Is it your dishwashing sponge? Is it your kettle? Come to think of it, when is the last time you REALLY scrubbed down your kitchen? Though we like to believe our homes are clean (cleaner than outside, at least), how clean is our kitchen really?
In fact, the kitchen actually contains one of the dirtiest, most bacteria-ridden items in the whole house. Yes, this thing is even dirtier than your toilet seat!
It is, in fact, harbouring a lot of hidden bacteria. What is it?
THE MAIN CULPRIT: YOUR CHOPPING BOARD
One of the utensils that you use every day is harbouring potentially deadly germs that could cause bacterial food poisoning, and that is your chopping board.
According to the Public Health Malaysia Facebook page, chopping boards that come into contact with raw food, whether in our own kitchen or at any of our favourite restaurants, might be making us sick, especially if they have scratches, stains, and fungus.
Germs like salmonella and E. coli, among others could get trapped inside the scratches of these old chopping boards and is what leads to food poisoning, diarrhoea, and stomach aches.
HOW MUCH BACTERIA IS THERE ON OUR CHOPPING BOARDS?
According to the Public Health post, one square centimetre on an old chopping board can contain more than 24,000 bacteria. This is actually 200 times more bacteria than your toilet seat!
Despite your best intentions, washing it after every use does not protect you from all of these germs.
It is impossible to really get them cleaned because the scratches and grooves are too deep to be cleaned well.
The Facebook post also added that it is common for the public and restaurants to continue using chopping boards despite it not being fit to be used anymore.
HOW OFTEN TO CHANGE CHOPPING BOARD TO PREVENT ILLNESSES?
In order to reduce contamination and ground breeding germs, here are some tips you can follow to ensure clean chopping boards.
1. USE SEPARATE BOARDS
When preparing food, it's important to use separate boards for raw meat and vegetables/ready to eat foods. Make sure you don't get the boards mixed up. You can easily mark the boards to distinguish the differences or buy different coloured boards.
2. DISINFECT YOUR BOARD
Washing alone cannot promise a "hygienically" clean board. Disinfect it by spraying a food grade disinfectant. Allow it to soak for around five minutes and then rinse with running water and dry with a paper towel - not a dirty tea towel.
3. DO NOT USE A CLOTH TO WIPE
You may think you are cleaning it by wiping all the food scraps off of it, but you aren't. Studies have shown that the kitchen cloth is often the dirtiest thing in the house. If you are cleaning up after preparing raw meat, poultry or veg, you should avoid using a cloth because bacteria from these foods can contaminate the cloth and then be spread around the kitchen when you wipe the next surface.
4. REPLACE THEM REGULARLY
If your chopping board is looking old and scratched, you will need to replace it. When your chopping boards get really scratched, bacteria and food will hide in the cracks and crevices and won't come out when washed. It is recommended that you change your chopping board at least 3-4 times a year (depending on how often you use it). You should definitely change your chopping board more often if you use it regularly.
This article was first published in theAsianparent.