A chef has shared her top tips for keeping your kitchen clean and coronavirus-free, after virologists warned that COVID-19 can ‘live on any surface’.
Food author, chef and former teacher Lee Holmes, from Sydney, said for many people the kitchen is the social centre of the home, and now more than ever with people self-isolating, we are spending a great degree of time in there.
‘COVID-19 is a contact virus,’ Lee explained on her website.
‘It cannot only spread via person-to-person transmission, but also via the surfaces and objects we touch.’
With this in mind, the kitchen can easily become a place where coronavirus can spread quickly.
Food author, chef and former teacher Lee Holmes (pictured), from Sydney, said it’s absolutely vital at this time to keep your kitchen clean and coronavirus-free
Lee (pictured at home) said you need to wash your knives between chopping each vegetable, to stop any virus from being transferred from produce to knife to other produce
CLEAN YOUR KNIVES BETWEEN CUTTING EACH FOOD
What are Lee’s top tips for keeping your kitchen clean?
* Clean your knives between cutting each food, even if it’s just different vegetables. The virus can transfer from contaminated produce onto knives and then to other produce.
* Set your dishwasher to 60 degrees plus to help to destroy the virus with hot water.
* Cook your meat thoroughly, as advised by the WHO. ‘All raw meat can contain microorganisms and bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
* Wash your hands and use hand sanitiser at regular intervals.
* Think forensically and clean all surfaces, including knobs, knockers and light switches.
To stay on top of your kitchen and both the food and items that are in there, Lee said you need to be incredibly vigilant about what you’re eating and how you’re cooking.
‘If you’re cutting or grating fresh produce such as tomatoes, cucumbers and strawberries, a study shows that viruses including norovirus and hepatitis A can be transferred from contaminated produce onto knives,’ Lee said.
‘If you’re planning on using the knife again to cut another ingredient, it would be able to transfer the virus from the knife to another food source.’
Because of this, the chef said you should be cleaning your knives not just after you’ve used them to cut all of your vegetables, but between cutting each vegetable or fruit.
‘This will help to prevent some cross-contamination in the kitchen,’ Lee said.
SET YOUR DISHWASHER TO 60 DEGREES PLUS
The second thing Lee said you absolutely must be doing in the kitchen is setting your dishwasher to 60C plus every time you run a cycle.
‘Coronavirus is destroyed by hot water, so if you’re using a dishwasher, set it to above 60C and use sanitisers in the kitchen and that should do the trick,’ Lee explained.
COOK YOUR MEAT THOROUGHLY
If you’re cooking meat within your kitchen, Lee said you shouldn’t be aiming for it to be under-done or even medium cooked.
‘The World Health Organisation suggests that if you’re eating meat then cooking it well is best,’ Lee said.
‘All raw meat can contain microorganisms and bacteria that can cause food poisoning. This can help prevent cross-contamination.’
The second thing Lee (pictured) said you absolutely must be doing in the kitchen is setting your dishwasher to 60 degrees plus every time you run a cycle
HOW LONG CAN COVID-19 SURVIVE ON SURFACES?
In the air: Infectious disease researchers have found COVID-19 remains infectious in contaminated airborne respiratory droplets for at least three hours, however they have not determined whether humans produce enough of the disease in a single cough or sneeze to infect another person.
On soft, porous surfaces: COVID-19 can survive on porous surfaces like cardboard, paper, clothing and soft furnishings like pillows and Doonas for up to 24 hours. Porous surfaces allow air and water to pass through, which makes them much less likely to hold infectious volumes of the virus compared to non-porous objects like door handles, taps and phone covers.
On hard, shiny surfaces: COVID-19 has been proven to stay active on hard surfaces like glass, plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours. Hard, shiny materials are non-porous which means water, air and vapour cannot pass through and instead rest and accumulate on the surface.
World Economic Forum researchers have confirmed the virus does degrade over time, reducing the likelihood of infection the longer contaminated droplets have sat on a surface, but you should still avoid touching handles, buttons and other objects in public spaces. If unavoidable, you should avoid touching your face until you have thoroughly washed your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
Frequently touched household surfaces like taps, door handles, computer keyboards and toilets should be cleaned using bleach or alcohol solutions of at least 70 per cent alcohol.
On hair: There is no evidence to suggest coronavirus can be carried in strands of beards or facial hair.
WASH YOUR HANDS AND USE HAND SANITISER
It’s the most commonly-used phrase during the coronavirus, but Lee said there is good reason behind the drive to wash your hands and use hand sanitister at every given point.
‘Wash your hands before handling any food, and even when you are touching and preparing raw and then cooked foods,’ Lee said.
You should also keep hand sanitiser in your kitchen to use between dealing with various foods, and occasionally take the time to wander the perimeter of your kitchen spraying a disinfectant spray gun.
Lee (pictured) explained you must think forensically in your kitchen and not only clean your range hoods and workbenches, but also light switches and door knobs and knockers
THINK FORENSICALLY AND CLEAN ALL SURFACES
While you might think you’re on top of your cleaning when you clean your surfaces, range hood and cooker, Lee said if you’re only doing this, you’re not thinking ‘forensically’ enough.
‘Regularly clean and sanitise workbenches and equipment, clean frequently-touched surfaces such as door handles and light switches,’ she said.
You also need to remember all the knobs and knockers and handles on items like the stove or where you pull out your drawers.
The chef added that you could also keep a note on your fridge to remind you to wash your hands – and of when you cleaned specific areas.
Every surface is a potential coronavirus hazard, so you need to be very careful when you go to the supermarket, a virologist explained (stock image)
WASH YOUR FRUIT AND VEGETABLES WITH SOAP
Associate professor at the University of Sydney, Timothy Newsome (pictured), said you should be washing your fruit and vegetables with soap
Speaking previously to FEMAIL, associate professor at the University of Sydney, Timothy Newsome, said you should be washing your fruit and vegetables with soap.
He told Daily Mail Australia that while the virus can live on most surfaces, patrons doing their weekly grocery shop should be particularly wary of the fruit and veg aisle as customers are constantly picking up and placing back down items.
‘We have to remember that every surface is potentially contaminated. And like with any surface there is a risk,’ Mr Newsome explained.
‘We don’t see it as high risk because that comes from sustained contact with other people, but nonetheless it’s important to be mindful.’
‘People working in the supermarkets should be picking all of the fruit and veg up and setting it back down with protection,’ he said.
Luckily he noted a large proportion of shelf stackers and general workers wearing gloves and disinfecting their hands at every turn.
The best course of action is to wash your fruit and vegetables with soap as soon as you bring them home, not simply relying on the high heat of cooking them to ‘kill’ the virus.
‘Wash them with warm soapy water, just as you do your hands,’ he said.