What are the best practices when it comes to touching taps while handling raw meat? I have germ related OCD issues so I end up avoiding using raw meat at all costs because in my head the following would occur:

Cut meat > turn on tap > wash hands > turn off tap > get germs back on hands

While i could work with a one hand clean method this would not work for every situation, spatchcocking, keebabs etc.

I've had a google and looked for other topics on the issue, but they all seem to focus on washing up post cooking or how cooking shows cut out all the repeated hand washing. None seem to detail the best practices or governmental guidelines for washing hands and cross contamination from the act of washing (if there are indeed any).


6 Answers 6


I often use the method described in mech's answer - using food-grade gloves when handling raw meat. Both at work and at home.

A secondary option that I often employ is the overall cleanability of taps. Just grab those taps with your raw meat hands with impunity. Give your hands a quick rinse then lather them up with extra soap and scrub. Then scrub the taps. Then rinse everything again.

There are also taps that can be manipulated with elbows and I have heard of heat sensitive taps that respond to touch as well.

Just remember the raw meat can't hurt you if you just clean up afterwards.That might include the taps you used when cleaning up.


A common fix for this in food service is to use (usually disposable) food-grade gloves when handling the raw meat, and taking them off when you're done. You can buy them in huge packs for fairly cheap.

Gloves can be taken off by pinching one with the other (so you roll the first glove into a ball in your second gloved hand) and then slipping a finger of your degloved hand into the second glove, turning it inside out as it goes off your hand. That way you end up with all the raw-touched surfaces inside, and clean plastic on the outside.


I have always had single-handed mixing faucets in every kitchen I ever used regularly - they are the standard where I live. I would recommend installing one, even without OCD issues. I never have to touch it with a dirty hand and can easily operate it with my elbow or underarm. (The same principle as in hospitals when surgeons wash their hands before a procedure.) Also, adjusting the temperature and amount of water with a simple left-right/up-down movement is so much easier than turning two knobs.

If you buy one, make sure that the handle is long enough to operate easily and comfortably (but don’t worry too much, shorter ones will work just fine). A model with a rather smooth surface will make regular cleaning easier.


First of all, Taps usually are stainless steel, which kills of germs. Second, normally you touch the opposite part to open it and to close it. Third, if you have really dirty hands, you can wash your tap with sop-water while washing your hands.

In food safety seminars in Germany (which are a requirement for people handling food commercially) they teach to wash your hands with soap for at least 30 seconds, Dry them off, and then disinfect them. Commercial food producers/ Restaurants etc. are required to have disinfectant dispensers next to the employees sinks.

As Germany is generally considered a Country where food is pretty much safe, these procedures should suffice for you also.

  • "Taps usually are stainless steel, which kills of germs" - Will it kill germs in the 30 seconds or so that it takes you to wash your hands? Aug 7, 2018 at 17:10

Plan ahead.

When I’m doing something like breaking down a chicken or gutting fish, I draw a basin of water before I start and have several sheets of kitchen towel already torn off the roll and placed handy.

I generally wash my hands in the basin first then turn the tap on to rinse them under running water.

I’ll quite often clean the tap and wipe down the basin with an alcohol cleaner when I’m done. I don’t like the way hand sanitizer gels feel, so I’ve got into the habit of buying large bottles of a non-gel sanitizer that I top up a small carry bottle from, but once I had the big bottle I found that it was handy for all sorts of stuff like this at home, even though it isn’t what it’s sold for.


The best option is to install foot pedal valves. Plenty of options can be found on Amazon.com. Search for "pedal faucet". There are many styles and price points. This way, of course, touching the faucet is not an issue.

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