inside the kitchen drawers, use the same water and vinegar mix.
- Once the kitchen is clean, put the dishcloths and dishtowels into the wash.
- Lastly, a quick check in the pantry of kitchen storage cupboards, throw out any expired items. Wipe the shelves with the water and vinegar solution, and you’re all set!
If your daily and weekly cleaning routines are up to scratch, your monthly clean will be a breeze!
Monthly Cleaning Checklist
- Thoroughly wipe down the inside doors and walls of your cabinets and drawers, clean the front and back of the doors and handles.
- Clean that oven from inside to outside. If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, put on some rubber cleaning gloves, because you are about to get down and dirty! The easy way is to buy a foaming oven cleaner, spray the oven, from top to bottom and allow it to process according to the instructions. Once processed take a kitchen sponge and some hot water and wipe off the oven cleaner, taking care to rinse the sponge and repeat the process. If you are feeling eco-friendly make your own oven cleaner with baking soda and white vinegar, mix in some hot water and clean out your oven with a kitchen sponge or cloth. To give your oven a good clean remove the oven racks first and soak them in hot water in your kitchen sink or laundry basin. If you are lucky enough to have a self-cleaning oven, set the controls and make yourself a cup of tea while the oven cleans itself.
- To clean your coffee maker, take it apart and soak the parts in the sink in warm soapy water, rinse and put on the drying rack to air dry while you move on to other items.
- Clean the inside of your refrigerator at least once a month. Remove all items from the shelves and doors. Remove the shelves. Place the shelves in the sink in warm soapy water while you take a cleaning cloth soaked in warm water and wipe down the inside. You can use an all-purpose cleaner but remember to check the chemical content. A solution of bleach mixed with warm water is a great sanitizer for your refrigerator. Now wash the shelves, allow them to dry, and replace all items once you have checked expiration dates.
- Move your refrigerator forward so that it is away from the wall. Dust and clean behind the refrigerator, including the refrigerator coils. To clean the coils, take a feather duster and dust along the coils taking special care to not dislodge any coils. Remove dust and debris sweep or vacuum where the refrigerator usually stands and move it back into place carefully.
- When did you last deep clean the freezer? Empty out the food into the sink, check the expiration dates, and throw the items that are past their expiration dates into the trash can. Defrost the freezer by switching it off at the plug point. Break up the frost that has formed, clean out the ice machine and ice bin. Make a mixture of bleach and hot water and use a kitchen sponge or cloth to wipe out the freezer thoroughly. Remember to switch the freezer on again and put all foods back into the freezer.
- To clean the inside of your dishwasher, place a bowl of white vinegar with some lemon slices on the top shelf. Set the dishwasher to run on a hot cycle. This will leave your dishwasher clean and odor-free.
- Time to clean the kitchen sink. First clean the drain by making a solution of hot water, baking soda, and vinegar. Pour this down the drain. Now use an all-purpose cleaner and clean the entire sink focusing on corners, crevasses, and bends in the sink. Rinse with hot water and wipe it dry with a paper towel to get that shiny look!
- Cleaning the trash can is nobody’s favorite task, Using rubber gloves sanitize the trash can with a solution of bleach and hot water. Wipe inside and out taking special care to clean in those hard-to-reach areas. I always like to spray after I have cleaned with a spray sanitizer, just for that extra sanitizing and that nice clean smell!
- Kitchen cupboards can be wiped with a microfibre cloth and an all-purpose cleaner. First dust off the basic dirt and grime before you wipe with a wet warm cloth. This is a good time to clean light fixtures and bulbs, and dust off the ceiling fans in the kitchen.
- Focus on cleaning the microwave inside and out. Remove the glass plate and wash in the sink, give it a quick dry with a dish towel, before you replace it, take a solution of bleach and hot water and wipe the inside and outside of the microwave, taking care to rinse the cloth often to ensure maximum cleaning and wiping away any small pieces of food debris left inside the microwave. Now replace the glass plate and place a bowl on the plate with water, vinegar, and lemon slices. Turn the microwave on for 2 minutes. Now open the door, remove the bowl and wipe the microwave dry with a microfibre cloth. For the outside glass, you can use a glass cleaner and a paper towel to ensure you have a spot-free clean glass door.
- To clean the stove, use soapy warm water and a sponge, this might require some extra cleaning on the tiles or wall area around the stovetop, if you are a messy cook. For any really greasy spots use vinegar or an all-purpose cleaner to wash off the oil spills.
Important To Remember When Cleaning Your Kitchen
Daily cleaning makes weekly cleaning easier and faster, and need I say it – weekly cleaning makes that dreaded task of the monthly clean – a total breeze!!
Last but not least!
Cleaning and sanitizing your kitchen is a basic requirement for living a healthy lifestyle. Keeping an area such as your kitchen clean prevents the spread of bacteria, eliminates the possibility of food poisoning, keeps insects away, and prevents allergic reactions to dust particles.
The kitchen is often called “the heart of the home” make sure your heart and your home are clean and sanitized for your loving family, whether they want to make a quick sandwich or whether you are cooking the family dinner. Be relaxed in knowing that you are ensuring the health of your family in this most important area of your home!