You’ve swept and mopped the floor, wiped down the worktops, cleaned out the fridge and even given the sink a good scrub after you’ve finished with it so that everything in your kitchen is gleaming. You put the cloths you’ve used under the sink for next time and breathe a sigh of relief that that’s it for another week and your kitchen is now free from germs.
Or is it? Not according to the results of a recent investigation carried out for the BBC’s Trust Me I’m a Doctor series.
Dishcloths: The dirtiest thing in your kitchen?
Working alongside scientists from Northumbria University, the programme team conducted an experiment that saw three families given a removable worktop to use in their kitchens and keep clean with antibacterial wipes, taking regular swabs from the surface. These were then tested in the lab. Microbial physiologist Lynn Dover explained: “The first samples we looked at were taken one hour after the worktop had been wiped, and there was already evidence of bacteria and fungal growth.”
This, therefore, indicates that wipes intended for cleaning surfaces like kitchen worktops barely kill germs. If signs of reappearance are there within an hour, what’s it going to be like several days after you’ve done the housework? Dr Dover then looked at samples taken 12 hours after cleaning and found “quite dramatic growth” of “lots of different types of fungi”.
The dangers of reusing dishcloths
People often reuse the wipes and cloths that they clean their kitchen with, storing them under the sink from week to week. As a result, this suggests that these storage areas could be being turned into a potentially dangerous breeding ground for bacteria too, while germs could be getting spread across the home each time the housework is done. In fact, additional research carried out at the University of Arizona found that there are around ten million bacteria on each square inch of sponge and approximately one million germs on every square inch of dishcloth.
Therefore, this means that kitchen sponges are on average 200,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat – you don’t want to be spreading all those germs across your kitchen now, do you? But can you really be expected to be wiping down surfaces every couple of hours, using a new cloth each time? That would be a lot of work, but is it the only answer to keeping germs and bacteria at bay? Luckily, it’s not.
What’s the solution?
Using natural disinfectants that have not been diluted with anything can be a much more effective tactic for killing germs than using shop-bought products. For example, vinegar naturally contains acetic acid, which can help to keep bacteria at bay. Of course, you’ll still have to use a cloth to apply the vinegar with though, so the best thing to do is to keep your dishcloth as dry as possible – germs love moisture – and bleach it at least once a week. If you’re especially worried about germs and aren’t sure you’re going to do the best job at removing them from your kitchen work surfaces or cloths, our team of experienced professional cleaners at FastKlean are always here to help thoroughly clean your home. Get in touch with us today to find out more.