The 12 Most Disgusting Things In Your Kitchen — And Their More Hygienic Alternatives

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I'd like to think that my kitchen is a pretty clean place, considering it's the room where I prepare my food and eat it. But after doing some research, I've discovered just how dirty this room in your house can be. Today I'm sharing with you the most disgusting things in your kitchen, as well as their more hygienic alternatives that make for some pretty clean replacements.

Between all of the food being made, the produce sitting in your fridge, the dirty dishes in your sink, and even your hands transferring germs all over the place, your kitchen can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Just think about it for a second: When was the last time you cleaned your vegetable drawer in your fridge? Or the last time you replaced your sponge? Or what about the last time you disinfected your faucet (try never)?

Luckily, there are a lot of solutions to getting rid of the gross things in your kitchen and replacing them with more hygienic options. Doing something like separating the sponges you use for your dishes, or even cleaning your countertops or stove can make a huge difference. Keeping extra hand towels on hand so you remember to wash them more frequently can help, too. There are a lot of little things that you can do to make your kitchen a cleaner place.

1Don't Stick Your Knife Set Into A Dirty, Dark Knife Block

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Modern Innovations Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Bar, $18, Amazon

Did you know that your knife block is most likely disgusting? It's also probably not a spot in your kitchen you've ever thought to clean. They're dusty, they're dark, and they are filled with crumbs. And if you accidentally stick a partially wet knife back in there, unfortunately, there is probably some bacteria growing inside, too. Luckily, you can find an alternative way to store your knife set. Mount a magnetic knife bar on your wall. It'll actually look really cool, and it's way easier to clean than a block. This one is longer than most that you can find, so you can store more of your kitchen tools on it.

2Keep Your Sponges Separated When You Aren't Using Them

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InterDesign Forma Dual Scrub Hub, $13, Amazon

Unfortunately I'm totally guilty of using the same sponge to wash my dishes, clean my countertops, and scrub down my electric stove top after I'm done using it. Just thinking about it makes me feel gross. The first way to fix this problem (because you don't want to eat off dishes that you cleaned with a greasy sponge), is to use more than one sponge. But, the second way to fix it is to keep them separated, so you know which one to use. This sponge holder has two slots, so they won't be touching and transferring bacteria.

3Mark Your Cups During Flu Season

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Yorkshire Chalkboard Mason Jar Mug Set, $30, Amazon

If you love to entertain and you're worried about transferring germs during cold and flu season, you could always switch to chalkboard mugs, instead of identical glass ones. This way, when you have people over, you can assign a different color to each guest, so no one gets confused and accidentally drinks out of the wrong one.

4Use A Different Cutting Board For Preparing Different Foods

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Seville Classics Bamboo Cutting Board With Seven Removable Cutting Mats, $25, Amazon

Cleaning up a cutting board can be tough. Wood is porous, so it's a little bit tougher to deep clean. And if you think about it, do you really put your plastic cutting board in the dishwasher after every use? Probably not. A good way to make sure you aren't cross-contaminating food is to use a cutting board set that comes with different boards for different things. This one has a wood block and then seven different plastic mats. There are separate ones for veggies, meats, poultry, seafood, dairy, bread, and one for other types of food. They're all dishwasher-safe and easy to clean. But, remember that you should replace your cutting board (wood or plastic) when it starts to have profound cracks in it (because bacteria gets trapped in there).

5Make Sure Your Countertops Are Always Clean

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Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Wipes (70-CT Pack of Six), $27, Amazon

Instead of using a dirty sponge or dish towel to clean off your countertops, consider using disinfectant wipes. These ones are made with essential oils and can kill 99.99 percent of germs without the use of harmful chemicals. They clean and disinfect without having to do two steps, like first wiping counters with a sponge, and then using a paper towel and disinfectant spray to make sure you're really getting it clean.

