5 Ways to Keep Your Countertops Bacteria-Free

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Home Improvement

You’ll feel confident when you have bacteria-free countertops.
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It’s no secret that your kitchen can be the dirtiest room in your home due to food preparation and bacteria growth. Even refrigerated items left at room temperature for more than two hours can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Additionally, countertops and sinks that come in direct contact with food should be cleaned every time they are used. In this article, we’ll share five tips to keep your countertops sparkling and free of harmful bacteria.

5: Quickly Clean Spills

A spill on your countertop might look harmless, but the longer it remains, the more dangerous it becomes. A quick wipe with a paper towel won’t completely clean it up. It’s important to eliminate spills as soon as they occur to prevent bacteria from establishing itself. Cleaning removes dirt, grime, grease, and some bacteria, while disinfecting kills bacteria on contact. If food residue is left on your countertop, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Therefore, it’s important to clean spills immediately to minimize the need for regular disinfecting.

Washing your hands regularly during food preparation is important, too. Lather up and scrub for 20 seconds — about the time it takes to recite the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Do this before preparing a meal, after working with raw meat products, and after completing food preparation.

4: Disinfect Your Sponges

Your sponge can become a breeding ground for bacteria if not disinfected regularly.

Cleaning your countertops using a dish cloth, paper towel, or sponge is common, but reusing the same cleaning aids can result in potential breeding farms for bacteria, molds, and yeasts. Sponges are known to be the worst offenders, but kitchen dishrags are a close second.

To keep your kitchen clean and free of harmful bacteria, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, don’t stop using cost-effective aids like sponges and dishrags – just make sure to clean them thoroughly after each use, and replace them every couple of weeks. You can clean sponges by microwaving them for two and a half minutes, which kills 99.9% of bacteria. As for dishrags, toss them in the dishwasher or washing machine each time you use them. If you want to disinfect your countertops, the CDC recommends using a disinfectant preparation or a weak bleach solution. Just make sure to follow the instructions carefully, and never spray disinfectant near food. Keeping your countertops dry is also important, as bacteria thrive in moist environments. Finally, consider using a natural disinfectant like a mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, which can be just as effective as bleach without the potential harm to the environment and your health.

To make a natural countertop disinfectant, you will need two dark spray bottles, one filled with 3 percent strength hydrogen peroxide and the other with white vinegar. First, wash your countertops with soap and water before spraying them with vinegar, followed immediately by the peroxide. Do not combine the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in a single spray bottle as the vinegar will turn the peroxide into water. This dynamic duo will effectively kill germs and leave your countertops clean and disinfected. You do not even need to rinse, and the vinegar smell will dissipate in a few minutes. For more information, check out related articles on keeping a clean kitchen and green cleaning. Sources include Clorox, How to Clean Stuff, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.


1. What are the best disinfectants to use on countertops?

Common household disinfectants such as bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and rubbing alcohol are effective at killing germs on countertops. However, it’s important to follow the instructions on the product and allow it to sit on the surface for the recommended amount of time to ensure proper disinfection. Natural disinfectants like vinegar and tea tree oil can also be used, but may not be as effective as chemical disinfectants.

2. How often should I disinfect my countertops?

It’s recommended to disinfect your countertops daily, especially if you prepare food directly on them. If you’ve had raw meat or other potentially contaminated items on the surface, it’s important to disinfect it immediately. In high traffic areas, like a kitchen or bathroom, consider disinfecting multiple times a day.

3. What’s the best way to disinfect granite or other natural stone countertops?

Granite and other natural stone countertops can be sensitive to certain chemicals, so it’s important to avoid using harsh disinfectants like bleach or ammonia. Instead, use a natural stone cleaner or a mixture of water and dish soap. Avoid using abrasive sponges or scrubbers that could scratch the surface.

4. Can I use disinfecting wipes on my countertops?

Disinfecting wipes can be a convenient way to quickly clean and disinfect countertops. However, it’s important to read the label and make sure they’re safe for use on the specific type of countertop you have. Some wipes may be too harsh for natural stone or other sensitive surfaces.

5. What other steps can I take to keep my countertops clean?

Regular cleaning and disinfecting is important, but there are other steps you can take to prevent the spread of germs on your countertops. Encourage family members to wash their hands frequently and avoid placing dirty dishes or utensils on the surface. Use cutting boards and other protective mats to avoid scratches and stains. Finally, make sure to dry the surface thoroughly after cleaning to prevent water damage or mold growth.

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