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Do you have these 7 mess hotspots in your kitchen?

Did you know that there is a difference between a messy kitchen and an unhygienic kitchen?

If you are responsible for a kitchen that serves your community, church congregation or another group, it’s an important distinction to know – especially if you are looking to upgrade your kitchen.

A messy kitchen isn’t inherently unhygienic (unless you don’t clean it). However, an unhygienic kitchen will always breed mess.

This means if you get your kitchen hygiene under control, you can reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning up mess and spend more of it bringing people together over delicious food.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you target those kitchen mess hotspots and help you create a hygienic environment for all of your kitchen users.

These are our top 7 ‘Kitchen Mess Hotspots’ – are they in your kitchen?

1. Silicone where a worktop abuts a wall

What’s the problem?

When a worktop abuts a wall, silicone is often placed at the joint to seal a gap.

Some silicone ‘sealants’ are waterproof and food-safe, but as well as being difficult to paint over, mould can also gather at these seals where not regularly cleaned.

Given that a worktop is where you prepare food, it’s a hygiene risk.

What’s the solution?

If you choose a stainless steel worktop with a folded rear upstand, there’s no gap to seal. That means there is no sealant to deteriorate, gather bacteria or harbour mould.

2. Recessed Sinks

What’s the problem?

Domestic-style kitchens tend to feature an inset sink, and that is usually sealed with silicone. The silicone there deteriorates as well, creating small spaces to harbour bacteria. The environment for those bacteria is also certain to be moist, which means more bacteria can thrive.

What’s the solution?

If you choose a stainless steel worktop and a stainless steel sink, you can have the sink welded in place, and have that weld ground and polished, so that you eliminate any gaps for a seamless one-piece worktop which doesn’t require sealant and is easy to clean.

3. Loose Vinyl Wrap

What’s the problem?

MDF kitchens – which are their own source of problems  – may look pleasant in a domestic environment, but not hard-wearing enough for a semi-commercial environment. They also have a habit of absorbing unhygienic spills, attracting mites, and splintering.

However, on some occasions, cabinets and drawers are coated in a vinyl ‘wrap’ or ‘foil’ to make them waterproof. That being said, when it starts to come away from the unit, it will leave behind a sticky residue (and be a tempting thing for younger users to pull and pick at).

What’s the solution?

You have to be very careful when purchasing vinyl wrapped doors and surfaces. MDF is a poor choice of material for a community kitchen anyway, so you’re far better off opting for a kitchen made of hard-wearing, waterproof polyester powder-coated mild steel.

4. Single/Two-tiered open trestles

What’s the problem?

Open trestles without doors are a nice ‘display’ feature in a home kitchen, and they make accessing your kitchen gadgets easy.

However, they simply aren’t hygienic. Doors don’t just stop your cookware from falling out, but also prevent dust (and insects) from getting in.

What’s the solution?

The most hygienic solution is, simply, to install a cover, such as a door or a drawer.

5. Wall Tiles

What’s the problem?

Wall tiles are a fashionable thing to have in a kitchen, but as the grout gets wet, it’s a prime location for germs to develop.

What’s the solution?

A PVC or glass splashback is easy to clean, and doesn’t offer nooks for germs to settle in.

6. Fridges and freezers

What’s the problem?

As you may expect, the fridge and the freezer themselves aren’t the issue – they become an issue when users neglect to remove their food and liquids from them.

In the event of a power cut, or simply after being left for too long, food will rot, and if not sealed properly, can release bacteria that contaminate other foods as well.

What’s the solution?

You will need a fridge and freezer, but we’d recommend the smallest possible ones you can use — ideally small under-counter version. Keeping them to a minimum will limit the amount of food that people store — the more space there is the more things will end up there.

As we stated in our ’10 Kitchen Hygiene Commandments’, you may also want to implement a policy to throw unclaimed food out after a certain time.

7. Bins

What’s the problem?

Even more so than fridges, bins are a solution to a hygiene problem – however, bin placement very much matters.

Bins that are not in a dedicated dirties area risk contaminating your ‘food triangle’ – the passage of clean dishes going out from your service, and dirty dishes returning from your dining area. If they are uncovered, they will allow insects and bacteria much more scope to grow.

What’s the solution?

When designing your kitchen, leaving space for a dedicated ‘dirties’ area with under-counter bin storage is both more hygienic and more practical. For the bins themselves, closed-lid bins are essential.

Is your kitchen working against you?

As you may have gathered, hygienic kitchens aren’t those which stop mess entirely – but those which are designed to prevent mess hotspots.

Steelplan Kitchens are hygienic by design.

The starting point is using a hard-wearing, easy-to-clean material — Zintec polyester powder-coated mild steel, with a stainless steel worktop. However, by using Steelplan’s free design and consultation service, you will see that it’s not just the material that makes the difference: every factor of your space and intended usage is considered.

Every little detail matters, and by designing a kitchen around the way you are most likely to use it, we can remove the hygiene trouble spots that are most likely to occur in your kitchen before your kitchen is even installed.

It’s an entirely free service, and if you are looking for a long-lasting, hygienic – but welcoming – kitchen for your church or community centre, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.

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