6Invest In A Motion Sense Faucet, So Your Kitchen Stays Cleaner

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Moen 7594ESRS Arbor Motionless Faucet, $331, Amazon

While replacing your faucet might seem like a big change, it will actually make your kitchen a lot more hygienic. That is, if your current faucet isn't motion-sense activated. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've had to call someone from the other room to come turn the water on after I've been cutting up chicken or making burgers. And when no one comes, I go ahead and turn it on myself. And I don't usually go back to clean off the knobs. A faucet that is hands-free will make your kitchen a cleaner place because you won't be spreading germs all over the place each time you use your sink.

7Keep Your Produce Drawers From Getting Moldy

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Dualplex Fruit And Veggie Life Extender Liner, $12, Amazon

How many times have you left old produce in your refrigerator drawers? You know, you completely forget how long you've had that onion for, or you don't remember the last time you used that lemon — yet there's only half still sitting in there. And when you do finally toss them in the garbage, do you also clean the drawer itself? I certainly don't. It's possible that there will be residual mold and bacteria left in there from the spoiled fruits and veggies. Drawer liners are great because they can easily be removed to clean, if your produce does go bad. But, they actually extend the life of them and keeps produce fresher way longer, so hopefully you won't have to deal with rotten food anytime soon.

8Regularly Wash Your Dish Towels Because You Can

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Kitchen Towels Dish Cloth (12 Pack), $13, Amazon

If you forget to wash your dish towels every few days, you're not alone. I think it's one of those things you don't remember to do because they kind of just live on your oven or dishwasher handle. And every time you need to wipe your hands off, or clean up a tiny spill, you reach for it. And then it goes right back to where it was, getting dirtier and dirtier as the week goes on. I think I forget to toss them in the wash because I only have two, and I don't do laundry that often. To resolve that issue, I suggest picking up a pack of towels like this one. It comes with 12, so you can always have a spare while you're washing your last one.

9Use A Sponge That Doesn't Breed Bacteria

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Feihe Creative Multifunctional Antibacterial Silicone Sponge, $16, Amazon

Not allowing your sponge to dry all the way before storing it can cause bacteria to grow. If you forget to completely rinse it out after using it, the same thing can happen. That's why silicone sponges are a perfect alternative. Because they don't actually absorb water, they dry faster and are easier to rinse out. They make scrubbing pots and pans a breeze and can even be used to wash fruits and veggies. And if you can't find an oven mitt nearby, you can just use a few of these. The great thing is is that this pack comes with five sponges, so you can have one to do everything you need.

10Don't Let Food Fall Down Your Drain, If You Don't Have A Garbage Disposal

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Starfish No Slip Suction Cup Drain Cover (Pack of Three), $9, Amazon

If you don't have a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink, then you really don't want to let food fall down it. Not only can it cause your drains to clog, but it can cause a whole slew of other issues. Your pipes will grow a lot of mold and bacteria, and they can even start to rust since they won't be able to drain properly (and then you'll have gross, stale water, with bacteria swimming in it stuck in your kitchen sink). Save the hassle of snaking your drains and then having to find a way to deep clean them by using a suction drain stopper. This one comes in a fun starfish shape and will stop unwanted food and items from going down your sink.

11Pick Up A Dishwasher-Safe Can Opener, So You Can Wash It After Each Use

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Leifheit Classic Stainless Steel Can Opener, $21, Amazon

When was the last time you washed your can opener? Now think about how many times you use it, then just toss it back in your drawer. It's a lot, right? According to the nonprofit public health group, NSF International, you could be putting E.coli and salmonella back into your drawer along with that can opener. Pick up one that's dishwasher-safe, so you can pop it in there after each use, and really get it cleaned before you put it back in your drawer or open any more food with it.

12Replace Your Water Filtration Pitcher With A Cleaner Option

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PUR FM-4100B Vertical Faucet Water Filter System, $28, Amazon

I prefer drinking filtered water and I don't love using plastic water bottles while I'm sitting in my house because I'll end up going through several in a day. Right now, we have a water pitcher with a built-in filter, but sometimes the purified water can start to taste funny if it has been sitting in there for too long. That can cause mold to grow in the corners and in the pourer. A way to avoid that is to use a faucet filter, instead. It attaches onto your faucet, and all you have to do is switch streams for filtered drinking water whenever you want it. You'll have clean water without it getting stale in a pitcher.

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