Last Updated On August 7th, 2020
The kitchen is one of the most important areas in our home. It is a haven – we create delicious meals here for our families to enjoy. Kitchens are also often a social hub – the place we sit to enjoy a coffee with friends or chat with our loved ones about their day.
Unfortunately, the kitchen is also a magnet for dirt, grime, and harmful bacteria. As we spend so much time in this area, it puts us at greater risk if it is not clean and well-maintained.
In this article, we look at why personal hygiene and kitchen hygiene rules are important. In addition, we provide 10 food hygiene rules that you can follow; so that your kitchen is a beacon of cleanliness!
Why Is Personal Hygiene in the Kitchen Important?
The kitchen is the main area for preparing food and eating it. As a result, it is a hotspot for harmful bacteria and parasites.
In addition, we cannot see bacteria – it is a microorganism and completely invisible to the naked eye.
These two factors combined mean that following strict food hygiene rules is vital. We must eliminate bacteria from our kitchens and ensure it cannot grow.
Similarly, we must make sure our food is free from bacteria and parasites to prevent food poisoning, diarrhoea, and other sicknesses.
Safety and hygiene in the kitchen ensure that we can enjoy delicious food without fear of contamination or illness. Also, we can take pride in our immaculate kitchens and the standards we maintain them at, too.
If you feel your hygiene standards are not up to scratch, we have created 10 kitchen hygiene rules to help.
1. Wash Your Hands
Hand washing is THE most important kitchen hygiene rule. We use our hands for everything. As a result, hands are one of the most prominent ways we transfer bacteria.
You must, therefore, always wash your hands before any type of food preparation. In addition, it is best practice to wash your hands each time you enter the kitchen – regardless of the purpose.
Washing hands frequently is a must. However, you must wash them thoroughly. To maintain good personal hygiene, wash your hands for a minimum of 30 seconds.
In addition, make sure that you wash all parts of your hands including fingertips, palms, and the back of your hand. The CDC created a great hand washing guide.
2. Maintain Your Kitchen Bin
The bin is a potential minefield for food safety. Firstly, you should have a high-quality bin. Ideally, it should be made from materials that are easy to wipe. In addition, it should have a removable interior to make trash removal simple.
Aside from having a high-quality bin, it must be emptied regularly. In an ideal world, your bin should be emptied daily into your external general waste unit.
If you do not empty your bin often, bacteria can grow rapidly. Remember that you will throw food leftovers into the bin – raw meat, uneaten dinner remains etc. This combination of leftover food deteriorates rapidly and can cause a major hygiene issue.
Moreover, you will eventually notice unpleasant smells and things like maggots could even breed. In short, empty your bin often to prevent this hygiene nightmare!
3. Maintain Your Fridge and Freezer
We automatically assume that because our fridge and freezer are cold, that harmful microbe cannot grow here. That is not true – you must still treat your food storage units with the same diligence as you do the rest of your kitchen.
To improve kitchen hygiene, at least once per month, remove all shelves and compartments from your fridge. Wash them thoroughly with warm, soapy water. Next, dry them thoroughly before replacing them.
Your freezer should be defrosted once the ice begins to build up. Whilst defrosting your fridge, take the opportunity to clean all the compartments with warm, soapy water too.
4. Regularly Clean Your Sink, Oven, and Counters
The sink, oven, and kitchen counters are the main areas for food storage and preparation. As a result, these are the main areas that bacteria can grow.
To improve kitchen hygiene, and prevent food poisoning and other illness, clean these items regularly.
The sink and kitchen counters should be cleaned daily. Wipe down the sink each time you use it as part of your kitchen hygiene process.
In addition, wipe your kitchen counters with disinfectant – don’t wipe around items on your counters, take them off and wipe underneath them too.
5. Don’t Defrost on Your Kitchen Counter
It is surprising how many people defrost food directly on their kitchen counters. By doing this, you are increasing the probability that harmful microbes are introduced into your food.
Food should be defrosted in either:
- The refrigerator
- In cold water
- In the microwave
In addition to this, meat should be thawed in airtight packaging and placed in cold water. Ideally, you should change the cold water regularly. Defrosting food correctly helps prevent the spread of harmful microbes, and cross-contamination.
6. Cook Raw Foods Thoroughly
One of the best-known food hygiene facts is that under-cooking food can result in food poisoning and even harsher illnesses like salmonella.
Under-cooked meat, in particular, is a kitchen hygiene disaster waiting to happen. Of course, some meats like steak can be cooked lightly, but other items like sausage, chicken, and burgers must be cooked properly.
Ideally, the minimum oven temperature should be 170 degrees Fahrenheit – at this temperature, viruses and bacteria are killed.
Check your food to ensure it is cooked – you can do this by cutting into the item. For example, you could cut into a sausage to see if it is still pink in the centre.
7. Store Food Correctly
Food storage is a vital aspect of kitchen hygiene rules. Follow these rules when storing food:
- Ensure cooked food is stored at room temperature or lower
- All food in your fridge should be covered
- Raw meat should be stored at the bottom to prevent dripping
- Check storage instructions on food packages
- Always check use-by and sell-by dates
- Any leftovers must be stored and covered within 2 hours of cooking
By following these simple storage rules, you can greatly improve your kitchen hygiene.
8. Avoid Cross-Contamination of Foods
Cross-contamination is a term regularly used by food handlers. This is a primary method by which bacteria are spread.
For example, you have a piece of raw chicken on a chopping board. It has sat there for several hours and has small amounts of bacteria in its juices.
You then proceed to cut some fresh vegetables on the same board. Unwittingly, the bacteria from the chicken juices are transferred to the vegetables – they are now contaminated.
To avoid situations like this, keep food separate. Use individual chopping boards if possible. For example, you may have one for meat, and one for vegetables. You can even purchase colour-coded chopping boards to help prevent cross-contamination.
9. Always Clean Your Chopping Board After Use
Building on the above point, your chopping boards should be cleaned after every use. Make sure that you clean the chopping board thoroughly – use disinfectant and give it a hard scrub.
Furthermore, ensure that any loose pieces of food are scrubbed off and placed in the bin.
Failing to clean your chopping boards can result in the rapid growth of bacteria. This, in turn, can contaminate food next time you use the utensil.
This is food hygiene basics. However, it is surprising how often we can forget to do something so simple. As you clean your chopping board more, the process will become ingrained into your memory – it will eventually become an automatic process!
10. Use Absorbent Kitchen Towels to Clean Grease Stains
Grease can be a major source of bacteria in our kitchen. It is a sticky, thick substance that is produced from cooking certain foods like burgers.
Have you ever tried to clean grease with a sponge or kitchen cloth? You may succeed in cleaning the stain. However, look at your sponge – it is now covered in a greasy residue that is difficult to remove.
This can result in the growth of bacteria. Furthermore, it can mean that you transfer grease to other items when washing.
To clean grease stains, use absorbent kitchen towels. These paper towels will effectively remove the stain. In addition, you can simply dispose of them and therein prevent cross-contamination.
Transform Your Kitchen Today With These Food Hygiene Rules
Food safety and personal hygiene are incredibly important. Not just in the kitchen, but throughout our homes. They are primary methods of preventing sickness and more serious ailments.
By practising these kitchen hygiene rules, you can make sure that bacteria is not spread. In addition, you can eliminate bad odours, infections, and unpleasant tastes from your kitchen entirely.
As a result, your kitchen can be the focal point of your home. It doesn’t have to stop there. You can also use these hygiene tips to improve your well being and house cleanliness throughout.