Practicing Good Safety Skills in Your Kitchen
By Joanne Troppello
Home is where the heart is, right? It is the place where we feel safest. We all want to keep our home as our own little haven that is safe from intruders. However, we don’t always realize that we’re bringing some intruders into our homes. Those intruders are toxins from the chemical cleaners that we use, intruders like dirt and bacteria that are already in our homes, and pathogens carried in our food.
According to the CDC, 76 million people in the US become sick from pathogens in their food and 5,000 of that number die from such bacteria. Many germs are living in our kitchens and they are unseen killers. Check out this informative article from Web MD that shares helpful information on making sure that your kitchen is clean before, during, and after the food preparation and cooking process in your home.
Let’s start with raw meat and the dangers of not properly cleaning up the counters which have gotten contaminated.
Also, if you’re baking a cake and happen to spill any of the raw egg onto the countertop and you don’t wipe it up properly, you’re in danger. Using disposable disinfecting wipes or concentrated cleaners which kill E. coli and Salmonella bacteria is necessary to keep your kitchen safe and in turn yourself and your family.
However, have you thought about the fact that when you use such cleaners like bleach, you are creating a toxic environment in your kitchen. True, you’re killing the harmful bacteria, but you are also leaving yourself prone to the damaging effects that the chemical cleaners have left behind on your counter. That’s why using natural cleaners, which are also germicides, are the best defense against the bacteria and don’t have the same effects as the toxic chemicals.
When cooking raw meat—like when washing chicken and then preparing it—what are we then wiping our hands on? Are we accidently touching the faucet to wipe our hands? Having paper towels or disposable wipes handy in the kitchen is a good option for cleaning and disinfecting our hands when cooking. Then always be certain to wash your hands with soap and water afterward. Remember to never wipe your hands on the dishcloth or rag and then leave it lying around on the counter top for you to touch and get in contact with harmful bacteria again.
Another area of our kitchens that we don’t think is dirty is the faucet filter. What happens with the filter?
As we rinse the dirty washcloth or sponge and it bumps against the filter, food particles and other dirt can get lodged in the filter. Now since the filter is underneath the neck of the faucet, we don’t always think about it because we don’t see it. This is a hot spot for bacteria to grow and if our water is hard, residue of lime can build up on this filter as well. The best way to clean such a filter is to use a natural ph balanced cleaner or soak the filter in white vinegar a few times a month.
The drain is also a hot spot for bacteria to grow. Be certain to clean it with a germicide after rinsing chicken and raw meats. This is important since you’ll be cleaning vegetables and washing dishes in the same sink. Some people suggest using bleach and then rinsing with water for this type of disinfecting. However, using a natural germicide with also kills Salmonella and E. coli, is the best option because you’re not leaving the toxic bleach behind in your sink to then infect your food and dishes.
We use knives for slicing food during meal preparation and for cutting food while eating. We can’t be lazy and wash a knife and not completely dry it before putting it back into the knife block. If you put it away wet, then mold has a chance to grow and obviously, that is not a healthy situation. Regarding cutting boards, we don’t think about it, but this is another hot spot for bacteria to live and thrive.
With plastic cutting boards, the slices and knife marks are places where bacteria can grow. Washing with soap and water is not enough.
Bamboo cutting boards are naturally anti-bacterial.
Applying mineral oil over the bamboo coats and protects the board from bacteria finding a home in the pores. For a deep clean, especially after chopping meats on the board, hydrogen peroxide can be used to thoroughly clean the wood.
Since our home is our castle, we need to remember to do our best to keep it safe and healthy. Using germicides to clean is the way to go, but remember that natural ones are far better for our bodies than chemical cleaners with dangerous toxins.
NaturalHolisticHealth.com has posted a recipe for Four Thieves Vinegar Recipe, which is a blend of natural ingredients that can be used when trying to stave off a cold, as a salad dressing, and as a “topical spray to disinfect surfaces”.
What do you do to practice good safety skills in the kitchen to protect yourself and your family from harmful bacteria and toxins?