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Kitchen Cleanliness Study

Posted on Feb 13, 09:49AM | UNI

Mumbai, Feb 12 : Visually clean kitchen is only a superficially clean kitchen if it is not properly disinfected and sanitised, a new survey conducted by the Indian Medical Academy (IMA) among 1,400 homemakers from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune, and 500 doctors across the country has found.

While 87 per cent of homemakers responded that the removal of dirt, dust, grease and oil qualified as adequate kitchen cleaning, and nearly 95 per cent of them believe that 'visually clean' implied hygienically clean, only 13 per cent felt it important to remove germs and bacteria from their kitchens.

In contrast, 100 per cent of doctors asserted that 'visually clean' only means superficially clean and not hygienically clean.

"The general perception of kitchen hygiene among Indian homemakers stems from what appears to be visually clean as opposed to a properly sanitised and disinfected kitchen where the priority is to get rid of disease-causing germs", said Dr Preetaish Kaul, Consultant of the Indian Medical Academy while talking to reporters here today.

While the respondents gave importance to dusting and cleaning their bathrooms at regular intervals (2 per cent did it daily, 18 per cent twice a week, 36 per cent weekly, 40 per cent fortnightly and 4 per cent on a monthly basis), none of them felt that their kitchens ought to be cleaned on a daily basis (0 per cent daily, 0 per cent twice a week, 1 per cent weekly, 8 per cent fortnightly and 14 per cent monthly).

Significantly, the frequency of dusting and cleaning the living room and bedroom was much higher since it was perceived that these are the most occupied or scrutinised areas in a home.

Venkateshwar, MD, General Medicine, said the survey revealed that kitchen sinks are cleaned least frequently compared to utensils, chopping boards, stoves, kitchen slabs, kitchen towels and cloths, refrigerators and appliances. Besides, most Indian homemakers prefer to use detergent powders, bars and liquids, even plain water, to clean their utensils, sinks, kitchen slabs, towels and cloths, but the proportion using an antibacterial formulation ranges between 8 per cent and 5 per cent only.

Meanwhile, 87 per cent doctors recommend using an antibacterial bar, liquid or gel. In fact, 73 per cent doctors said that kitchen towels and cloths that are used for cleaning, if not disinfected properly, may cross contaminate utensils.

All of the homemakers surveyed said that food-borne illnesses like diarrhoea hit their families, ranging from frequently to less frequently, and 97 per cent of them attributed it to eating outside food, but 73 per cent doctors cautioned against ignoring the possibility of home food being contaminated.