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Which kitchen surface stays clean the longest? A Young Scientist is trying to find out

Ellie Cunnenn (14) from Coláiste Chiaráin has analysed different kitchen surfaces to figure out which stay cleaner for longer.

Image: Shutterstock/Boris Bulychev

YOU MIGHT THINK you’re good at keeping your kitchen surfaces spick and span, but are the surfaces themselves hampering your efforts?

That’s what a student from Limerick is investigating for this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition.

Ellie Cunnenn (14) from Coláiste Chiaráin has analysed different kitchen surfaces to figure out which stay cleaner for longer.

Her teacher, Edel Farrell, who is supervising the project, said Ellie was first inspired to investigate after a visit to hospital:

Her original idea was she was looking at the different surfaces and wondering about whether bacteria would grow on them after they were cleaned.

However, this is an area which has been well-researched, and hospitals pick surfaces based on how well they can resist microbial growth. The focus was turned instead to kitchen surfaces.

Ellie first steralised a range of different surfaces, measured the amount of bacteria present, dirtied them with a dishcloth, measured again, and finally cleaned the surface and measured at different intervals.

She tested formica (both with ridges and a glass finish), ceramic (with matt and glass finish), marble, granite, quartz, and solid wood.

So far, her results indicate that quartz stayed free of bacteria the longest after being cleaned, but granite prevented the growth of bacteria in the first place better.

Ellie plans to analyse her results further and prepare her presentation ahead of the exhibition next month, where her full results will be published.

We’ll have more coverage of projects ahead of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition.

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About the author:

Nicky Ryan

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