1. Washing dishes in a bowl of soapy water
In England we’re one of the few countries who fill a bowl of soapy water and use that same water to wash all our dishes. In other countries it’s common to scrub all items with soap and pile them up in the sink and then rinse them all in one go with hot water at the end. While we tend to think that our way is better, it’s actually not very hygienic as we end up washing dishes in water that is already dirty. If you’re not ready to drastically change the way you wash your dishes, at least make sure you rinse all items before putting them in the soapy water, wash the least dirty items first, and rinse them with running water before leaving them to drain (don’t leave them with dirty bubbles!).
2. Using the same cloth for different surfaces/purposes
This is one of the worst kitchen cleaning mistakes. Our kitchens are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and when we use the same cloths for all different surfaces, all we’re doing is spreading that bacteria around. Always clean your cloths regularly and don’t use the same tea towel to wipe floor spillages, wipe children’s mouths, and to dry your dishes! It’s important to have different cloths/towels for work tops, floors, and human hands (try getting different colours). Change tea towels at least once a day and always use a new one to dry dishes (or better still, leave dishes to drain naturally).
Bonus tip: if using anti-bacterial wipes, use a different one for each surface or part of your kitchen, otherwise you’re just using them to simply spread bacteria around!
3. Neglecting your sink
Be honest, when was the last time you actually gave the inside of your sink (and washing up bowl) a good clean? The inside of our sinks build up a layer of grime so it’s important to clean them regularly. Use a multi-purpose anti-bacterial spray and give the whole sink, taps, plug hole, and washing up bowl a good scrub at least once a week!
4. Using dirty cleaning equipment
Just as we don’t tend to think about cleaning our sinks, we also often forget to clean our cleaning equipment! If you use the same old rag week in week out, you’re probably doing more harm than good by spreading bacteria around your house. Sanitise cleaning cloths and brushes regularly, shake out brushes and remove hair, clean out and wipe down the parts of your vacuum when emptying it (which must be done as soon as it’s full to avoid the dust and dirt being blown back out through the vents).
5. Cleaning pot and pans immediately
It’s common practice to rinse pots and pans immediately or leave them to soak in water to avoid food sticking to them. However, if you do this while they’re still hot, the pots and pans can warp and Teflon can be ruined. Instead, wait until pots and pans have cooled down before rinsing or washing them.
6. Not cleaning inside appliances
When was the last time you took your blender apart or opened up your coffee machine to clean its insides? Have you shaken out the crumbs in your toaster this week?! Appliances such as these are notorious for bacteria growth in the places that don’t often see the light of day, so it’s important to open these up or take them apart and give them a thorough clean at least once every few weeks.
7. Not cleaning re-usable shopping bags
It’s great we are using re-usable shopping bags to help reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment. But one thing we often overlook is the cleanliness of these bags. When we fill them week after week with our groceries, meat products, toiletries, and more, they become a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. We recommend you wash these bags regularly. For plastic bags, wipe them down with anti-bacterial multi-purpose spray inside and out and for material bags, put them in the washing machine on a high temperature or in a bowl of boiling water and disinfectant. Ensure you only use your bags for your groceries. Try to keep meat products separate. And when you get home, don’t put these bags on your kitchen worktops!
8. Not cleaning your oven after each use
Oven cleaning is often the bain of our kitchen cleaning lives. Not a job most of us like to do. So why do we leave the dirt and grime to build up so much that it becomes a mammoth job we forever put off? Make your life easier by giving your oven a good wipe down with multi-purpose spray after each use (once the oven has cooled down). For more established grease and grime, leave the cleaner on overnight and rinse the next day. Use an oven-safe disposable mat at the bottom of your oven to catch spills. If you really can’t bring yourself to keep your oven clean, think about getting the professionals in.
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9. Cleaning floors first
If you clean from the ground up, you’re probably creating more work for yourself and not leaving your kitchen as clean as it could be. Always work from the top down, as dirt and dust falls to the floor as we go. Your final job should be a vacuum and floor clean.
10. Cleaning chopping boards with only soapy water
The final common kitchen cleaning mistake is to wash chopping boards with only soapy water. Wooden and plastic chopping boards have tiny holes in them where bacteria and grime can get stuck and breed. Washing with soapy water will not kill these germs. For an anti-bacterial clean leave the boards to soak in a diluted bleach solution of 2 tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. We recommend you keep a separate plastic chopping board for meat.
If you have any other common kitchen cleaning mistakes you think we should include in this list, please let us know in the comments below!
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