Good food safety means knowing where bacteria are likely to thrive and not giving them a chance to get comfortable. Regular cleaning of worktops, chopping boards and any surfaces that come into contact with food is important to prevent the spread of bacteria. Proper cleaning requires hot soapy water and a good scrub.
Lots of food is prepared on the kitchen worktop so always wash the worktop before you start preparing food. Make cleaning easier by wiping up any spills as you go and always wash worktops thoroughly after they have been in contact with raw meat, raw eggs or soil on raw vegetables. Remember to clean the other surfaces in the kitchen with which you come into contact when you are preparing food including fridge and door handles, the oven, the microwave, the kitchen tap and sink area.
Chopping boards are guilty culprits when it comes to harbouring bacteria. Cracks and grooves caused by knives can be home to bacteria. Wash your chopping board with hot soapy water after each use and be sure to scrub off any food or dirt particles. This is especially important if you have used the board to cut meat, poultry, seafood or raw vegetables.
The high temperature of the dishwasher is a very effective way to wash plastic chopping boards but a good scrub in the sink with hot soapy water is also effective. Never put ready-to-eat food, such as salad, bread or fruit, on a worktop or chopping board that has been touched by raw meat, unless you have washed it thoroughly first. Ideally, it's better to have separate chopping boards for raw meat and for ready-to-eat food.
Dishcloths, sponges and tea towels are very suitable places for bacteria to multiply. Ideally, we should wash dishcloths every two days. Our research found that washing them in a washing machine or boiling them in water for 15 minutes were the most effective ways to properly clean them.
If you’ve used a dishcloth to wipe up after raw meat, raw poultry or raw vegetables, then you should replace it immediately with a clean one. And if there’s a noticeable smell from your dishcloth, then it’s definitely time to change it.
Tableware and cooking utensils should be washed thoroughly in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher. Remember in particular to wash utensils that have been used for raw meat before they are used to handle cooked or ready-to-eat foods.