VANCOUVER -- There’s a room in your house that harbours dangerous bacteria, but if you guessed it’s the bathroom, you’d be wrong. It’s the kitchen. Here are some things you can do to keep your family safe from germs and food poisoning.

The kitchen is the heart of the house, where we spend most of our time. But keeping it clean can be tricky because of the tools we use. Number one: our hands. They can spread dangerous bacteria that could make your family sick.

Everything you touch – from salt and pepper shakers, to faucets and refrigerator handles – are common surfaces that help the bacteria that causes food poisoning spread. The trick? Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water every single time you switch tasks. And make sure to clean between your fingers and under your nails, just like you do to protect against COVID-19.

“The juices that collect on cutting boards can contain E. coli and other dangerous bacteria that can make you seriously ill,” says Sana Mujahid with Consumer Reports. “Regularly, you can wash them with hot soapy water, but to get them really clean, use one tablespoon of unscented liquid bleach and a gallon of water.”

Rinse the surface, then air dry of pat with clean paper towels.

Another danger area? Raw meats, poultry and seafood that are stored in the upper shelves of your refrigerator can drip down and contaminate food stored underneath. Place them in sealed plastic bags or containers, and keep them on the bottom shelf.

“Your fridge can be a haven for harmful bacteria,” Mujahid says. “Wipe up spills immediately with hot soapy water and rinse. And regularly clean the shelves and other interior surfaces to keep your fridge safe.”

And use a refrigerator thermometer to maintain a 2.78 degree Celsius temperature and slow bacteria growth. The freezer should be no higher than -17.78.

Another food safety note – raw meat and eggs aren’t the only thing you should make sure to cook before eating. Raw flour can carry salmonella and E. coli, pathogens that can be carried from animal waste on the farm all the way through the milling process to your home. So resist the urge to taste batter or cookie dough before it’s thoroughly baked.

With files from Consumer Reports