The One Area In Your Kitchen You're Probably Forgetting To Clean

You might feel like you're always scrubbing down your kitchen, but according to a study by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), it remains the dirtiest spot in your home ... and it's the littlest things that get you. Sure, the countertops, cutting boards, and sink area can become stained and a home for pathogens, but you're probably cleaning those items fairly regularly, along with the outside of the refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher. NSF contends that it's the overlooked parts of the kitchen that foster contaminates that could possibly make you sick. For instance, both the refrigerator compartments for veggies and meat can house microorganisms like Salmonella, Listeria, E. Coli, yeast and mold. Some utensils, too, like your blender gasket, can opener, and rubber spatulas can also harbor such unwanted items and should also be cleaned with care.

Then, there are those sponges and dishrags that wash and dry all your plates, cooking ware, and utensils. About 75% of them contain coliform bacteria, which can contain fecal matter, according to the Insider. Yuck, so replace and wash these regularly! Under-kitchen cabinets, the cooker hood filter, and radiators often sit unattended to as well — and yet they're so easy to clean. You can keep cabinets happy with a rag sprayed with disinfectant, scrub filters with some soapy water, and keep radiators smelling delicious with a bit of fabric conditioner and hot water, according to one TikTok user.

Clean the big and the little

Even if you are regularly cleaning the big items, you still want to ensure you are doing it correctly. "The kitchen is an environment that fosters a variety of bacteria strains — [on] food, drinks, appliances, and even external items we often place on the counter when we get home," said Colleen Costello, CEO and co-founder of Vital Vio, to Reader's Digest

For instance, the sink takes a lot of punishment, with raw meat, leftovers, and all kinds of things clinging to its surface. In fact, 45% of them have coliform bacteria, according to Epicurious – so it's not enough to just wash it down with water. HGTV recommends scrubbing with baking soda then giving it a nice white vinegar soak by mixing a few tablespoons with warm water or just saturating paper towels with the substance. Either way, wait 15 minutes for sanitization to take place before rinsing off the vinegar.

Even that counter you're wiping down a few times a day needs some TLC. Reader's Digest suggested regularly washing it with warm, soapy water — which will sanitize it even better than antibacterial wipes. So, look around your kitchen right now at all those little things: the coffee maker, the salt and pepper shakers, the microwave control panel, the stove's knobs and everything else. Be sure to clean it all — both large items and small.