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June 19, 2005; Neat little kitchen trick

I will tell you right up front that I heard this on CBC radio (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) sometime within the last year, but I have searched the archives and cannot find the exact program, so I apologize for the lack of proper referencing on this one. The rags and sponges we use to wipe down our kitchen counters are probably the dirtiest things in our homes. Is it possible that you soaked up those chicken juices with a rag, rinsed the rag out under the tap, and then at some later time, used that same rag to wipe down your countertops? The warm, moist rags are perfect breeding grounds for bacteria, and then we promptly wipe that bacteria all over our kitchen counters when we clean up. According to this unknown CBC radio piece, the kitchen counters that appeared to be the cleanest, were actually the ones that tested the most covered in bacteria. The messiest kitchens actually tested with less bacteria simply because they were not wiped down. Does that mean you need to be a slob to be more healthy? No! Just put those damp rags in the microwave and nuke them for three minutes. That will kill every bit of life in those rags, and you will be okay to wipe down your counters. Then nuke them again for another three minutes, and you will be ready for the next time you need your rag. Neat, eh?