By Sara Novak, Planet Green
Conventional cleaner companies would love for you to believe that bleach, ammonia, and a host of other poison chemical cleaning agents are necessary to keep your kitchen free of food borne illnesses. In fact, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only are these cleaners dangerous, they also impact your health overtime, leading to diseases down the line. What’s more, many conventional cleaners aren’t meant to be put down the drain, so they can pollute our ground water, lakes, and streams.
Related: What Not to Put Down Your Drain
But no need to worry, you can have a clean kitchen without having to endanger your family and the planet with harsh chemical treatments if you follow this guide.
1. Separate Kitchen Rags
You don’t have to go through tons and tons of paper towels to have a clean kitchen, and sponges are known for spreading bacteria. Instead, buy durable, organic cotton kitchen towels. Have a separate dirty laundry for them and throw them in each time you wipe down the counters. Once you have a full load, run them through the wash. This way they don’t get mixed in with your regular wash.
2. Buy a Biodegradable Antibacterial Counter Cleaner or Make Your Own
You can choose to buy a biodegradable counter top cleaner. I’m a big fan of Seventh Generation’s Thyme Cleaner. Thyme is a strong, natural disinfectant. I’ve been pleased with it every time. You could also make your own all-purpose cleaner. Here’s a good recipe:
All-Purpose Cleaner from Earth Easy: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Store and keep.
3. Have Separate Cutting Boards
The easiest way to avoid food borne diseases is being careful with cooking surfaces. When you’re working with meat, make sure that you use two separate cutting boards, one for vegetables and one for cutting meat. Combining them is a great way to get sick.
4. Buy Local (Esp Eggs)
According to Idaho farmer Debi Vogel, even though small chicken flocks can get salmonella, small producers are better poised to respond to a crisis because they distribute a few dozen eggs rather than millions, giving consumers a greater sense of security about the food they buy from small farms. Outbreaks encourage us to know more about our food and the farmers that produce it. Additionally, the unhealthy confinement of animals allow for the contamination of livestock at such a rapid rate.
5. Keep Pets Away From the Counter
This should be an obvious one, but it’s incredibly important. Sometimes cats like to jump up onto the counter and that can cause real problems because they can harbour bacteria. Pets need not be on the counter, no matter how much you love them.
6. Kitchen Scissors Are a Culprit
First of all, kitchen scissors need to stay put in the kitchen. And when they are used to snip open foods like meat, cheese, etc they need to be thoroughly cleaned with soap and hot water each time.
7. Wipe Down Counters, Stove, Refrigerator
Make sure that each night the counters, stove, and other applicable appliances are wiped down with a cleaner like the one mentioned above. Make sure if meat thaws in the fridge that the fridge is cleaned and every so often, completely clean out the fridge of moldy and outdated foods.
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