As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to run its course throughout the United States, homeowners everywhere are paying closer attention to how often they wash their hands and clean the surfaces in their homes. Surfaces like countertops, tabletops, doorknobs, and even cabinetry are obvious areas of the home that need to be cleaned, but you may be missing other items and surfaces, particularly in the kitchen that also need sanitizing or replacing regularly.
Dish Rags and Towels
How many of us have a trusty dish towel that we keep handy at all times in the kitchen to dry our hands or wipe away crumbs? Turns out that towel isn’t so trusty, especially for drying your hands. And that dishrag you hung over the sink faucet to dry out overnight so you could use it again? That’s an even bigger breeding ground for germs. Swap out and wash your dish rags and towels daily and toss them when they’ve become heavily stained or tattered.
You may have heard that you can sanitize your sponges daily by placing them in the dishwasher or microwave. You can also soak them in a mixture of ¾ cup of bleach and 1 gallon of water for five minutes and then rinse thoroughly with warm water. But these solutions only work temporarily. It’s best to replace your sponges at least once a month, if not more often.
These have a relatively long shelflife as long as you’re caring for them properly. Plastic cutting boards can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher and wood or bamboo cutting boards can be cleaned after each used with hot, soapy water. Replace cutting boards when they become obviously worn with an unstable surface or deep marks.
Plastic Storage Containers
If you haven’t opened up a Country Crock container expecting to find butter only to find yesterday’s chili instead, then you haven’t gone searching through a family fridge in the South. Unfortunately, those seemingly handy butter and whipped cream containers aren’t exactly sanitary. It seems those one-use containers are made for just that--one use--for a reason. Though one or two reuses are probably fine, over time the chemicals from the plastic can leak into the contents of the container. Toss those one-use containers after one use and replace your plastic storage containers when they become warped, discolored, stained, or foul-smelling.
Reusable Water Bottles
Water bottles are fantastic if they’re cleaned properly daily. Invest in one of those elongated bottle brushes to clean the mouthpiece and the harder to reach areas of the bottle and toss them out when they show signs of wear and tear or have a strange smell.
Water filters are meant to give us cleaner tap water to drink but if you’re not replacing the filter in a timely manner, you might as well drink straight from the faucet. Follow the user manual that came with your filter kit to know when to replace, or follow the general rule of thumb of replacing them every 2 to 6 months.