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TIL I need to clean out my filthy knife block

Illustration for article titled TIL I need to clean out my filthy knife block
Photo: Max2611 (iStock)
Today I LearnedToday I LearnedToday I Learned is a feature where The Takeout writers share something they learned today.

We know that the kitchen is a swarming cesspool full of germs and bacteria. But a startling article from the Atlanta Journal-Consitution—titled “5 ‘clean’ habits that actually make your kitchen germier”—reveals that some of the stuff that we’re doing to make things hopefully more sanitary may in fact be doing more harm than good. Things related to raw meat, your blender, and your filthy, filthy knife block.

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I was already familiar with the hazards of rinsing raw poultry, i.e., throwing a bacteria rave party in your kitchen sink. The AJC also highlights the dangers of leaving food out too long before chilling, as “illness-causing bacteria can start to grow in perishable foods within two hours,” as well as the dangers of thawing meat on the counter or in that bacteria-party sink.

But a few of AJC’s handy tips made me heave like New Girl’s Schmidt when he realizes that Nick has been using his bath towel (another sanitary misstep: “I don’t wash a towel! The towel washes me!”). For example, did you know that the rubber gasket of your blender is the third germiest item in a kitchen, according to the National Sanitation Foundation? Me neither. Therefore, you really have to tear your entire blender apart to clean it, paying special attention to that rubber part.

But worst of all may be the black holes teeming with bacteria in your knife block. Sure, you clean the knives first before putting them in there. But what if they’re still the tiniest bit wet? What if you miss something? Over time, grossness can build. The AJC advises washing out the knife block once a month by submerging in water and then using a pipe cleaner to get all the prospective gunk out. Or, since I have never, ever done this, I may “clean” my existing knife block with fire and ask for a new one for Christmas.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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DISCUSSION

Just curious: How often are you people getting sick? Honestly? I don’t do any of this extra shit. I don’t worry about food sitting out for a few hours. I don’t throw out leftovers after 4 goddamn days. I don’t wash my knife block.

I do two things, basically: I make sure the food I cook and eat doesn’t look or smell noticeably “off” and I wash my damn dishes (pots, pans, knives in the sink; everything else in the dishwasher).

The only time I have ever gotten food poisoning or non-binge drinking intestinal stress was from Arby’s. I’ve never gotten sick from anything I’ve cooked or eaten at home, and I’ve never gotten a dinner guest sick.

Why is so much digital ink spilled on this stuff?