Let’s face it: Household chores can be a drag. Cleaning up food grime in the kitchen is a whole other level of gross. But to keep your food prep and serving areas hygienic and safe, it’s important to stay on top of cleaning and disinfecting—even if they’re not exactly your favorite chores.
We recently spoke with cleaning influencer Vanesa Amaro about her kitchen-cleaning routines, and we learned a lot about how to take the stress out of this sometimes not-so-fun job. One way to cut down on the elbow grease and mental toll that comes with it? Know what surfaces you should be cleaning and sanitizing every single day.
Amaro suggests regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces—areas that are more prone to dirt, debris, and potentially harmful germs—daily. That way, you can rest assured your kitchen is a hygienic space for preparing and enjoying food. Plus, you’ll have fewer bigger deep-cleaning jobs to do later on.
If you want to kickstart new cleaning habits this year, here are five areas you should be disinfecting each day.
1. Your Refrigerator Door
If there’s one appliance most of us use multiple times every day, it’s the refrigerator. While you can probably tackle the door exterior and the inside of your fridge weekly (or less, depending on your kitchen habits), you should be disinfecting your refrigerator door more regularly.
2. Cabinet Handles
Again, while you can probably get by with cleaning the outside of your cabinets weekly and the interior even less (barring any spills or obvious messes), your cabinet handles need more frequent disinfecting to prevent the spread of germs around your kitchen. Whether you use disinfecting wipes or a dedicated germ-fighting spray, be sure to fully clean the front and back of the handles. May as well tackle your drawer pulls while you’re at it!
3. Microwave Door
Another germ-ridden spot: Your microwave handle. If you don’t use your microwave every day, you can probably get by with disinfecting the handle every few days or once a week. Either way, it’s also a good idea to wipe down the buttons—as a rule, any space you touch with potentially dirty hands needs addressing.
4. Light Switches
Light switches in your kitchen (and throughout your home) are a common way to spread germs between people in your home. Everyone in your home probably touches them, and who knows what they touched before that, or if they thoroughly washed their hands.
5. Your Faucet Handle
You’d think your sink is clean, because it’s where you wash your dishes and hands—but that’s not the case. You’re usually touching the handle before you wash something germ-ridden, which means the faucet handle could be a haven for food-borne bacteria or viruses. As long as you’re disinfecting the sink, tackle gross garbage disposal smells by running a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar through it.
Keep in mind that these are just guidelines to help you set useful cleaning rhythms—you may need to do these jobs less or more, depending on how often you’re in the kitchen or if someone is sick in your home.
Not sure where to start when it comes to disinfecting? Amaro is a big fan of Clorox Disinfecting Mist—just spray, wait, and wipe away the residual liquid with a paper towel or microfiber cloth. In a pinch, you can also use disinfecting wipes (though they’re less environmentally friendly). If you’d rather go the DIY route, try mixing 70-90% rubbing alcohol (also called isopropyl alcohol) with 20 drops of oregano or thyme essential oil in a spray bottle.
No matter what you’re using, be sure to allow for proper dwell time—disinfectants need time to “dis-infect” surfaces. Each product is different, so be sure to follow the instructions on the product label. Happy disinfecting!