Did you know that more than 200 known diseases are transmitted through food. In the United States alone, an estimated 6 million to 81 million illnesses and up 9,000 deaths are caused by food borne diseases each year.

Keeping the kitchen clean is a simple, yet effective way, of preventing several cases of food borne illness. Here are some easy steps you can take to make your kitchen a safe and happy area of your home from

1) It is easier to clean a kitchen when you do not have to fight your way through it. Toss out or give away any gadgets and appliances you no longer use. Store small appliances in cupboards and cabinets. Display only a few decorations on your countertops. Keeping the extra surfaces to a minimum will provide less breeding ground for bacteria.

2) Clean out your refrigerator on a regular basis. The easiest time to do this is before you do your weekly grocery shopping. Discard any food that shows signs of spoilage. Wipe down the shelves and door using warm, soapy water or cleaning spray. It is safe to use dish detergent in your water when cleaning your refrigerator, but avoid using a variety that has a strong fragrance.

Pantry staples every kitchen should have

3) Clean up any spills on your stovetop each time you cook. Use warm, soapy water or a kitchen cleaner. If you have used the oven, wipe the surfaces and racks after the interior has cooled. It is easier to remove drips and grease from the oven as they happen. Remember to wipe down your stove hood and filter to remove grease and splatters after each use, as well.

4) Wipe out your microwave after each use. Use a damp dishcloth that has been soaked in hot, soapy water. Use a little bit of baking soda to remove stubborn food sticking to the sides. If there are strong odors lingering in your microwave, put a couple slices of lemon or some vinegar in a bowl of water and heat it on high for 2-3 minutes to freshen the interior, and then wipe out it out once more.

5) The work surfaces are the most dangerous areas in the kitchen. Food, utensils and hands come directly in contact with these surfaces several times per day. Wipe down the work areas of your countertops before and after using them. Use hot, soapy water or a kitchen cleaning spray. Clean your countertops. Remove everything from the countertops and wash the entire surface once per week. An effective sanitizing solution for thoroughly cleaning the kitchen counters is to mix one capful of bleach into a quart of warm water. Allow the counters to air dry. Wipe the surfaces of any appliances kept on the countertop as you put them back into place.

6) Wash dishes as you use them. Do not let dirty dishes sit out on the counter. Bacteria and mold grows quickly on dirty dishes, especially in warm temperatures. Dirty dishes attract flies and other insects, as well as rodents. Wash dishes by hand or put them in the dishwasher each time you eat or prepare food.

7) Change your dishtowel and sponge daily. Bacteria can survive for weeks in a wet dishcloth or sponge. It is therefore important to change your dishcloth, dishtowels and sponges on a daily basis. Use one dishcloth or sponge for cleaning the counters and another for washing the dishes. Use disposable paper towels when cleaning up spilled fluids from raw meat. If you plan to use a single dishcloth throughout the day, let it soak in a little water that has had a couple drops of bleach added to it between uses.

How to clean your microwave

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