Keeping Your Kitchen Safe During COVID-19
Keeping your kitchen safe during COVID-19 is on everyone’s minds these days. There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has changed our regular behaviors over the last few months. Quick, mindless trips to the grocery store now involve the possibility of transmission of the virus. With all of the time spent at home and in the kitchen, you may be considering the best way to your kitchen sanitized and safe.
We at Midwest Kitchens know this pandemic is requiring more thought and diligence to keep families safe and healthy! After you come home from the store, social distancing is no longer required. However, other challenges present themselves and there still may be opportunity for the transmission of the virus. Keeping your kitchen safe during COVID-19, where most family members tend to gather, is imperative during this time.
Steps for Preventing the Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the primary mode of transmission for coronavirus is person-to-person contact. However, we should still exercise cautious about food handling and preparation and be extra diligent with washing hands, cleaning and disinfecting the kitchen.
After leaving the grocery store, you should use hand sanitizer in your car. In addition, after you bring the grocery bags inside your home, immediately wash your hands. If you don’t regularly use hand sanitizer in your car after visiting the store, you may even want to go inside to wash your hands before returning to your car to unload grocery bags.
According to this article by Eater magazine, following these 4 simple steps for food safety can ensure far less possibility of contamination:
1. Clean: wash hands, surfaces and all utensils used for cooking;
2. Separate: keep raw meat, poultry items, eggs and seafood separated from the other groceries;
3. Cook: make sure foods are cooked through and reach a safe temperature to avoid illness; and
4. Chill: refrigerate or freeze any leftovers within two hours.
Preparing a Meal
Most people have been eating the vast majority of their meals at home. While people are likely cooking more meals at home right now, it’s imperative that you’re keeping your kitchen safe during COVID-19. According to Don Schaffner, a professor of food microbiology at Rutgers University, proper cooking procedures and safe handling of foods like raw meat is even more important during a pandemic. As long as we take proper sanitizing and food handling steps, the threat of transmitting the virus from food is unlikely.
Cleaning Common Surfaces
Kitchens and bathrooms are two rooms in the home that harbor the most germs. According to this article published by Healthline, COVID-19 can live on some surfaces, such as cardboard for 24 hours and plastic and stainless steel for up to 3 days. While this information sounds alarming, when we take proper steps for cleaning and sanitation, we can kill a variety of germs on surfaces.
According to Becky Rapinchuk, who started the blog Clean Mama and product line by the same name, the safest way to keep the virus from spreading in your home is to disinfect the areas that get touched the most. In the kitchen, this includes drawer and cupboard knobs and pulls and as well as all handles on appliances such as the refrigerator, dishwasher and oven.
The CDC provides guidance on Cleaning and Disinfection for Households to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Most EPA-certified cleaning products sold on the market are efficient and effective at cleaning everyday surfaces. By using the products listed on the EPA’s website, you will be keeping your kitchen safe from COVID-19.
Many people believe that bleach is the strongest and most powerful cleaning solution. However, one must use proper handling and precautions when using bleach due to its strength and toxicity to humans and pets.
How to Clean and Disinfect Hard Surfaces
The CDC recommends the following when cleaning solid, non-porous surfaces:
- Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning.
- If using reusable gloves, they should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes.
- Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used.
- Wash hands immediately after removing gloves.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
- A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available HERE. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for (concentration, application method and contact time, etc.)
In addition, the CDC states that before using any diluted household bleach solutions, you must first ensure it is used on the correct surface. Bleach is a very strong, toxic substance that can potentially be harmful. Therefore, you’ll want to follow directions closely and use proper ventilation in your home.
How to Clean and Disinfect Soft Surfaces
According to the CDC, we should clean soft surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes as follows:
- Clean the surface using soap and water or with cleaners appropriate for use on these surfaces.
- Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.
- Disinfect with an EPA-registered household disinfectant.
- Vacuum as usual.
In the age of a global pandemic, it is important to routinely clean frequently touched surfaces to prevent the spread of the disease. High touch surfaces include areas such as: tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
In conclusion, we know that keeping your family safe during COVID-19 is of utmost importance. Frequent hand washing and social distancing are the most important precautions one can take to protect against COVID-19 and other viruses. Since we are eating at home and frequently gathering in the kitchen, we want to ensure that our kitchens are as clean as possible. At this time of anxiety and uncertainty about the pandemic, it is empowering to know that taking a few simple steps can help protect your family from disease.