Spar-Klean Science: What is the dirtiest place in the kitchen?


We did this experiment along side our dish cloth verses the loo germ growing fest. First we made the agar from gelatin, bouillon and water:
Ribbet collagebac4

The children decided to take samples from the door handle, the coffee machine, the fridge door, the floor and the sink:

Ribbet collagebac3

My heart sank as I watched C11 poke the Q-tip around the rim of the butler’s sink.  This area between the butler sink and the wooden work surfaces is hard to clean and sure enough the Q-tip reached where no cloth could.  She rubbed the grimy Q-tip onto the agar, whilst I silently grimaced at the idea of all we would grow.  I also mentally berated myself for not cleaning the fridge the day before.  Sigh.  Well at least the experiment wouldn’t be in vain.  I mean, we were almost certainly going to grow cultures from those samples.  I wondered if everyone ignored the dirt until there was a reason not to?  Ah well, it was too late to do anything about it now.  We popped all the samples in the dark bathroom cupboard which houses the boiler  (fairly warm) above the tumble dryer (which made it even warmer).

The children made hypotheses as to where they thought would be dirtiest:

T12 – Fridge door, because everyone had access to the fridge including the little ones, which meant many spillages.  He also made the comment that none of us cleaned up the spillages on a daily basis (cringe)

L11 – Floor, because it is where we all walk

C11 – Floor for the same reason

A5 – Coffee machine because it was what she had swabbed!

Here they are four days later:



And again after eight days:

Ribbet collagenewbacteria

As I expected the sink was the worse, closely followed by the fridge door, both of which seem cleaner than my floor!  The floor gets swept and mopped each morning, which I insist on because of all the animals we have.  In contrast the sink and fridge only get a thorough clean on a Saturday.  I can see I’m going to have to up the ante here.  Did anyone notice that my loo was in fact cleaner than not only the dishcloth (as per the last experiment) but also cleaner than my fridge (where food is kept) and the sink (where plates and the like are cleaned).  I’m quarantining my kitchen!  It’s a miracle we’re all still here to tell the tale and blog about it!

We were all chatting about why these results were as they were.  I wondered if it is anything to do with a lack of chemicals being used in the kitchen?  The floor is cleaned with Ecover multipurpose cleaner, whereas the rest of the kitchen is cleaned using only a microfiber cloth, which I had researched as being shown to clean a kitchen without the use of chemicals.  Obviously, either it was not doing its job or I need to clean a bit more thoroughly!  Probably the later, if I’m honest.  I’m not one of nature’s little house wives.

Our next experiment will test how effective different cleaners are at reducing the bacteria load.

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  1. This is so funny and interesting and most definitely Not something I will try! I’m perfectly happy with my firm belief that it’s important to be exposed to germs and I can pat myself on the back that my housekeeping ensures we do 🙂 but I don’t want to see the proof in agar!

  2. hi Claire, I follow your blog and have been in touch in the past  this is a long shot but you don’t live anywhere near wadebridge in cornwall do you? regards debbie

    1. Hi Debbie, I remember you from your previous comments! Thanks so much for following along.
      I don’t live near Cornwall, I’m afraid, I live just outside London which is probably of no help at all!.

    1. Yep, really interesting experiment. I think my kids are too OCD when it comes to cleanliness already so I’ll steer clear of this one for fear of making them worse!

  3. Oh, you are brave! I can only imagine what we would find. It “looks” clean. Does that count?

    I think my girls would like to do this. They have been following along and have found this whole process very interesting. I think I may have them do a germ study on the bathroom for which they are responsible:) They were amazed that you bleach the potty twice a day. Twice a day???? Really??? (They said.)

    I am curious to what you will find with different cleaning products.

    Have a lovely day, Claire.

    1. I only started that when my then two year old started to toilet train herself! But it is a rather nice smelling bleach spray I use just to wipe it all down. It’s probably got lots of nasty chemicals in it but it sure does smell nice!!

  4. Omg we got the same results. Fridge door and kitchen faucet were gross! Here I am predicting it was our hands. My daughter predicted it would be my husbands cell phone. It came a close second 😉

  5. Just love love love reading about a mom teaching her kids creatively! The hypotheses!! OMG! Beautiful! Made me smile, smirk, and then LOL! VERY INFORMATIVE

    1. Thank you Pam – I just had a reread of my post and I was smiling throughout! Thank you for taking me down memory lane x

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