Bacteria are single-cell microorganisms that exist everywhere and reproduce quickly. Some kinds of bacteria are harmless, while other types cause disease and sickness. These types are called pathogens. If not controlled, harmful bacteria can take over the home, causing a family to be plagued with health problems. People can kill bacteria in the home through several methods including sterilization, pasteurization, cold temperatures, antiseptics, and disinfectants.
Sterilization uses intense heat to kill bacteria, and pasteurization uses mild heat to lessen the number of bacteria in foods. Cold temperatures combat bacteria as well. When food is refrigerated or frozen, it is preserved and protected from bacteria. Antiseptics are applied to human skin to eliminate bacteria that may collect on an open cut. Finally, a disinfectant can be used to clean toilets, sinks, and floors.
People can kill bacteria by washing their hands after using the bathroom, touching raw food, changing a baby's diaper, cleaning up after a pet, or taking out the trash. It's important to use soap and warm water, scrubbing the hands, washing under the fingernails, and including the wrists in the hand-washing process. Wash for at least 15 seconds in order to kill bacteria on the skin.
In order to reduce bacteria in the kitchen, do not handle raw foods for a long amount of time. If foods are not going to be eaten immediately, they should be refrigerated or frozen right away. They should never be left to sit at room temperature, as this is a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. When cooking in the kitchen, people should use disinfectant on cutting boards, knives, and utensils that touch any type of raw food. A designated cutting board should only be used specifically for raw food preparation in order to protect foods from cross-contamination.
When using sponges and dish towels, it's imperative that they are disinfected. Sponges should be placed in a dishwasher while dish cloths and towels should be bleached in the washing machine. An excellent way to eliminate bacteria contamination is to use paper towels to wipe off counter services. All counters should immediately be cleaned with a disinfectant.
Bacteria can be killed with hot water, bleach, vinegar, tea tree oil mixed with water, and various household cleaners that can be purchased at a discount store. Lemon is a food acid that also kills bacteria effectively. Sodium borate, or Borax, is another good disinfectant that eliminates bacteria in the home. Whether a homeowner chooses a natural product or a disinfectant available commercially, she should choose cleaners that will kill bacteria and provide her family with a safe environment in which to live.