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When it comes to germs in the home, it's not just the toilet we have to worry about.

Researchers have found the kitchen sink is home to 100,000 times more germs than the bathroom.

From the worktops and the sink to the chopping boards and the fridge, the kitchen is home to billions of microorganisms.

Some of these can cause food poisoning, such as E. coli, campylobacter and salmonella.

You can tackle those nasty kitchen germs that lurk where you prepare your family's meals. Here are some kitchen hot spots and tips for how to clean them up.

So what are the germiest kitchen items?

Sponges and tea towels

The kitchen sponge is the most germ-filled item in the home. It gets used to mop up all kinds of germs and grime. If it then gets stored under the sink, that damp, dark environment is a perfect place for bacteria to grow.

Using the sponge to clean up can just mean moving germs from one place to another.

While cooking, wiping your hands on a tea towel after touching raw meat spreads the bacteria to the towel, ready to be transferred the next time it is used.

To keep the bugs at bay, make sure you wash and replace kitchen cloths, sponges and tea towels regularly.

The Food Standards Agency recommends washing and disinfecting kitchen equipment and utensils using boiling water or a chemical such as an antibacterial cleaner.


Worktops are an easy place for bacteria to spread. There can be cross contamination between raw and cooked food, so wash the worktop before and after preparing different dishes.

Kitchen worktops can also become a family dumping ground for purses, handbags, wallets, school bags, keys, mobile phones and remote controls. All these bring their own germ collections to the kitchen.

Chopping boards

A kitchen chopping board can carry twice as much faecal bacteria from poo than the average toilet seat.

Cross contamination is also a risk, so wash chopping boards thoroughly, especially after preparing raw meat, raw eggs or root vegetables with soil on them. 

It's safest to use a separate chopping board exclusively for raw meat and poultry, to keep other foods free of contamination.

The fridge

Keeping food cold in the fridge doesn't kill bacteria, but it does slow down their growth. However, even if the fridge is working properly at the right temperature, food poisoning bugs can still multiply.

Make sure the insides of the fridge, including shelves, drawers and door seals get a regular clean following the manufacturer's instructions.

Make sure the fridge is running at 5 C or lower, using a special fridge thermometer to check.

The floor

The kitchen floor is a busy place for germs. They get trodden in from outside on shoes and pets' paws, and bits of food are bound to find their way onto the floor.

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