When thinking about places in your home that are breeding grounds for bacteria, the toilet seems like the top contender.
However, recent research, carried out by food hygiene experts at High Speed Training, found that parts of the fridge are up to three times dirtier than a toilet seat.
Having analysed swabs taken from different areas of fridges, the research team found that the fridge door was the dirtiest area, hiding the highest levels of bacteria.
Fortunately, Natasha Blythe, Learning Designer and Food Hygiene Expert at High Speed Training, shared why your fridge could house these pesky organisms and what to do about it.
Blythe said: “Firstly, a correctly functioning refrigerator door is usually the warmest part of the fridge.
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“Typically, bacteria thrive and grow in warmer temperatures and therefore it’s a perfect breeding ground for germs.”
Another reason behind high levels of bacteria hiding in the home appliance could be incorrect food storage.
The fridge door is usually the go-to place for storing milk but the warm temperatures in this area allow bacteria to grow, increasing the odds of spoilage.
Therefore, the expert recommended storing your milk at the back of the fridge, where it’s the coldest, and moving the likes of juice, mayonnaise, ketchup, jam and other jars or bottles to the front.
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“In addition to this, when it comes to cleaning, the fridge door compartments may be overlooked and this can also contribute to a build-up of nasty bacteria,” Blythe added.
How to deep clean your fridge
To minimise the risk of pesky organisms taking over your refrigerator, Blythe recommended deep cleaning the kitchen appliance at least three times a year.
“This is best done when the fridge is nearly empty, before you’re about to complete a big food shop,” she said.
You should remove everything out of your fridge, including shelving and drawers, and clean the interior with a soapy water solution as harsh chemicals can linger in your fridge and potentially contaminate your fresh food once you restock the refrigerator.
Blythe added: “Wipe and clean your fridge from the top down to ensure that you don’t contaminate areas which you have already cleaned.
“Once everything is clean, it’s important that you dry all surfaces to remove any excess moisture.”
Blythe also instructed to wash all the shelves and drawers that have been removed with hot and soapy water to ensure everything is fresh.
Lastly, you also need to wipe clean the fridge exterior, paying special attention to germ hotspots like the handle.
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