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Spring Clean Your Way to a Safer Kitchen

As the green grass begins to pop up outdoors, we often feel energized to do some projects. After a long winter, tackling a "spring cleaning" of our refrigerators and kitchen cupboards might be a good place to start.
Spring Clean Your Way to a Safer Kitchen

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1. Check out the foods in your refrigerator.

Could some of the foods become your dinner? If any of the foods are moldy or well past their "use by" date, toss them!

  • Check out the "Pinchin' Pennies in the Kitchen" series at to learn how to make soup, casseroles, omelets and other foods with the leftovers in your kitchen.


2. Sort the foods in you cupboards.

Are you cupboards arranged in "first-in, first-out" order? Are similar items (tomatoes, canned fruit) group together? Do you write the date of purchase on the foods you buy?


3. Try These Kitchen Cleaning Tips

Harmful bacteria such as salmonella, staphylococcus, E. coli and listeria can lurk in our kitchens. Try these tips from the national Fight BAC campaign:

  • Clean surfaces. Wash countertops and cutting boards with hot, soapy water, then sanitize them. You can use a commercial disinfecting kitchen cleaner or make your own "sanitizer" with 1 teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water. Put the bleach mixture in a spray bottle or wipe it on with a clean rag. Finally, blot dry with a clean paper towel or allow to air-dry.
  • Disinfect dishcloths. Bacteria low to grow on dishcloths because they often are moist and provide some "food." Replace daily. Use the hot-water cycle of the washing machine and dry them in the dryer.
  • Clean you refrigerator. Wash the refrigerator surfaces with hot, soapy water and rinse with a damp cloth. Do not use a chlorine-based sanitizer in your refrigerator because it can damage seals, gaskets, and linings.
  • Disinfect your veggie-cleaning brushes. Wash them with hot, soapy water, then rinse and place in the top rack of the dishwasher. Run the brushes through on a sanitizing cycle with the rest of your dishes, or soak in a bleach mixture (see above).


Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist, NDSU Extension Service

Featured in Food Wise April 2014 newsletter (PDF)

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