Protecting Your Countertop from E. Coli and Other Bacteria
Anyone who’s ever battled food poisoning or had first hand experience with E. Coli understands the importance of cleanliness. The problem comes when porous counter materials aren’t properly disinfected, leading to cross contamination and bacterial growth. Granite, quartz, natural stone, marble, and laminate countertops will all have plenty of contact with raw foods. Knowing how to clean your counters can protect you and your family from unpleasant E. Coli encounters.
Tips for Disinfecting Different Counter MaterialsDifferent countertop materials will hold on to contaminants and bacteria in different ways. Learning about the best way to clean and disinfect is your first line of defense against dangerous exposure to potential disease-carrying germs.
- Know Where Bacteria, Germs, and Fungus Hide: The more nooks and textures present on your countertop, the more places for bacterial and fungal growth. Make sure to thoroughly clean grout, or to use sealants with growth resistant additives. There shouldn’t be any spot that you can’t reach to disinfect.
- Choose Countertops that Prevent Growth and Buildup: Non-porous materials such as quartz and solid surfaces have qualities that will not allow bacteria to penetrate into the counters. Granite and natural stones have anti-bacterial properties when properly maintained. These materials can become increasingly porous over time, and it’s important to make sure that they are sealed as needed. Copper and stainless steel are the most resistant materials to contamination, but these countertops aren’t always feasible in domestic kitchen design.
- Protect Your Cooking Surfaces: This is a fairly common-sense solution to the threat of E. Coli. Simply make use of cutting boards and protective surfaces when working with unwashed fruits and veggies, or raw meats. Experts recommend using a separate cutting board for each type of product and disinfecting these completely after each use.
- Handle Foods Appropriately: The best way to protect against things like E. Coli is to avoid coming into contact with them in the first place. Always use a stiff bristled brush to clean produce and never leave raw meat on an unprotected surface. High temperatures will kill E. Coli, and cooking meat to its required internal temp will make it safe to eat. Wash utensils with hot water and run them through the sanitation cycle on the dishwasher when applicable.
- Disinfect Quickly: As soon as a surface comes into contact with anything foreign, it needs to be disinfected. Waiting too long allows bacterial growth that can be dangerous. Kitchen countertops are often used as a place to set everything from groceries to paperwork. Cleaning them each night and after food prep with warm soapy water, bleach, or even a mixture of vinegar and water can keep them free of anything harmful.