What is the dirtiest item in the kitchen? You probably already know the answer to this question – it’s a dishwashing sponge. Once, German scientists conducted an experiment and found that 45 billion bacteria live on every square centimeter of this accessory. Among them are pathogenic microbes like salmonella, which is considered one of the main causative agents of intestinal infections. The kitchen sponge is relatively self-explanatory – it’s a dirty item that needs to be kept dry and replaced every two to three weeks. Are there other dirty places in our kitchens? Of course, there are many such places, and recently scientists experimentally found out where they are.
IMPORTANT: there are at least two articles on our website about the reasons why a sponge collects so many bacteria on itself. I highly recommend reading:
- Why a kitchen sponge is the dirtiest item in your home
- There are a lot of bacteria on the kitchen sponge. Can it wash dishes?
Examining dirt while cooking
To determine which items in the kitchen, besides a sponge, collect the most dirt, scientists conducted an experiment with the participation of 371 people. The volunteers were divided into three groups, after which they were distributed to kitchens of different sizes – some ended up in small kitchens in apartments, while others were lucky enough to find themselves in large rooms. All participants in the study were given the task of preparing a burger using turkey patties, packaged salad and various condiments.
To track how dangerous bacteria can spread around the kitchen during cooking, scientists infected meat with the MS2 pathogen. It is safe for humans and is often used in scientific work that studies the spread of pathogenic bacteria.
None of the participants in the experiment was aware of what exactly the scientists were studying. Therefore, each of them calmly moved around the kitchen and carried out this task. After the dish was ready, the authors of the scientific work walked through the kitchens and took samples from various surfaces to assess the amount of pathogens remaining on them.
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The dirtiest places in the kitchen
After examining the collected data, the scientists made a very unexpected conclusion – it turned out that the dirtiest place in most kitchens is cabinets with jars for spices. The MS2 pathogen was found to be present in 48% of all jars analyzed. Scientists consider this discovery to be very logical, because during cooking, people usually add seasonings to raw meat, and often take jars with dirty hands – in a fit of culinary inspiration, there is simply no time to wash them.
The authors of the scientific work have identified other very dirty places in the kitchens. In the pollution rating, after the jars of seasonings, there are cutting boards – cooks often touch them, they are often wet and the available moisture is absorbed into the material. After this point, the list includes the lids of garbage cans, which now and then come into contact with various waste. Surprisingly, kitchen faucet faucets were the cleanest in the kitchen – most likely, water washes away all pathogens and other dirt from them.
It is worth noting that in March 2023, another group of scientists conducted a similar experiment and drew different conclusions. The results of the study showed that the dirtiest areas in the kitchen are the handle of the kettle, the buttons on the microwave oven, the door handle of the refrigerator and the control panel of the coffee maker. On these surfaces, scientists found E. coli (Escherichia coli), which causes severe abdominal pain, the causative agent of serious infections of the respiratory and urinary tract Pseudomonas (Pseudomonas) and a number of bacteria that live on feces.
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Based on the results of these experiments, it can be concluded that every kitchen, regardless of its size, needs regular and thorough cleaning. Scientists believe that staying in a dirty kitchen can be dangerous for people with weak immunity. In addition, the results once again highlight the importance of handwashing, especially after going to the toilet and before and after meals. It would not be superfluous to give a link right here to the article “How to wash your hands so that they do not have dangerous bacteria left on them?”.