Surprising Kitchen Hazards and How to Keep Your Family Safe

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Tips and tricks to keep your kitchen clean and hazard-free

From hot ovens to sharp knives, we all know that the kitchen can be a dangerous place. But, even for the most prepared home cooks, some of the most dangerous things in the kitchen may surprise you. Here are 10 unexpected hazards to look out for, so you can keep your family safe.

— brooklynsupper, Babble

 

Your Sponge Is Harboring Bacteria
Image: Pieria

According to WebMD, kitchen sponges are the number one source of germs in the whole house. Why? Kitchen sponges, which come into contact with all kinds of household bacteria and are filled with tiny, moist crevices, are an ideal breeding ground for bacteria. To kill germs, place the moistened sponge in a microwave for a minute, or just replace the sponge every week.

 

Unexpectedly Hot Handles
Image: Suricata

Hot handles, especially metal handles just out of the oven, can cause serious injuries and burns, and even the most mindful chef or cook can make this mistake. When pulling a dish or pan out of the hot oven, be sure to signal that it is hot (to yourself and others) by placing a pot holder over the handle. This will serve as a visual cue and reminder of the potential danger.

 

Rinsing Raw Meats in the Sink
Image: Brooklyn Supper

Many people rinse chicken or other meats before cooking as a means of combatting foodborne bacteria. But as the British Food Standards agency points out, running chicken under water doesn't kill germs. It does spread germs into your sink and a three-foot radius around it, though. So this safety step actually increases your risk of foodborne illness.

 

Dull Knives Are Dangerous, Too
Image: T Houdijk

People are rightly mindful of the dangers presented by a knife's sharp edge, but as they get duller, knives become even more dangerous. While a sharp knife cuts easily into food, a dull knife requires more force and is more likely to slip rather than cut, and a knife that slips (especially one with a lot of force behind it) is a knife that's more likely to cut you. If you don't have a knife sharpener, check to see if your local kitchen store offers knife-sharpening or can recommend someone.

 

Alcohol Catching on Fire in Pan
Image: Jenene from Chinatown, New York City, USA

The addition of alcohol to a sizzling pan can quickly cause a large burst of flames. This can be dangerous even under controlled conditions, but it's especially so if it takes you, and your eyebrows, by surprise. When cooking with alcohol, make sure the cooking area is free of grease, and stand well back from the pan while adding it. More tips for cooking with alcohol.

 

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