8 Hacks To Keep Your Kitchen Germ- and Smell-Free

Sometime between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college, a miraculous transformation occurred. I suddenly started really caring about the state of my (and everyone else’s) kitchen. It’s like I woke up one day with the pressing need to keep all cooking areas smell-free, clean, and sparkling, and anyone who left a dish in the sink would most definitely feel my wrath. (It might be important to note that this transition happened sometime around the period in my life where I learned how to knit, bought a onesie, and decided that corgis are better than most people.)

That being said, I’m not a bleacher. I’m of the smaller percentage of people who appreciate the value of good germs, and I believe that certain microbes are essential for a healthy immune system. Bleach and other chemical-filled cleaners seem a little too harsh for me. Granted, they wipe out everything, burn your eyes, and leave a smell strong enough to asphyxiate a moderately sized elephant. That’s why I prefer more natural remedies and hacks when it comes to culinary cleanliness. Here’s a list of my favorite ways to keep a kitchen smelling fresh and looking clean, no matter what your sanitary-related pet-peeves may be.

Stop The Spread Of Germs With A No-Touch Sensor

iTouchless Deodorizer Trash Can, $70, Amazon

This deodorizing trash can just might be the future of garbage. With a sensor that opens at any sign of your hand, it’s great for people who’d prefer not to touch anything on and around their garbage (probably a smart call). It’s also got a carbon deodorizer to reduce smells and a retainer ring that stops the trash bag from slipping down to the bottom. Best of all, it looks modern, has an easy-to-clean stainless steel finish, and holds up to 13 gallons of trash.

Start Composting To Reduce Smells

Stainless Steel Compost Bin, $22, Amazon

The main reason why garbage smells is because the food in your can is rotting away without anything to moderate it. Composting is a great habit to get into because it not only creates healthy soil out of food, but if done correctly, it smells significantly less than your typical garbage. This stainless steel compost bin makes it super easy to start. It’s made from high-quality and durable stainless steel, and because it has a charcoal-releasing mechanism that traps odors and feeds good microbes (which keep the odor-causing microbes under control), you can keep it right on your counter-top — no pests, smells, or flies. Just empty your edible scraps into it, and let the decomposing process begin. Reviewers are in love with this composting bin, as it’s unbelievably easy to clean and has little to no scent at all.

Use Towels That Actually Absorb (And Actually Dry)

Brooklyn Bamboo Dish Towels, $18, Amazon

My father and I have an ongoing joke with dish towels: “Hey, pass me that rag so I can move the water from this side of the plate to the other side of the plate.” Most towels dry absolutely nothing and stay soaked for hours, collecting bacteria and weird smells. These Brooklyn dish towels are made from organic bamboo, which is not only softer and way more absorbent than cotton, but they’re also naturally anti-fungal and hypoallergenic. They’re 26-by-8 inches, so they’re big enough for any job, and reviewers advise not to let the weight fool you. Even though they’re really light, they absorb better than anything else.

Use Bamboo To Stop Microbes And Bacteria

Antimicrobial Bamboo Cutting Board, $23, Amazon

Most people have since switched to plastic cutting boards to reduce the spread of bacteria, but I’m still a huge fan of wood when it comes to chopping and slicing — it’s sturdy and offers more control. This bamboo cutting board offers the best of both worlds; it’s exceptional quality because it’s thick, durable, and made from 100 percent organic moso bamboo, but because of the nature of the wood, it contains antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. That means you can use it over and over again without worrying that nasty things are growing in the cracks and crevices. It also looks great, doesn’t contain any fillers or stains, and helps you feel (and chop!) like a culinary pro.

Wash With Sponges That Don't Collect Bacteria

Durable Dish Scrubbers, $15, Amazon

Most sponges are made with absorbent materials so they soak up water, but that also makes them a storehouse for germs and gross smells. These cute dish scrubbers are made from non-scratch polyester that’s quick-drying and non-absorbent. Because they’re ridiculously durable, low-maintenance, and rewashable, you can use these over and over again (on everything from frying pans to fine china). Reviewers love them because they look adorable next to the sink, they won’t trap odors, and they’re super effective at cutting grease and grime without damaging your things.

Dry Your Dishes Without Trapping Mold

Upgood Foldable Dish Drying Rack, $24, Amazon

I find drying racks to be annoying for a whole bunch of reasons, but the two main ones are that they’re constantly getting in the way, and they’re grooved and too clunky to wash, so mold moves in. This compact dish drying rack is an awesome alternative because it’s made from high-quality stainless steel that’s really easy to wash by hand or in the dishwasher. It folds up for convenient storage and extends out for drying, so you can drain your dishes right over your sink (saving room on your counter and draining all the moisture instead of just some). It’s also heat-resistant and can hold up to 30 pounds, so say goodbye to dank drying racks cluttering up your kitchen.

Soak Up All The Smells And Impurities In Your Kitchen

Natural Bamboo Charcoal Deodorizer Bag, $19, Amazon

People are flipping over these natural bamboo charcoal deodorizer bags, as they’re a natural way to get rid of odors and impurities in the air without masking smells or using chemicals. Here’s how it works: Pieces of bamboo are burnt at high temperatures, after which they become super effective at absorbing smells. Because this one comes in a classy-looking and convenient bag, all you need to do is put it on your counter or hang it from a hook for a fresher, cleaner kitchen. To empty odors and “re-charge” the bag, just put it in the sun for an hour a month, and it’s just like new.

Clean All Surfaces The Natural Way

Meyer’s Clean Day Multisurface Spray, $11, Amazon

I may not be a fan of bleach, but I’m definitely a fan of natural cleaning sprays. This one from Meyer's is great for any surface — counters, finished wood, tiles, you name it. But because it’s made from 98 percent natural ingredients (like essential oils and birch bark extract), it’s way easier on your surfaces and your nose. It fills your kitchen with the soothing scent of lavender, and reviewers say that it’s easily the best cleaning spray they’ve ever used. It leaves things shiny, dirt-free, and smelling fresh, without compromising your health.

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Images: Amazon (8)