Earlier this week, we confronted the germiest bad boy of the kitchen: the refrigerator and freezer. Today we are going to take a closer look at some of the other bacteria hotspots in the typical kitchen and give you some simple tips to rid yourself of these potential dangers in your home. Before arming yourself with your cleaning tools and biohazard gear, rest assured that none of these revelations and tips will take more than a couple minutes to remedy.

So, any guesses as to what are some of the other top ranking offenders of E. Coli, mold, yeast and bacteria in the average kitchen? If you are thinking of placing your blame on your sink, microwave or other frequently touched appliances, think again.

(I’m starting at number 5 because this is part 2 of a two part series – Part 1 and numbers 1-4 are here.)

5. The Blender

With the popularity of smoothie making on the rise, the blender gasket is a high risk offenders in the kitchen. Many people put the entire blender pitcher in the dishwasher in one piece rather that taking it apart. Salmonella, E.coli, yeast and mold were all found on blender gaskets, which make it all the more important to take the time to disassemble before cleaning. One easy tip that helps to dislodge the stubborn bits that cling to the interior of your pitcher is to put a cup or two of warm water and several drops of dish soap in the pitcher and run for a couple seconds. After this step, take your entire pitcher apart and either hand wash or load it in your dishwasher. Problem solved.

6. The Can Opener

Another high risk offender is the can opener. Little bits of food residue have the tendency to cling to the blades of the mechanisms and are the perfect breeding ground for mold, salmonella, E. coli and yeast if not properly cleaned. If your can opener is dishwasher safe, simply put it in your dishwasher and run it through a normal cycle. Alternatively, handwash in warm soapy water and allow it dry thoroughly before putting it away.

7. The Rubber Spatula

This one may not come as a big surprise to some, but the ever handy and well loved utensil, the rubber spatula, is another popular hangout for food borne pathogens. Many spatulas come in two pieces, with a wooden or plastic handle and a silicone head. This one is an easy fix as well – simply take the spatula apart and throw it in your dishwasher or hand wash in warm soapy water. Alternatively, you can invest in handy one piece silicone spatulas that don’t offer the little nook and crannies for the germs to hide.

8. The Rubber Seal on Plastic Food Containers

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Fans of leftovers and pantry storage containers may want to take note of this next one. The rubber gasket that seals some brands of plastic food containers is also a favorite hiding place for food borne pathogens. Not to worry as this one is a cinch to solve. Much like the blender gasket, simply remove the rubber gasket from your food container before washing and either throw it in the dishwasher or hand wash with warm soapy water.

9. The Knife Block

The last offender in our kitchen was a bit of surprise to me as I had never really taken much thought to it: the knife block. Mold and yeast thrive in dark, damp environments and love the close quarters for breeding in the typical knife block. To rid yourself of these unwanted guests, tip your knife block upside down and shake out any crumbs or debris that may have snuck inside. Lastly, wash the entire knife block in warm soapy water using a bottle brush or something similar to get inside each compartment. Make sure to let the block dry thoroughly before putting your knives back in- it will dry faster if you set it outside and let the sun do the work for you. Be sure to do this task quickly and don’t soak the block as you don’t want warping or unnecessary dry time on your hands.

(germiest places information via NSF website)