There are few places in your home where clean matters more than your kitchen. We prepare our food there, eat there, and, so often, it is the room where everyone convenes and lingers most. Unfortunately, according to the Hygiene Council, it is also the dirtiest room in the house. So many of us unknowingly practice poor habits that can expose our families to common germs (such as Influenza A, H1N1, Rhinovirus, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella enterica and Escherichia coli) as well as toxins in dangerous conventional cleaning products.
One of the biggest culprits of poor kitchen hygiene is cross contamination. Cross contamination is a fancy name for bacteria on one thing getting onto another thing via direct contact. In the home, it’s often caused either by your kitchen knife, your cutting board, or your cleaning tools. And it’s not just bacteria. It could be a virus or a toxin of some kind, or even a cleaning product. Luckily, it can be avoided by implementing a few simple habits.
Tips to Avoid Cross Contamination in Your Kitchen:
- Use two cutting boards, one for meat and one for veggies exclusively.
- Replace washable dish rags by the sink on a daily basis, and designate one for counters and one for dish-cleaning.
- If you use a sponge, disinfect it by zapping it in the microwave for 2 minutes (make sure it’s wet when you put it in, and that it does not contain any steel or metal).
- Wash vegetables even if you’re planning to peel them anyway, like carrots or potatoes.
- Regularly clean refrigerator doors, light switch plates, cabinet knobs, and drawer handles. Try Aunt Fannie’s Cleaning Vinegar Wipes, which are quick, convenient and 100% biodegradable. You can use them once, then toss them with the peace of mind they’re safe for the environment.
- Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap. This goes for your food prep utensils as well, such as your paring knife if you’re chopping fruits, veggies or meat.
- Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Instead, empty your sink after every meal, and then spray down thoroughly with a cleaner that will kill bacteria. Vinegar kills 99.9% of the bacteria that cause foodborne illness.
- Make sure the cleaning products you are using are safe to use near food and people. Many conventional household cleaners contain dangerous chemicals. If you’re wiping down countertops with that product, chances are you will end up ingesting them.