Want to get some spring cleaning done but don't know where to start? Get inspired by the advice of Marianne Gravely, a senior technical information specialist at the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA. There's plenty of nasty stuff lurking in your kitchen that needs to be tossed -- sooner rather than later!
Here's what you need to throw out of your kitchen right now to keep your whole family healthy:
Sponges: Sadly, it's not possible to actually clean a sponge well enough to kill all pathogen growth in all those small crevices. Gravely never uses them herself but uses washcloths instead, which she switches out every few days. If you want to use sponges, be sure to toss them frequently -- weekly -- and if it stinks, it's well beyond safe.
Leftovers that you don't even remember cooking: Refrigerator cleanliness starts with removing all food that has turned. If you don’t remember cooking something and putting it in the fridge, toss it.
Anything in the freezer that is covered in ice: It probably won't hurt you to eat food that has been badly frost-bitten, but it's really not going to taste good.
Expired condiments: Chances are there are a bunch of expired salad dressings and random sauces and condiments in your shelves that are well past their sell date.
Scratched up cutting boards: Wood or plastic ... an old cutting board with lots of grooves and cut marks is the perfect environment for harboring bacteria. Time to toss them for something new.
Scratched non-stick pans: It's not just that the scratches prevent the Teflon from doing its job -- it's the fact that Teflon leaching into your food is really dangerous for your health. You never want to use a metal utensil on a non-stick pan -- and once it's scratched, ditch it for a new one. (Time)