Some of the Most Neglected, Surprisingly Gross Areas of the Kitchen
Having a clean kitchen is a priority to many. In an area where food storage and preparation occurs, mitigating germs and dangerous exposure is imperative. There are a slew of surprisingly messy and repulsive areas in kitchens where germs can grow and fester that likely escape our notice. Let's quickly touch on them in hopes that you'll be exposed to all things clean in your kitchen in the future:
Kitchens are a common place where spillage occurs, and sometimes even leaking or flooding. Consequently, people often use a plethora of water and cleaning agents to mop. Both are examples of liquid that can seep between where the floor meets thetrim-work.
Trim area should be caulked and waterproofed when installed, but, over time, waterproof measures and caulking tend to crack, fissure, and let up on their hold. . . .
This creates an area with no air flow, so when water or liquid trails into molding and trim that is no longer properly caulked and waterproofed, it’s a breeding ground for mold, fungus, and other dangerous organisms.
If there’s concern that mold may be growing beneath trim-work, it’s best to defer to professionals: Mold is a serious health threat. Once analyzed and properly mitigated, ensure that the hardiest of caulking solutions is utilized to thoroughly waterproof. Check it annually, too, to ensure the waterproof bond is maintained.
Additionally, leak detectors that are both affordable and pragmatic have become widely available; consider installing one under the sink and in areas vulnerable to hidden leaks.
It’s easy to overlook small areas where liquid and moisture can become conducive to mold and mildew growth. This can include—surprisingly—certain water dispensers, drip-catchers, ice-makers, and even water filtration systems.
While it might sound entirely oxymoronic, since, after all, water filtration systems are meant to provide us with cleaner, safer water, these areas where water is stored can pool stagnant water, which can breed germs and areas conducive to mold and mildew growth.
Some will suggest counteractive agents to mold and mildew, ranging from hydrogen peroxide to bleach to vinegar, but mold is a serious beast, and it can be best to defer to professionals. Spores get air-bound, and the threat of spore inhalation is not a risk anyone wants to take.
Fortunately, many modern water-related technologies, from dispensers to ice-makers and filtration systems, come with cleaning directive specific to the unit and might even have built-in cleaning mechanisms. For instance, a favorite water dispenser we use in our office cleans with ozone at the push of a button!
An area that gets surprisingly gross is within drawers, whether be the back of drawers, corners, or, when people put drawer-liners down, the space between the drawer and liner. Lift a drawer liner, and I challenge you not to cringe at the crumbs, dirt, and debris that were wedged under it!
Some may prefer an adhesive liner; the caveat is that you are banking on not needing to peel it up. However, the adhesive nature helps ensure grossness doesn’t accumulate beneath the drawer liner but it may still accumulate in the back, along the sides, within cracks, and within air bubbles created by a poor adhesive bond. Go for a snug-fitting liner that is water-resistant and clear so you can see any evidence of non-cleanliness wedging around or beneath it.
Another source in the kitchen that can make you flinch and exclaim 'Gross!' might surprise you, considering it's supposed to be a boss at cleaning: The dishwasher.
Over time, food and debris can start to accumulate in areas of the dishwasher, in its corners, recesses, and drain and filter. Do clean the dishwasher interior and filter quarterly. This not only guards against exposure to germinating microbial sources but also likely maintains your dishwasher's performance capacity.
Run your filters under hot water and cycle them through the dishwasher. You may want to include a cup of vinegar as a non-toxic cleaning agent when cleaning the filters.
Though it may sound time-consuming and even daunting to address areas of the kitchen that we may not normally consider cleaning, when our health can be at stake, cleaning these areas becomes increasingly important.