There could be something lurking in your dishwasher.
Researchers from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, recently looked at 24 rubbers seals from dishwashers in people’s homes to find out exactly what kind of bacteria grew in these damp appliances.
According to the results, the Daily Mail reports, many dishwashers contained bacteria, including E.coli. The dishwashers also had traces of fungi, Pseudomonas (which could cause chest infections), and Acinetobacter, which has been linked to urinary tract, skin and inner heart lining infections.
But despite these findings, experts say dirty kitchen appliances are not fatal, and in fact, most of the concern is around non-threatening bacteria, mould and odour, says Melissa Maker of Clean My Space in Toronto.
“Not cleaning these things isn’t a life or death situation,” she tells Global News. “But we do have to maintain them because over time, bacteria can build up and odours can become a real problem.”
And it’s not just the dishwasher that needs extra care, below, Maker goes through some of the dirtiest kitchen appliances and easy ways to clean them.
Not cleaning your dishwasher can leave your plates and glassware gritty, she says.
How often should I clean it? Once every six months if you rinse your plates thoroughly, or once every three months if you’re a bit lazier.
How to clean it: You can get cleaning tablets at the grocery store, Maker says, but there are some extra steps to consider. Take a look at your dishwasher’s filter and soak it in warm water and dish soap.
“In mine, I always see chia seeds, but also pulp, paper and food bits. And because dishwashers are dark and damp environments, filters can grow bacteria.”
Down the road, food build-up in microwaves gets harder and harder to remove.
How often should I clean it? It depends on how often you use it and if you use a cover for your plates. Maker suggests cleaning it every time you see food stains and always if you have spills.
How to clean it: Maker suggests taking a bowl and filling it halfway with water and halfway with vinegar and microwaving it for three minutes. “It will create steam and loosen what’s caked on.”
Wipe the inside with a cloth and once the liquid in the bowl has cooled, you can also use it as a cleaner.
If you notice your oven starts to smoke, that’s a sign it needs a good cleaning. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to remove grease and oil, Maker says.
How often should I clean it? One to two times a year.
How to clean it: Most ovens have a self-cleaning option, but if you don’t, use a dull-edged tool to scrape off any visible gunk.
Make your own paste by mixing equal parts baking soda and equal parts dish soap, and combine it with 20 drops of essential oils in an orange flavour. Using a damp sponge, scrub down the walls, floor and glass door of the oven, and use a steel wool scrubber to get rid of any leftover stains.
Most toaster ovens come with a crumb tray, and often, Maker says, that is the only thing people end up cleaning. Toaster ovens can be full of oils, grease and stuck-on food.
How often should I clean it? Depends on how often you use it, but if you smell anything burning, clean it right away.
How to clean it: Use a solution of baking soda and dish soap and give the crumb tray a good scrub. Use a cleaner to wipe down the glass door and the sides.
Maker says coffee maker cleaning instructions depend on the type you have, so always read labels carefully.
How often should I clean it? Two times a year, but again, this depends on the type of coffee maker you have.
How to clean it: Add vinegar to the water compartment and run it through without any coffee. Brew hot vinegar and flush out your pot with water — and don’t forget replacing the filter.
The most common problem with cleaning fridges is people often forget about stains, spills or lost items until the fridge starts to smell.
How often should I clean it? This depends on how well you maintain it, Maker says. If you notice something like mold, do a deep clean right away, if not, always be mindful of what’s in your fridge.
How to clean it: Take everything out of your fridge, including the shelves and drawers, and give everything a scrub with an all-purpose cleaner.
If there are tough stains, use a baking soda and water mix to scrub it down. She also recommends adding 10 drops of tea tree oil to the mixture to any drawers that have mold.
Once you clean everything out, don’t forget to replace your baking soda box in the fridge.