The One Place In Your Kitchen You’re (Probably) Forgetting to Clean (and How to Clean It)

published Nov 10, 2020
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

As busy as they are, kitchens are just about the germiest places in our homes—especially all those handles. You touch food, you open the oven. Your kids come in after touching who-knows-what and head straight to the fridge (or maybe it’s just mine?). With all that touching comes the risk of cross-contamination of foodborne illnesses and the spread of germs (in addition to all our fears about coronavirus, flu season is coming!).

But the reality is, many of us don’t think about cleaning our appliance handles. At least, I don’t, unless my fridge is so sticky from my kids’ PB&J fingers that it’s dirty to the touch. And I need to get way better about that, because I’m putting us all at risk.

Fortunately, cleaning appliances isn’t so much about a chemical bath—it’s mostly about frequency. You should be wiping down your appliances as often as you do your countertop—as in, at least once a day, or after every meal. You can use the same cleaner you’d use on your countertops, as long as you trade out the cloth you use to wipe it up. Or you can use a stainless steel cleaner. (Editor note: In our sister site Kitchn’s test space, we use Seventh Generation’s Lemongrass Citrus Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner.)

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Spray the handle: Spray the handle of your first appliance with your cleanser. Let it sit for a minute or two. (Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

How To Wipe Down Germy Appliance Handles

What You’ll Need

  • Multipurpose kitchen cleaner (or stainless steel cleaner, if you have stainless steel)
  • Microfiber cloth or paper towel


  1. Spray the handle: Spray the handle of your first appliance with your cleanser. Let it sit for a minute or two.
  2. Wipe: Wipe off the cleanser with your microfiber cloth or paper towel.
  3. Repeat: Move on to your next appliance and repeat, using a fresh area of the microfiber cloth or a fresh paper towel for each appliance.


  • Be sure to allow the handles to dry before touching them again.

When was the last time you wiped down your appliance handles?

This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: How To Properly Wipe Down Your Germy Appliance Handles