Laundry & Cleaning

This one thing in your kitchen is dirtier than your toilet seat

Here's how to clean it.

Oven Credit: Lolostock/Getty Images

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Ask anyone what the grossest spots in their home are and they'll likely answer with one of the following: the toilet, the dish sponge, or the grimy stovetop. But according to a new study, your appliance handles could be even more disgusting.

Researchers studied the amount of bacteria on 14 common sites in your home and found that the kitchen was the most contaminated spot. And appliance handles—like that of your oven door—were some of the worst offenders (yes, there was even fecal bacteria!). Here's what our resident cleaning guru says you need to know about keeping your oven door handle as bacteria-free as possible.

Why your oven door handle is so gross

Hands
Credit: Getty Images

Anything that's on your hands will get transferred to your handle.

Think about it: You just prepped raw meat and, before washing your hands, go to put it in the oven. A.k.a. your bacteria-covered fingertips are all over the oven door handle. Add to that any oil or grease that splatters from the stovetop and you have a recipe for a disgusting door. Yuck. And since you don't realize just how dirty it is, you likely rarely show your oven door handle any sanitizing love.

"The dirtiest things in our home tend to be the ones we never think to clean, i.e your credit card or your oil diffuser," our senior lab testing technician, Jonathan Chan, explains. "People tend to think of the oven as the appliance that cooks and kills bacteria in their food, but that's only on the inside and only if there isn't any cross-contamination."

How to clean your oven door handle

Handle
Credit: Getty Images

Don't skimp on the wipes.

Antibacterial wipes can be a godsend when it comes to cleaning your kitchen (including your oven door handle)—if you know how to use them correctly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that "disinfection usually requires the product to remain on the surface for a certain period of time (e.g. letting it stand for 3 to 5 minutes)." That means you need to use enough wipes on your handle that the surface stays saturated for at least three minutes.

Major appliance company GE also says that warm, soapy water or a mixture of baking soda and water can be used to effectively disinfect oven door handles.

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And while cleaning your oven door handle regularly is smart, prevention is also key. "To keep bacteria from spreading to your oven handle, always practice safe handling of raw meat," Jonathan recommends. "This includes never using the same knives or tools between meat and other ingredients and washing your hands when coming in contact with anything that touched raw meat, including the cutting board."

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