Kitchen tasks cannot be done without using your hands, so we all know that preparing meals also means thoroughly washing your hands. After all, together with safety, cleanliness is one of the most important criteria in the kitchen.
How to wash your hands properly
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, making sure that your fingernails are also clean. The exact temperature of the water doesn’t matter, but it shouldn’t be so hot that it damages your skin.
The germ-reducing effect of washing your hands is down to the soap and the mechanical hand movements as germs are rinsed off your hands. You should devote at least 20–30 seconds to washing your hands.
Remember to lather not only the palms of your hands, but also your fingertips, the backs of your hands and the spaces between your fingers. And don’t forget to take off your wedding ring or other rings.
Washing-up liquid is not suitable for hand-washing.
Lots of people tend to use washing-up liquid to give their hands a quick wash in the kitchen. However, the pH value of this makes it unsuitable for your hands.
It’s better to use hand soap, as the lipid coating protects the skin and cannot be damaged. Healthy skin is essentially less vulnerable.
Damp hands transfer germs more quickly
As wet hands are a real paradise for germs, allowing them to multiply up to 500 times faster, it is particularly important to dry your hands thoroughly after washing them.
Use a special tea towel or paper towel. Be careful with tea towels, as they are often damp and a haven for bacteria. You should change them regularly and wash them at 60°C.
The important thing is to look after your hands properly, especially during the cold weather. Washing with soap and water damages the skin’s protective barrier and washes fats out. To counteract this effect, you should also regularly use hand cream.
Make sure everyone in the house keeps good hand hygiene
The transfer of food-borne germs
You should also wash your hands between different steps in the cooking process in order to avoid cross-contamination. The transfer of germs from one food to another is known as cross-contamination.
This means that bacteria can even be dangerous if they are killed off during the cooking of contaminated food. For instance, this could occur when switching between fish or meat and raw ingredients, as often happens when preparing vegetables or salad.
Looking after cooking utensils
Clean knives, chopping boards and worktops thoroughly after you have been working with raw meat or fish, and before using the same implements to cut up vegetables.
Ideally, you should use different chopping boards and knives for different foods. Consider changing your chopping boards every so often.
Do I have to disinfect my hands?
The shelves of supermarkets are growing with soaps and washes marked ‘antibacterial’. These contain substances that can kill a variety of pathogens such as bacteria and fungi, or at least help to prevent them from reproducing. However, washing with completely normal soap is quite sufficient. Disinfecting your hands is unnecessary in household kitchens and will put an unnecessary strain on your skin and the environment.