In the flurry of Christmas preparation, it’s likely that you won’t spend too much time thinking about cleaning underneath your toaster. Cleaning the oven might be an afterthought too, something for you to tackle in the New Year. The kitchen hosts more germs than any other room, that’s probably no mystery, and when Christmas brings in guests, friends and family, it’s even more important to make sure your kitchen is clean and ready.
The last thing you want is an elderly relative coming down with the flu and it being your kitchen’s fault. And you definitely don’t want to waste the festive period in bed with food poisoning, so here’s how to rid your home of Christmas-ruining bacteria.
Microwave your sponge
The one object in your home that’s harbouring the most germs is something you may often rely on, or even use to wipe down all of your surfaces – the humble sponge. The warm, moist environment it provides is like a high-rise flat for germs and allows them to flourish. Using it on pots, pans and surfaces just spreads the germs around your kitchen.
The best way to sanitise a sponge is to microwave it for 30 seconds, or even wash them in the dishwasher. This can kill the large majority of bacteria, but as soon as they’re used again they absorb more, and bacteria can multiply into 8 million cells in just 24 hours. Consider a scrubbing brush over the Christmas period when your washing up is going to pile up more than usual.
Brush up on your turkey knowledge!
It’s not Christmas without a turkey, but it’s not going to be a great turkey unless you follow the golden rules of defrosting, preparation and cooking. The preparation stage is when you can expose your hands, kitchen environment, chopping boards and surfaces to the most harmful bacteria.
Don’t let the stress of the Christmas dinner lead you to neglect one of the most important parts of food prep. Use a separate chopping board, utensils, dishes and bowls for anything involving raw meat, and wipe down the kitchen counters with a multi-surface anti-bacterial wipe. These can be thrown away immediately after use and stops the spread of salmonella into the dining room.
Don’t be liberal with your leftovers
We all know that Boxing Day is about three very important things – laziness, Christmas TV and leftovers. To make sure you thoroughly enjoy your turkey sandwiches and turkey curry, make sure you don’t keep cooked turkey at room temperature for too long, because this is the temperature that encourages the most bacteria growth.
After your family have unbuttoned their jeans and retired for the day, let the turkey cool within one to two hours, then cover and refrigerate immediately.
Despite what you might have been told, you won’t be finishing off the turkey for a week after Christmas. It’s recommended that you use leftovers within 48 hours or you run the risk of ingesting bacteria.
Keep your guests happy and your Christmas salmonella and germ free! Wipe your surfaces, separate raw from cooked, and your guests will leave happy after they’ve eaten the entire contents of your fridge.