How to Not Poison Yourself in the Kitchen – Part 1




Since many of us are still in quarantine due to COVID-19, this is the perfect time to get your kitchen cleaned and sanitized.

A lot of people are using this time to get their homes deep cleaned, and I’m one of them. You DO NOT have to use bleach wipes on every conceivable surface; hot, soapy water will do the trick, plus it’s overall better for the environment.

Step 1: Start with the refrigerator. You’d be surprised at how filthy the fridge becomes over time. Everything needs to come out – and some things need to be thrown away. Make sure and check all your condiments and get rid of any that are expired (this is also a good practice for your pantry). Scrub all the shelves, drawers, doors, and seals. This includes the freezer too. Before you start putting everything back in, consider the organization of some items. For example, you should never store vegetables under meat or poultry, unless you’re hoping for a good case of Salmonella. If you must store vegetables in drawers, make sure and put all meat and poultry on either a hotel pan or cookie sheet to stop the spread of blood and juices.

Step 2: Counters, cabinets, stovetop, and oven. Hot, soapy water should do the trick on these surfaces, however, if you have caked on grease try a good degreaser like Krud Kutter. It’s non-toxic and eco-friendly, plus it works great! If your oven has a self-cleaning setting the only thing you need to do is remove the racks. Because the self-cleaning cycle uses extremely high heat, leaving the racks in place can take the finish right off. After the cleaning cycle is over, all you’ll need to do is wipe up the ash. Also, make sure you crack open a window for extra ventilation because the fumes can sometimes cause headaches. Don’t forget to show your microwave some love too!

Step 3: After you’ve gotten everything in ship shape, it’s a good idea to sanitize your sink. Dump a half cup of baking soda in the garbage disposal, let it sit for 10 minutes, and rinse with the hottest tap water, or better – boiling water – and then run the disposal. You should do this once every quarter or so, more often, if you need to. Remember, you don’t ever want to pour grease down the drain. This can cause all sorts of problems that you’ll likely have to call a plumber to fix. Finally, make sure you wipe everything down and let it air dry. If you’ve had raw meat or poultry in the sink, it’s best to use either hot soapy water to clean, and then follow up with bleach if needed.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a warning on cleaners. I know some of you will feel compelled to make your own cleaners from chemicals you already have in your home. Please be careful when doing this! I’ve created a one-sheet for you that lists which chemicals you should never mix together. For example, mixing bleach and ammonia creates chloramine gas, of which exposure to can cause death.

I hope you found this article helpful and if you have any of your own tips, tricks, or questions, I’d love to hear about them! Now, go get to work!

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