Here's your friendly reminder.
Credit: Christine Rose Photography/Getty Images

Hate to break it to you, but your weekly cursory wipe-downs of your kitchen might not be cutting it. The sheer amount of people, produce, meat, dairy, and water that pass through your kitchen on a daily basis means that you’re bound to miss at least a couple of germ-infested spots. Here are a few spots you’re probably missing (or putting off)—no judgment.

Dish rack tray

Admit it: Deep down you know that tray of stagnant water underneath your dish rack isn’t good news. Even though it’s where clean dishes go, food particles, and warm water collect in that tray for way too long. Take this as a reminder to give the tray a good scrub ASAP.

Can opener

It’s one of those tools that you use and toss back into the drawer without too much thought—maybe if you’re somewhat proactive, you give it a quick pat dry with a paper towel. But think of all that caked-on bean and tuna juice… it’s not a good look. To prevent rusting, The Kitchn recommends soaking in some vinegar to dissolve whatever’s crusted (*shudders*).


Taking out the trash: It’s a chore you’ve probably been doing since you were a kid. But if you’re meticulous about regularly emptying out the garbage can and still can’t quite get rid of that lingering smell, it’s time to take a peek inside (Spoiler: It’s probably not pretty). Small food spills, tiny tears in trash bags, and a dark damp environment is a recipe for major odor. Some bleach cleanser, and leaving your garbage can open in bright warm sunlight for a few hours to make sure it’s 100% dry can do wonders.

Toaster crumb tray

But you already knew this one, right? If your kitchen smells like a charcoal grill every time you make a piece a toast, it’s time to get on it and finally clean the crumb tray. Not only is it a fire hazard, you don’t need that smoky wakeup call every time you try to toast your morning bagel. Check the manual to figure out how to open the bottom crumb tray for a thorough clean—it’s not enough to just shake the toaster upside down over the sink.

Reusable grocery bags

If you use plastic bags, you’re used to tossing any that have even a bit of moisture on them after each trip to the grocery store. With reusable bags, well, not so much. Raw meat, leaky jugs of dairy, and cleaning products are just some of the items you probably lug back and forth in the same bag week after week without much thought. Our tip: designate a bag for dairy and meat, one for produce, and one exclusively for purchases that aren’t food. And make sure to toss them in the washer every now and then.

Fridge and freezer handles

You’re probably pretty good about making sure that your shelves aren’t sticky and there’s no old produce in the back of your fridge. What you’re neglecting: the door handles. You probably touch a lot of perishable food on the reg and then touch the handle without thinking twice. A good Lysol wipe down is all you need every couple days to make sure it doesn’t get too gross.

Oven mitt

Your oven mitt deals with more messes than you may think. Small splashes of gravies, brownie batter, and dough don’t seem like much when they happen, but things can get crusty fast. It should be fairly easy to clean these though—just toss them in the washer and dryer for a cycle and they should be good to go (but if there are major grease stains/spills, it’s probably safer to clean mitts by hand first, to avoid any fire hazards).

Lunch box

You empty out that Tupperware and those utensils each night, but drips and spills that can accumulate over days probably tend to go neglected. If your lunchbox still smells like that soy sauce spill from two months ago, it’s time to check the tag to see how to clean your lunchbox: Some can go in your washer, some can go in your dishwasher, and some (unfortunately) require that you clean them by hand.