When we think of spring-cleaning benefits, we often think of fresher spaces, fewer dust bunnies and a long decluttering stint that renders our home spotless (for a few months).

However, one of the best benefits may be a completely invisible one. Food-borne illnesses are more common than you may think — and we cannot see the microscopic pathogens at fault. The CDC estimates that almost 50 million people per year get sick from a food-related illness. Of those numbers, 128,000 end up in a hospital. An estimated 3,000 die.

While these numbers may not seem like horrible odds, it’s easy to take targeted steps to reduce your personal risk to zero. This year, when you’re spring cleaning, concentrate on your food-prep surfaces. By comprehensively cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing them in an ongoing manner, you’ll make your home a little safer this year.

We don’t know about you, but particularly this year, that sounds excellent. Here’s your guide to avoiding food poisoning with a simple, science-backed cleaning method.

How to Get Food Poisoning: A Quick Primer on What to Avoid

Food poisoning and food-borne illnesses spread when food spoils or gets contaminated after exposure to a contaminated surface. When people eat that food, they get sick. Food poisoning symptoms can include stomach cramps, gastrointestinal distress, vomiting, fever and other frustrating and painful side effects.

When a surface is contaminated, that means that on a microscopic level, it’s crawling with tiny germs like viruses and bacteria that can cause these symptoms. The main culprits tend to be Salmonella Enterica, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas Aeruginosa — tiny microbes that can have an outsized impact on your health and happiness.

Your first goal needs to be sourcing an effective treatment spray that effectively kills those microbes. Then, you need to teach yourself a few simple ongoing cleaning habits that will keep your food-prep surfaces safe.

Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Applying an Antimicrobial — Your Go-To Food-Prep Surface-Cleaning Routine

The key to keeping your surfaces clean lies in realizing, first, that the types of viruses and bacteria that cause food poisoning are stubborn and resilient. If you simply spray with a typical cleaning agent, the microbes may vanish for a few minutes. However, they’ll creep back, reproduce and regrow (invisibly) before you’ve had a chance to enjoy a clean slate.

This makes going in with a cyclic cleaning strategy essential for your safety. Use a multi-action disinfectant antimicrobial to perform a chemical and mechanical kill. This process uses an effective solution imbued with ingredients that physically attack the viruses and bacteria on your countertops or other surfaces. It then applies a longer-lasting coating that allows the product to keep killing germs even after you’re done cleaning.

Finally, we recommend using a gentle hand soap with active antibacterial ingredients. This is good for your health and will also help you avoid transferring pathogens to another part of your home after deep-cleaning your food-prep surfaces.

While this cleaning routine may seem more involved than steps you’ve taken in the past, it’s well worth it. No one wants to get stuck with a food bug or more serious illness after exposure to a contaminated surface. We think that you’ll find that you enjoy this quick cleaning regimen more than you think—it’ll give you surprising peace of mind.

Rely on MicroGold® Products to Keep You and Your Loved Ones Safe

We firmly believe that making your shared spaces completely clean and sanitary doesn’t have to be an arduous task; you simply need to use the right products and allow them the time to do their work well. The results of your efforts are clean, safe spaces that allow you and your family to relax and enjoy themselves.