There are many reasons to keep a clean home – and not just because your Mother-in-law is coming over. A clean kitchen is a safe kitchen. You want to keep your family safe from food-borne illness, bacteria, salmonella, and listeria. Here are some ideas to help.
1. Bleach – If you’re going to use bleach (I’m not a fan) dilute it: 1 teaspoon bleach to 1 quart water. Keep it away from children. I find the next 2 options more suitable to a natural-minded home.
2. Peroxide – the 3% hydrogen peroxide you use on your kid’s skinned knee (not the stuff at the hair solon). It will kill bacteria as effectively as bleach but is much safer in general. Store in in a dark, labeled spray bottle, out of direct sunlight.
3. Distilled White Vinegar – not only works as a sanitizer but is a great degreaser. If you dislike the smell mix in some orange peels to the spray bottle.
4. Your Sink – wash it before using it for food prep. Microbiologist George Szatmari of McGill University, says
“the kitchen sink is 6,000 times more contaminated than the average toilet.”
Sponges are gross to me but my hubby likes them. They are a breeding ground for bacteria so you must sanitize them regularly.
5. Soak Method – in the bleach solution mentioned above, rinse well before using.
6. Dishwasher Method – run your sponges through the dishwasher each day.
7. Microwave Method – if you have one, nuke your sponge for about 2 minutes.
Food-borne illness can be quite serious. Listeria, a bacteria with 7 different strands, for instance can be carried in animals, found in soil as well as dairy products. Therefore, it can affect much of the food we eat. Newborns, pregnant woman and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk.
8. Fruits & Veggies – they don’t alway come cut & washed in a cute little bag. Before you eat, cut or peel ANY fruit or vegetable, wash it. Sometimes we forget that just because we’re not eating the peel, we still must wash it because we’ll be dragging a knife (and therefore any bacteria) through it. Cantaloupe is of special concern and should be scrubbed with a vegetable brush.
9. Meats – follow the package’s “safe handling” instructions regarding storing, freezing, thawing, prepping and cooking.
10. Don’t use the same cutting board for meats and then fruits or vegetables without cleaning and sanitizing in between.
11. In general terms – hot food should stay hot and cold food should stay cold with little time for transition (this reduces the risk of bacteria growth).
Don’t invite bugs:
12. When you’re done with any food prep, cooking or eating – clean it up.
13. Sweep daily (this is a good one to delegate to one of the kids’ “meal chores”).
14. Eliminate the “bug buffet” – purchase a gap cover to fit between the stove and counter top so that crumbs don’t fall in the gap aka the bug buffet!
Last but not least:
15. This one should be a no brainer – WASH YOUR HANDS, before during and after!
Which of these do you find most useful?