The five items in your kitchen that have the most germs

Time to get scrubbing! Experts reveal the five DIRTIEST items in your kitchen – from spice racks to SPONGES – and share hacks for ensuring your cooking space remains germ-free

  • A recent study by the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service revealed the top five dirtiest area in your home 
  • Spice racks, kitchen sinks and cutting boards harbor bacteria 
  • It was also revealed that sponges and refrigerator drawers are contaminated 

Germs are lurking in the some of the most unexpected spaces, and a brand new study has revealed the spots in your kitchen that you’d never think to clean but are likely covered in icky bacteria – including your spice rack, sink, and sponges. 

Researchers in a recent study by the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service examined different areas in kitchen to discover which spots hold the most germs. 

From your refrigerator drawers to your cutting boards, the place you cook your family dinners in may be dirtier than you think – and it will likely have you reaching for the cleaning supplies. 

A recent study by the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service revealed the top five dirtiest area in your home (stock image)

NBC’s Vicky Nguyen shared how consumers can clean the top five dirtiest areas in the cooking spaces 

https://youtube.com/watch?v=Dpn7tvSu_eE%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26hl%3Den-US

An unexpected area for germs! Spice racks revealed to be the number one spot for germs 

Participants of the study – who thought they were testing new recipes – were told to prepare turkey burgers. 

As they cooked, scientists closely watched them cross-contaminating surfaces in the kitchen. 

Spice jars used to make the meal were found to harbor the most amount of bacteria, with 48 per cent of spices had germs from the turkey on them. 

The study, recently published in the Journal of Food Protection, explained that while chefs often wipe down handles or other frequently touched areas they forget about their spice jars. 

Spice jars used to make the meal were found to harbor the most amount of bacteria, with 48 per cent of spices had germs from the turkey on them

‘Consumers may not necessarily think to wipe down or decontaminate spice containers after cooking because they are not typically targeted as high risk for cross-contamination in consumer messaging,’ the study noted.

NBC’s Vicky Nguyen shared how consumers can clean all of their spaces after seasoning. 

Noting that cooking meat and then touching your spices was the ‘worst case scenario’ she added that you should give your seasoning supplies a wash with ‘hot soapy water’ or a ‘wipe down.’ 

The dirt is in the sink! The kitchen sink is the filled with germs


 The soap dispenser was said to be the dirtiest because you often cook and then go to wash your hands without thinking about wiping down the soap bottle afterwards.

The second most contaminated area was no surprise to consumers – the kitchen sink. 

And while consumers can guess the inside of their sink is the dirtiest, what came as a surprise was how much bacteria the hand soap dispenser harbored.

The soap dispenser was said to be the dirtiest because you often cook and then go to wash your hands without thinking about wiping down the soap bottle afterwards. 

Nguyen noted that if consumers are worried about the germs on their soap bottles, they should just wash it after giving their hands a good scrub. 

She also noted that you should give the sink handles a good wipe down and clean out your entire sink ‘every night.’ 

A microbiologist, who wasn’t part of the study, recently went viral on TikTok for revealing just how dirty your kitchen sink can be – even after you clean it

Tim Call, 32, tested his own sink for bacteria before and after scrubbing it with hot water and cleaning supplies


Before the scrub down, the scientist, from Utah, discovered an abundance of bacteria. And after the cleaning (seen), he still found a shocking 45,000 original bacteria samples lurking

She explained that using hot soapy water or a mix of bleach, ‘one to two tablespoons’ per gallon of water. 

A microbiologist, who wasn’t part of the study, recently went viral on TikTok for revealing just how dirty your kitchen sink can be – even after you clean it.

Tim Call, 32, tested his own sink for bacteria before and after scrubbing it with hot water and cleaning supplies.

Before the scrub down, the scientist, from Utah, discovered an abundance of bacteria. And after the cleaning, he still found a shocking 45,000 original bacteria samples lurking behind.

He shared his disturbing findings to his 203,000 followers on TikTok, and it left many people on the web horrified.

Cleaning products that make your home dirtier? Sponges are on the filthiest things in your kitchen 


The next item on the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s list shocked consumers as it revealed the item you use to clean is harboring tons of bacteria

The next item on the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service’s list shocked consumers as it revealed the item you use to clean your dishes is harboring tons of bacteria. 

The reason sponges are so contaminated is because they remain damp so bacteria love to live on them. 

And while clean freaks may be left jaw-dropped to learn they might just have to toss out their sponges, there is a way to clean them. 

The USDA noted that you can microwave your sponge for one to two minutes. 

This will help kill of those bacteria. 

Nguyen also noted that you can throw your sponges in the dishwasher, but make sure it has a really good ‘dry cycle.’ 

She added that dish towels also harbor plenty of bacteria so you can either swap them out everyday or have three sperate towels – one for your hands, one for your counters, and one for the dishes.  

Cut out the germs! Cutting boards harbor tons of bacteria  

Cutting boards also came as no surprise to consumers, as they are listed as one of the dirtiest items in your kitchen

Cutting boards also came as no surprise to consumers, as they are listed as one of the dirtiest items in your kitchen. 

Nguyen explained that whether you have a plastic or wood cutting board, when you are using it ‘the grooves become a breeding ground for bacteria.’ 

She added that the grooves made by your knife are another are bacteria can be found in. 

To remove all of the icky germs, she recommends washing your cutting board twice. 

This means wash it once with soap and water and then throw it in the dishwasher to give it a second wash. 

The most important part of cleaning your cutting board is to make sure it is dry after you give it a good wash. 

She also recommend you use a different cutting board for your meat, for your poultry, and your fruits and vegetables. 

Line the drawers! Refrigerator drawers are said to be one of the most dirty items in your kitchen

The last filthy spot in your cooking space was revealed to be your refrigerator drawers

The last filthy spot in your cooking space was revealed to be your refrigerator drawers. 

These spots tended to be some of the dirtiest because consumers often store their meat and fruits inside and forgot to line their drawers, leaving juice or germs behind. 

Cleaning experts note that you should clean out your fridge entirely once every season. 

Nguyen recommended consumers line these areas with paper towels so that after anything leaks you can just pick up the paper towels and be done. 

She also suggested washing the drawers with soap and water before giving them a wipe down. 

Her last tip was to store your meat in a produce bag instead of directly tossing it into your drawer.  

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