Was It Something I Ate?  >  The Right Tools for the Job



When you think about keeping food safe that you prepare at home, you need to be sure that you have the right tools for the job. Remember, you cannot see bacteria. Having the right tools on hand for cleaning, cutting and controlling temperatures can help make you a C-LES Fighter.

Remember that in the kitchen one of the first steps to having a safe clean kitchen is you! Clothes should be close-fitting. This will prevent the clothes from getting into the food or tangled on the pots and pans that you are using. Also, hands should be free from any open sores that would allow bacteria to get into the food. Lastly, accidents happen so having a first aid kit handy is always a great idea.

There are two different categories of tools for fighting bacteria in the kitchen. Cleaning and cooking tools are the first category that will be mentioned. The chemicals used in the kitchen will be the second category. When these two are used properly together, there little chance for bacteria to survive.


Cleaning And Cooking Tools

1. Broom and dust pan

During and after cooking, sweep up any foods dropped on the floor and throw them in the trash.

2. Cooler

You should use a cooler for transporting food during spring and summer outings, storing food while cleaning the refrigerator, and during short-term power outages.

Always pack a refrigerator thermometer in your cooler to make sure the food is kept at 40 degrees F (4.4 degrees C) or less.

3. Cutting boards

You can avoid cross-contamination by using a clean cutting board each time you change foods. For example, if you cut raw meats (beef, pork, poultry or seafood), change the cutting board to cut ready-to-eat foods, fruits or vegetables.

Plastic or other non-porous cutting boards are easier to clean. They can be washed in hot soapy water or run through the dishwasher.

4. Long-Handled Bottle Brush

You will use this tool for cleaning jars and bottles. It also works well if you're trying to clean around the inside edges of pots and pans.

5. Dishcloths

Use a clean dishcloth everyday to wash dishes, wipe up spills and clean the kitchen counter.

Wash the dishcloth in the washing machine on the hot water cycle and dry in a hot dryer.

Dishcloths are easier to keep clean than sponges and can be purchased inexpensively.

6. Mop

Mop kitchen floors often.

7. Paper Towels

You can use paper towels to clean the kitchen or maybe use a combination of paper towels and dishcloths.


It might be easier to wipe up small spills and clean small areas with a paper towel.

Use a dishcloth for cleaning larger areas.

After each use, just throw the paper towel away.

8. Refrigerator/Freezer/Appliance Thermometer

Use a thermometer so you know the inside temperature of your refrigerator and freezer.


The refrigerator temperature control dial does not give the temperature.

Checking the temperature daily on the thermometer is the best way to determine if the refrigerator and freezer are cold enough to keep food safe.

Refrigerator temperature should be 40 degrees F (4.4 degrees C). or below. The freezer temperature should 0 to -10 degrees F (-18 Ė -23 degrees C).

9. Sponge

Did you know sponges provide a great place for C-LES to grow? He loves the warmth, moisture and food collected on the sponge.

If you use a sponge, remember to clean and dry it after each use and buy a new one often. While the recommendation is sometimes made to heat WET sponges in the microwave, the guidelines are not precise and there is a possibility of fire.

10. Toothbrush or other small brush

Use this for cleaning drains, sink edges, and other hard to reach areas that need cleaning. Donít let C-LES grow.

11. Trash can with top

A trash can with a top or lid lined with a bag is a sanitary way to throw away any garbage or refrigerated leftover foods more than 4 days old.

12. Vegetable brush

Use a vegetable brush to scrub vegetables and fruits with hard-surfaces, such as melons, cucumbers and acorn squash.

After each use, clean the brush with hot soapy water or run it through a dishwasher if it is dishwasher safe. This brush should only be used to clean produce.

13. Cooking Thermometer

Apply the Heat Ö and Fight C-LES.

Cooking food to the proper temperature kills C-LES, so thoroughly cook your food and use a cooking thermometer to test the temperature.


Chemical Cleaners

1. Bleach

You will need this to prepare the sanitizing solution. Do not mix with other cleansers and detergents.

The recipe for a sanitizing solution is to mix one teaspoon of liquid chlorine bleach with one quart of plain water.

2. Cleanser

Use cleanser for cleaning sinks, counter tops, pots, pans and other kitchen surfaces. You can choose powder or liquid.

3. Dish detergent

Use dish detergent to clean dishes, utensils, pots, pans, countertops and other kitchen items. Antimicrobial dish detergent is not necessary.

4. Hand soap

Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and liquid hand soap before, during and after cooking and cleaning.




What Did You Learn?

How should you use bleach to sanitize a surface? (Choose one answer)


When using a cooler, what temperature should the thermometer read? (Choose one answer)


A vegetable brush should be used to clean? (Choose one answer)


A sponge is a great place for bacteria to grow. (Choose one answer)




Please Select Another Topic to Continue

Letís Start with the Basics

Better Safe than Sorry ó What Not to Eat

Store It Right

Clean It! Make It Safe!

A Little Elbow Grease

What Is Hot and What Is Not



Last Update: 04.06.12

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