Germs. They’re everywhere. No matter how hard we may try to battle them, they always find a way into our homes. Of course, lots of germs are harmless. Some are even arguably good for your health! But many are not and those are certainly not welcome in our homes and near our children. Parents vs. Germs: The Never-Ending War. And some germs fight really, really dirty—literally. They hide out in places that we would never expect (or even have the time to think about cleaning). Luckily, we’ve done our research to help parents like you find these sneaky germs and kick them out once and for all.
Here are 5 of the most surprising places in your kitchen filled with those nasty little germs. With some helpful cleaning tips for these areas, you can get your kitchen—and your family—one step closer to a germ-free, healthy life. Happy parenting!
- Can Opener
How many times have you used a can opener and tucked it right back in the drawer without a thought? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Can openers are an item in our kitchens that we use every single day. We use them for easy prep meals, canned fruits and vegetables, even pet food! Unfortunately, can openers can be breeding grounds for germs, bacteria, and mold. As the blade of the can opener punctures through the can, germs are able to latch on quickly and spread. According to Doctor Oz, coliform bacteria, salmonella, E. coli, and mold all thrive on a can opener if it is not cleaned thoroughly after each use. Yuck and double yuck!
Luckily, it’s a simple item to clean! If you wash your silverware, you can easily wash your can opener. Manual can openers can be cleaned in the dishwasher (if they are dishwasher safe) or simply hand-washed in hot, soapy water. When scrubbing it, be sure to clean around the cutting blades, as the germs are most likely to hang out there. Rinse, allow it to dry, and the next time you’re opening a can—whether it’s tuna, canned vegetables, or dog food—you can rest assured that you are not spreading more germs throughout your home.
- Rubber Spatula
Spatulas are a mom’s best friend. From mixing the cake batter to scraping out that last bit of peanut butter from the jar, these food prep helpers are used a lot in the kitchen—and that means lots of germs. In a study of germiest kitchen gadgets, scientists of The National Science Foundation found that much like can openers, spatulas are not being cleaned properly after daily use. After tests, E.coli, yeast, and mold all had a prominent presence on the spatulas.
We know what you’re thinking – but I do wash my spatulas after using them! Unfortunately, it’s easy to skimp on cleaning without even realizing it. We all do it! Relax. Here’s what the NSF scientists suggest to get those spatulas squeaky clean and germ-free for the next use:
If you have a two-piece spatula, be sure to separate the handle from the spatula. If they are both dishwasher safe, place both sections in the dishwasher (you may want to keep the spatula piece in the silverware basket, so that it does not slip off the rack during the cycle.) For one-piece spatulas, if dishwasher safe, place in the dishwasher after EVERY use. None of this I’ll just rinse it off nonsense. If not dishwasher safe, hand wash it thoroughly in hot, soapy water. Be sure to pay the most attention to the area where the handle meets the base of the spatula. Remember: germs love crevices.
3. Refrigerator Ice Dispenser Bin
Refrigerator ice dispensers are a handy addition to the kitchen for any busy mom. You don’t have to worry about filling the ice trays at all and your kids can grab a glass of ice water for themselves easily. You’ve gotta love independence! While these gadgets make our lives a little easier, they also can make them much, much germier. According to the NSF scientists, when not cleaned at least semi-regularly, refrigerator ice/water dispensers are also found to be breeding grounds for yeast and mold.
Cleaning these ice bins is certainly not an easy job; however, it can make a big difference in the health of your family! Many manufacturers recommend similar cleaning methods—but make sure to first check your owner’s manual for your specific refrigerator and ice dispensing system.
To clean your ice dispenser bin, turn off the icemaker and empty the ice from the ice bin. Note: you may want to wait until your ice supply is fairly low, so that you do not waste a full batch of ice. Next, wash the ice bin with dish soap and warm water using a sponge or dish rag. Scrub out the nooks and crannies, especially at the base of the bin where the ice drops. Allow it to dry completely before re-installing the bin and turning the icemaker back on. Your little one’s next glass of ice water will be clean and germ-free!
- Tupperware (particularly with rubber seals)
Any storage container with a rubber seal is likely to have germs and food remnants stuck inside if not cleaned thoroughly. This is especially true for those with rubber lids and seals! According to Daily Health News, when these items are run through the dishwasher, you can rest easy—it’s been cleaned pretty thoroughly. However, sometimes we need these storage containers now! Who has time to wait for the entire dishwasher cycle? In that case, any food that has clung to the crevices is now a bacteria hub. Here’s the easy fix:
Soak your container for a few minutes in hot, soapy water. This will loosen any of the food that may be caked-on. Then, scrub using a sponge or dish rag, paying special attention to the seal and edges of the container. Run your soapy sponge or rag along the inside crevices of the container as well. This is where the germs love to hide out. Rinse with hot water and allow air-drying, as drying with a towel may actually spread more germs back onto it. Then your container is ready to be used again!
- Baby Bottles & Sippy Cups
It’s no secret that germs are sneaky. So far, we’ve learned where they like to lurk and avoid being seen during our daily cleaning. Perhaps the most alarming area that germs like to stake out is inside baby bottles and sippy cups. As parents, we can’t help but cringe. Stay away from our little ones! What to Expect explained that any little bit of breast milk, formula, milk, or juice inside a bottle or sippy cup is a haven for bacteria and mold. Even if it’s just one drop! Saliva also clings to the nipples of the bottle or the spout of the sippy cup, causing more germs to grow and spread. It’s impossible to know just how clean the inside of your baby’s bottle is. Sterilizing is a time-consuming option, and sometimes, you need that clean bottle right away!
FizzWizz is here to help. Using FizzWizz Cleaning Tablets and Nipple Wipes allows you to oust all the germs from your baby’s bottle. When the tablet dissolves in under a minute, all that shaking action creates an effervescent foam that sneaks its way into all the nooks and crannies that your dishwasher and bottle brush can’t reach. That means those germs that are hiding out are no longer a worry for you! You’re a busy parent: you have enough to stress over as it is. Let FizzWizz do the hard work and kick those pesky germs out of your bottles and sippy cups once and for all!