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Tips for Sanitizing and Disinfecting |

Tips for Sanitizing and Disinfecting

By Carrie Brazeal, TSB Contributor

This week’s column is a little different. I’ve had several questions lately about cleaning surfaces in kitchens and new ideas for dinner. I’ve answered each below. Feel free to contact me either by phone or email if you have questions about food safety or  food preparation.

QUESTION: I need to know how to sanitize the surfaces in my kitchen.  What do you suggest?

ANSWER: The easiest way to sanitize or disinfect surfaces is to use household bleach. You want to make sure that the bleach solution is strong enough to kill germs. Remember that bleach solutions tend to break down after 24 hours, so mix up the amount that you need and discard after cleaning. For the following surfaces or areas, try these solutions. Along with the correct amount of bleach, it is important to follow the time guidelines to allow enough time to kill the germs.

Sanitizing solution for hard, nonporous surfaces: one tablespoon liquid bleach to 1 gallon of water. Allow to air dry; no rinsing needed

For porous surfaces such as a wooden cutting board: three tablespoons liquid bleach to 1 gallon water; rinse and wipe or air dry

Disinfecting solution: 3/4 cup liquid bleach to 1 gallon water; rinse and wipe or air dry

Wooden and plastic cutting boards: Wash cutting boards with hot sudsy water; rinse; use sanitizing solution for porous surfaces.  Keep surface wet two minutes; rinse and air dry.

Dinnerware, plastic and glassware: Wash with soap and water; thoroughly rinse items. Use sanitizing solution for hard surfaces; soak items in solution for two minutes; air dry. Do not use on aluminum, metal or silverware.

Dishcloths and sponges: The odor in smelly dishcloths and sponges is caused by bacterial growth.  Use a disinfecting solution mixed in the sink; soak dishcloths and/or sponge for two minutes. Rinse sink and dishcloth/sponge; air dry.

Countertops/surfaces: Wash with hot, sudsy water; rinse. Use sanitizing solution for hard surfaces. Apply solution to the surface for two minutes; air dry.

Floors: Use disinfecting solution. Mop or scrub floor with solution and keep wet for two minutes; rinse and dry.

Garbage cans: Remove visible dirt and soil. Apply disinfecting solution and keep wet for two minutes. Rinse and let air dry.

QUESTION: I need new ideas for dinner that are quick, simple and budget friendly. Any suggestions?

ANSWER: I know exactly what you mean!  We have a weekly webcast that you may find very helpful.  Dinner Tonight! comes out each Monday with a new quick and simple recipe. Not only do you receive a great recipe but a video is also included to show you step-by-step how to prepare the recipe.  You can also like us on Facebook. To get to the site, go to You can review not only this week’s recipe but everything that has been posted since we started so there are lots of recipes. Better yet, email me at and I will add you to my weekly reminder email list. 

Carrie T. Brazeal is the Family and Consumer Sciences agent for Texas AM AgriLife Extension Service.  She may be reached at or by phone at 972-424-1460, Ext. 4233.


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