Germs are Unwelcome Houseguests


Here's an interesting article (copied from ABC News) for your perusal. I believe kitchen sinks were for bacteria breeding grounds. Also, not mentioned is the nasty kitchen towel. I have about 30 kitchen towels or so (many are tattered and frayed) and I change a towel out after breakfast and dinner. I put my cellulose sponge in the dishwasher and dry it out in the toaster oven (germs don't like that!). I do have two wooden cutting boards--one for vegetables and one for meat. I use diluted household bleach and a small amount of soap to disinfect cutting boards, towels, sink, etc.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! Phish ============================Germs Are Unwelcome Houseguests
Updated 7:01 AM ET May 5, 2005
In the leafy town of Maplewood, N.J., the sidewalks are spotless and the lawns are manicured, but inside the homes, there live some invisible houseguests -- germs.
Kirsten Fallon has a part-time job, a husband, a dog and three kids, but she still makes time to keep a perfect home. She scrubs the countertops, runs the dishwasher every night and keeps up with the laundry.
"I feel like my kitchen's pretty clean, because I really work on that," Fallon said. "I feel like anything I can to do make my home a safe haven from germs, that's what I need to do."
Germs Tell a Scary Story
But microbiologist Dr. Chuck Gerba found millions of germs that told a different story.
Taking swabs from various surfaces in the Fallons' home, Gerba hit the germ jackpot.
After analyzing the samples at the University of Arizona, Gerba found all different kinds of bacteria, including the kinds that can make you sick. He spotted coliform bacteria, which is intestinal bacteria like e.coli, on seven surfaces, including the kitchen sink faucet, the refrigerator handle, and even the kitchen countertop that gets scrubbed every day. Advertisement
"She was using a sponge to wipe it down, and coliform bacteria will grow in sponges," Gerba said.
Feeling 'Helpless'
Fallon and her husband, Bill, were even more horrified by the bacteria Gerba found in places where their kids eat and play.
A sample taken from 2-year-old Tate's high-chair tray revealed thousands of bacteria colonies. The handle of Tate's rocking horse had 10 million bacteria.
"That rocking horse is gone tomorrow," Bill said.
The Fallons also vowed to get a new washing machine after finding out about the secret inhabitants hiding out there.
But Gerba said that's not necessary.
"Sometimes it's not a matter of cleaning harder," Gerba said. "It's just knowing where to clean and to remember to use a disinfectant."
But for Fallon, who prides herself on her cleaning skills, it's still a blow.
"I truly feel helpless," she said. "I feel like in our busy lives, cleanliness is a priority here, and it doesn't seem like we're scoring very high."
How to Clean Smarter
Gerba has tips on how to cut down germs in the home by cleaning smarter:
Use wood cutting boards and use separate cutting boards for vegetables and meats.
Clean with anti-bacterial sponges. Sponges are the germiest objects in any house, because bacteria actually grows in them. Don't use the same sponge for cleaning dishes and counters.
Give your washing machine a bleach bath every month.
Don't keep your toothbrush too close to the toilet. When you flush, droplets are ejected that contain bacteria.
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I try not to use a towel more than once. I sometimes use a wooden cutting board for vegetables, but I have changed to the flexible plastic cutting mats. They are very in and take up almost no room. You can chop things and then fold the mat and use it like a funnel to put the food into your container or pan. They go into the dishwasher. Since they are so inexpensive, you can have several to use for meat and vegetables, reducing the chance of cross contamination.
I'm not big on sponges, but I do have one. Instead of sanitizing it in the dishwasher, I saturate it with water and place it on a plate. The plate goes into the microwave for about 5 minutes, or until the water saturated sponge is boiling hot. I feel that is more likely to sanitize the sponge than the dishwasher.
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Personally I am not upset coexisting with germs. Bring 'em on. They are exercise for my immune system. I change my kitchen towel once a week unless visibly dirty. I do not use special precautions when cutting raw meat. I just use hot water and soap. I rarely get sick.
Bonnie
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line at trying to rid my world of all bacteria. They are what keep us healthy. If we didn't have a few to fight off every day we'd get sick from the ones we should have been exposed to long ago.
It's right up there with Mother's getting all the kids together when one gets the chicken pox. It just makes sense.
And, somehow I lived through it a lot of years.
--
Rick R
take away all the spam to e-mail
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Rick Rider wrote:

I'm not so sure anymore. Things have changed. All the antibiotic resistant 'super' germs were not about when I was younger. It's all very well ME being immune and not getting sick but it's too easy to carry and pass the germs on to those less fortunate. We have a spreading MRSA problem here as an example of those supergerms. Having said that I am not too fussy at the moment changing my tea towel or hand towel when either it looks dirty or I'm doing a wash that would be appropriate. I use a dish cloth for counters, washing up and I will use it to wipe a spot of dropped something from the floor. I use a sponge sometimes with a green rough coat for pans and I dump that when it's worn. I use one cutting board for meat and veg but it's double sided and the meat side has channels. All are washed/soaked with a generous squeeze of bleach in hot soapy water every now and again say every three days but it depends really as to what I've been cooking or if my sink looks in need of bleaching. Fish or meat/poultry and it would be bleached straight away but I rarely have them in my kitchen.
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Mrs Bonk wrote:

I've found when beating meat that it helps to have some sort of latex sheath - like covering over it, one doesn't particularly.want those juices flowing all over the place as they can cause all sorts of troubles (as a 12 - year old neighbor girl once found out - and it took her a whole nine months to recover from her silly mistake).
I have a cutting board with sluices on the sides to take care of any juices that may spurt from the meat. One of my neighbors was watching me doing this and commented, "My dear, you would benefit from having a uni degree in hydraulic engineering!". I simply tittered and replied that I could cope with everything I had at hand...
That latex covering, whilst ensuring cleanliness and safety, is also quite thin and sheer, so one does not lose the sensation while kneading the meat juices out of the spongy - but - expandable tissue. Take a care that there are no holes in the rubber material, even the teeniest tiniest pinhole could negate the whole utility of this sanitary device...
--
Best
Greg



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"Gregory Morrow"

A bright spot in an otherwise depressing day!
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I wonder what that is? I put an Oxyclean type product in with towels, washing powder and do a boil wash. I should think that would clean the machine and all the pipes out as it drains?
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