Kitchen Disinfection

Dear Home Ec 101:

I know there is a proper way to clean up after handling raw meat. Do you have the specifics?

~Sal Monella

Heather says:

Excellent question, my dear! Not many people realize that cleaning up after handling raw meat is a two step process. If you skip either you run the risk of setting yourself up for a case of food poisoning via cross contamination.

1) Wash the cutting board or counter with hot soapy water.

2) Disinfect the area with a mild bleach solution of 1 tsp bleach to 1 qt water or commercial disinfectant. I keep my bleach solution in a labelled spray bottle.

The two step process is vital, the soapy water brings dirt and bacteria out of the microscopic crevices and breaks up oily films or residues that may protect bacteria. The bleach solution kills any bacteria that may have been left behind. Skipping either step will allow bacteria to remain on the food preparation surface.

Always clean any surface prior to working with food. If you live with cats it is especially important to use a disenfectant prior to food preperation, as even the most well behaved cat may take a stroll down the counter when you aren’t paying attention.

Finally, always be sure to thoroughly wash your hands both before and after handling raw meat.


  1. Joe Black on May 23, 2011 at 12:24 am

    If you are using a timber chopping board rubbing it clean with salt is how my mother removed the stains of working with meat.

  2. KJ's Mama on October 31, 2010 at 3:03 am

    Great advice. Thanks. Is bleach safe for granite countertops? If, not what other product would you recommend for disinfecting?

  3. Alastair on March 25, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    You mention cats – we have cats and after reading about the use of bleach and other harsh chemicals around animals – we decided to switch to a pet safe product – so if this is the same concern you can use an antibacterial cleaner thats safe for pets.

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