by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Recent research shows that second to dishcloths and sponges, the kitchen sink is one of the most common places to find a wide range of bacteria, including E. coli.
Most people have heard the standard bacterial comparison between a toilet seat and a cutting board. However, not as many realize that there are many other sources of bacteria lurking all around the house without anyone even knowing.
The researcher behind these findings, Dr. Charles Gerba is a professor and microbiologist at Arizona University and has been studying in this field since 1973; so these results should be taken as an authority source.
Aside from the obvious bacterial hangouts in the toilet and common practices to avoid spreading bacteria (flushing with the toilet lid closed); Gerba reveals that there is an overwhelming amount of bacteria in the kitchen that people don’t seem to be aware of. The danger this poses is significant due to the amount of food that’s prepared in the kitchen. If people are unaware of the danger, then the chance of falling ill is significantly increased because there is no bacteria removal or prevention in place.
The counter-top, kitchen sink and cutting surfaces are among the worst bacteria breeding grounds and special attention should be paid to these areas to ensure a clean, germ free environment is created.
Gerba noted that E. coli was more abundantly found in the sink than in the toilet after it has been flushed. This will immediately spark concern for those with large families and children as nobody wants to see their loved ones getting ill.
It is rather alarming to realize just how much bacteria can form in a damp environment, especially as there are remnants of food for the bacteria to consume. However, there are some basic steps you can take to stop this; using vinegar and lemon juice will remove the majority of bacteria, however, stronger pathogens will still remain.
This is, yet again, a reason why I believe that the Romani-Gypsy system of using separate bowls for different tasks, such as washing the dishes, washing vegetables, meats, etc., makes more than just sense; it is essential.
A Gypsy man or woman would never use the sink itself for the washing of dishes nor foods and even though the original part of rule of using different bowls comes from the days of old and of the itinerant life it has been carried over also into those that live in houses.
For that very reason no dogs or cats will ever be permitted – at least they are not under the rules, though alas, some, nowadays break those rules – into the living quarters. Those two types of animals in particular are a source of many pathogens.
The sink would also not be used, by those who adhere to the rules strictly, despite the fact that dishes and food are not washed in it, to wash anything else, often not even hands. For that too a separate bowl would be in use, as for other washing, when on the road, though today, in a house, the basin in the washroom will be used for washing hands.
No food would ever be cut on the counter-top either and in the old days every utensil or item of food that would fall onto the floor would be discarded and destroyed. With today's stainless steel utensils washing is a way out but it is a case of thoroughly washing and not just rinsing.
Dishes should be washed, in my opinion, in hot water with the addition of vinegar and salt to the washing up water containing the dish soap.
While the likes of the EPA claim that vinegar and lemon juice, and other natural cleaners do not kill all pathogens, other research had shown that vinegar, tea tree oil, lemon juice, salt and others, do kill 99% of all known germs and pathogens.
Important, in order to avoid contamination is also that hands are washed thoroughly before food is being prepared and if anything else is being touched that this process is being repeated. While it is true that a little dirt does not hurt and actually boosts the immune system E. coli and other such pathogens are not fun.