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A One-Two Step to Stop Foodborne Illness in the Kitchen

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

You’re about to sit down to a nice meal with a freshly cooked chicken breast. You have your dishes in the dishwasher and you’ve finished wiping down your surfaces. You’re done in your kitchen, right? Wrong! Whenever you cook raw meat or poultry, make sure you clean AND sanitize not just your surfaces but also the kitchen sink. Wiping or rinsing these areas is not enough to kill any bacteria that may have spread around your kitchen while you were preparing your food. Here’s your foolproof plan to leave your kitchen spotless and eliminate the germs you can’t see.


man wiping counter with green cloth

Clean FIRST.

Cleaning is an essential first step to make sure you are removing bacteria that can cause foodborne illness from your kitchen. To clean your surfaces and your kitchen sink, use warm, soapy water to wash these areas. Wipe them clean with single-use or paper towels. If you use kitchen towels for cleaning, they should be washed frequently in the hot cycle of your washing machine. And don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and running water to keep them clean too.


What does cleaning do? Cleaning is the first step to get rid of bacteria from these surfaces. Foodborne-illness causing bacteria can remain on surfaces for a very long time. Campylobacter can survive in your kitchen for up to 4 hours, and Salmonella can last for up to 32 hours (and both can be found on raw poultry). Cleaning with warm, soapy water can physically remove dirt, grim and some bacteria from a surface, but it does NOT kill bacteria.


THEN Sanitize.

Sanitizing is the second, but equally important step to removing bacteria from your kitchen. This step will kill any remaining bacteria. Many different sanitizers can be used: an easy homemade version is t