Skip to content

Kitchen hygiene and food safety

Good food safety means not giving bacteria a chance to get comfortable.

To prevent bacteria growing and spreading in your kitchen, it is important to clean any chopping boards and other surfaces that come into contact with food. Proper cleaning requires hot soapy water and a good scrub.

How to wash your dishcloths

Damp cloths, sponges and tea towels are perfect places for bacteria to grow. If they are not kept clean, they will spread the bacteria wherever you use them.

  • Wash dishcloths every two days.
  • You can use a hot wash in the washing machine, or boil them in water for 15 minutes.
  • If you’ve used a cloth to wipe up after raw meat or vegetables, then replace it straight away with a clean one.
  • If your dishcloth smells, then it’s definitely time to change it.

Start and finish with a clean worktop

  • Always wash the kitchen worktop before you start preparing food.
  • Wipe up any spills as you go.
  • Clean up straight away after handling raw meat, raw eggs or soil on raw vegetables.
  • You are likely to touch the fridge and door handles, the oven, the microwave, the kitchen tap and the sink area when you are preparing food. Remember to clean these well too.

How to wash a chopping board

Cracks and grooves on chopping boards can harbour bacteria, so it is very important to clean them thoroughly.

  • Wash your chopping board with hot soapy water after each use and be sure to scrub off any food or bits of dirt.
  • This is very important if you have used the board to cut meat, poultry, seafood or raw vegetables.
  • A hot wash in the dishwasher is a very good way to clean plastic chopping boards, but a good scrub in the sink with hot soapy water will also work.
  • Never put ready-to-eat food, such as salad, bread or fruit, on a worktop or chopping board that raw meat has touched, unless you have washed it very well first.
  • Ideally, have separate chopping boards for raw meat and for ready-to-eat food.

Cooking utensils

  • Be very careful to wash anything that you’ve used with raw meat before using it again with cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
  • Wash utensils in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher.

 The fridge 

  • Clean your fridge regularly, especially the fridge handle, shelves and storage compartments.
  • Wash all surfaces thoroughly with warm, soapy water, then rinse clean.
  • Avoid using cleaning products that may pass on taste to food, or damage your fridge’s interior finish or door seals.
  • Wipe up spills immediately.
  • Dry thoroughly with a clean towel or kitchen roll.
  • Once a week throw out foods that have passed their ‘use-by’ date.

Related pages

Safefood Logo

Sign up for our latest healthy eating and recipe updates.

Safefood logo

The site content is redirecting to the NI version.