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Kids, this is why hand washing is #1 on my Jr. Chef Safety List

Chefs use a separate hand washing station in their restaurant kitchen
Hand washing station for a commercial kitchen

Kids, did you know that hand washing is so important, chefs have a separate sink just for that.

Welcome to part three of my series for kids on Jr. Chef Kitchen Safety, “Hand washing is #1”

“Wash your hands first!” How many times have you heard that? ZILLIONS, right? Hand washing is important and here’s some reasons why:

#1 Your hands touch  lots of gross stuff like money; people stick money in all kinds of weird places and it never gets washed. You might be thinking, no germs could possibly live on a dollar bill. WRONG.  In New York, Scientists tested dollar bills they got from a bank and found flu germs plus other tiny bacteria living right on those dollar bills! GROSS.

#2   Your hands touch the floor and your feet track in all sorts of germs  and dirt. computer keyboards and cell phones are also carriers of germs and you probably touch one of those.

#3 Your hands touch doors, counters, other people,  toilets, sinks and used towels.

Multiply all that normal germ stuff with contamination from food sources and you can see why chefs need a separate sink.  Actually, I’m  pretty sure you’ll agree your hands get dirty.

Hands are the dirtiest part of our body because they touch everything.

“So, what’s the big deal, Chef?” You might ask.

As I have said before, there were millions of cases people who got sick last year from food they ate. Most of those could have been prevented if people knew how to be safe in the kitchen.  

I am a certified food safety manager so I know how important it is to keep food safe. It’s  not difficult, it only requires some knowledge and planning.  Knowing when you need to clean your hands is an important step in becoming a great Jr. Chef.  So let’s get started.

How and when should great Jr. Chefs wash their hands?

This is an important subject you need need to know. Kids, cooking for others is an important job; whether it’s at home,  a friends house, at church or in a restaurant. People trust you to make sure what they are eating is both safe and delicious.

Kids should wash their hands and count to twenty before rinsing.

With the important job of cooking for others, you are responsible for keeping them safe. This means you need rules to follow.  The number one rule in any commercial kitchen is to wash your hands … a lot.

There are two myths about keeping hands clean that I want to expose right now.

Myth #1

“It doesn’t matter how long you wash your hands, just get soap on them and quickly rinse off the germs. “

That’s something you may have heard, which is totally WRONG, by the way, 


To kill germs and bacteria on your hands, you must use soap and warm water and lather up for at  LEAST 20 seconds BEFORE you rinse. If you have handled raw meat, eggs, fish or poultry I  would definitely wash twice as long.  Sing “Happy Birthday” twice, to yourself. That will put a smile on your face and make sure those nasty germs are gone.

Hand washing for at least 20 seconds in warm water with a mild soap will kill most germs and bacteria.


Using hand sanitizer is just as good as washing your hands. Using a hand sanitizer is very convenient if you are shopping and the cart needs a quick wipe down. It’s also less trouble than finding a sink and water with soap. I like that a hand sanitizer can take the place of washing with soap and water. WRONG !!!

Fact #2

The fact is, viruses are not killed by using a hand sanitizer. Actually, the bacteria is killed by the alcohol, in a hand sanitizer.  However,  the flu and other virus can still remain. YIKES!!

Hand sanitizers are not a substitute for hand washing.

When do great Jr. Chefs need to wash their hands?

Here are 10 rules for hand washing you need to know:

Always wash your hands:

  1. Before you touch anything used to prepare food.
  2. Before you touch food that will not be cooked.
  3. When you work with raw meat, fish and poultry.
  4. After you handle trash and take out garbage.
  5. When picking up anything off the floor.
  6. After you go to the bathroom
  7. When you handle dirty dishes.
  8. After you eat.
  9. When you touch your face, hair or body.
  10. After you blow your nose, after you cough or sneeze.

I know it seems like chefs was their hands a lot.  Actually, you probably wonder how we have any time left to cook! Well great food takes time to prepare and doing it right so it’s safe to eat as well as delicious is our job.

Think this article was helpful and want to see more like this?  Please like it and share it with others.

Artful Chefs is dedicated to teaching kids to love the art of food. We also believe that kids learn important life skills when they learn about cooking. Jr. Chefs in our program learn the joy of  working together with others. Sharing something wonderful and celebrating together as they accomplish tasks with others.

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