More hidden dangers lurking in your kitchen
Hidden Kitchen Dangers: Page 2
3. Grease fires waiting to happen
Grease triggers more kitchen fires than anything else. But grease fires don't only happen when you're deep-fat-frying. Oil, butter, or shortening that has dripped on the stove or been picked up on the bottom of a pan from an earlier cooking session can catch fire during a later use.
The safest approach is to always wipe up grease drips, spills, and splatters as soon as they hit the stovetop. Check the bottoms of pots and pans before setting them on a burner to make sure they're clean.
Related danger: A cooker hood filter that hasn't been cleaned in a while. The cooker's hood filter helps absorb airborne grease. But if the grease builds up for years, it can present its own fire danger. Clean regularly, or replace it if it's very dirty.
4. Extension cord jungles
Kitchens tend to house more appliances -- microwaves, toasters, blenders, coffee makers, mixers, and more -- than any other room in the house. And they're often crowded onto a relatively small stretch of countertop. Enter the extension cord, as a way to give all those appliances electric juice where there are limited outlets. Unfortunately, the cords pose several hazards. They may get wet and cause electric shock. Over time they can fray. And if they run along the floor, curious little hands can yank them, dogs can chew them, and anyone, especially older adults, might trip.
What's safer: Unplug appliances after each use so they all share the outlets. Or ask an electrician to install a junction box that allows added outlets. Another option: Use a power strip up on a counter (not along the floor) to provide extra outlets.
Related danger: Appliances with frayed connector cords or wires or with faulty plugs. If an appliance isn't in perfect working order, get it repaired or replaced. It's never worthwhile to take a chance on electric gear in the kitchen, which is often used in a rush by teens or older adults who may not pay close attention.
5. Wet hands
Busy cooks or hungry family members often fly around the kitchen doing several things at once. Skipping the step of thoroughly drying hands after washing them or otherwise getting them wet, though, can get you in trouble. For example, using an appliance or unplugging one with wet hands can cause an electric shock. Wet hands also make it harder to hold onto glassware, ingredient jars, or other breakable objects.
Related danger: Not washing hands while cooking spreads bacteria. Especially when handling raw meat or eggs, wash hands before touching appliances, cupboard knobs, or fresh produce.