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5 Tips for Disinfecting Your Countertops

Have Cleaning Aids Handy

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends warm, soapy water to clean countertops and other kitchen surfaces before and after food preparation. This is a cleaning and not a disinfecting measure, though. Nasty germs like salmonella, E. coli and staphylococcus can survive on surfaces for hours and even days, and sometimes, disinfecting surfaces is a better option than just cleaning them. To tackle disinfecting jobs like cleaning up areas where raw meat has been prepared, the CDC recommends using a disinfectant preparation designed for use on countertops or a weak bleach solution you can prepare yourself.

Bleach is a time honored and pretty cost effective DIY approach to disinfecting the surfaces in your kitchen. Here's a quick primer on disinfecting with bleach: Clean countertops with warm soapy water and then go over them again with a solution of 1/4 cup household bleach (5 to 6 percent) and 2 1/4 cups water. Allow treated surfaces to air dry.

If you decide to use a prepared disinfectant, read and follow the directions carefully. Most require a clean water rinse to remove chemical residues after application to food prep areas. Special note: Disinfectants should never be sprayed on or near foodstuffs.