If the key to our health resides in what we put into our bodies, then it stands to reason that the kitchen should be the cleanest and healthiest place in our home. Unfortunately, there are many common misconceptions when it comes to the proper method of cleaning our plates and dishes, and even how we wash and store the fruit and vegetables we eat. Luckily, there are a few extra precautions you can take in the kitchen to ensure that everyone in your household is staying as healthy as possible no matter what meal they’re eating throughout the day.
While sites like beycome.com can help you find the best neighborhood for your family to live in, it is hard to find a resource to help you understand the full gamut of healthy cleaning habits. Although every household is different, here are 4 of the most unhealthy kitchen items that may be lurking in your kitchen that need be taken off the menu permanently.
Change the Sponge Frequently
Sponges are a go-to tool in the kitchen when it comes to cleaning spills and getting gunk off of plates and pans. The only downside to using sponges is that so much food tends to get stuck within the sponge itself that it can quickly rot and harbor pathogens. While many of us hold onto sponges until they begin to smell a bit like mildew, some people opt out using sponges altogether. A washcloth can be a fantastic alternative because it doesn’t have as many crevices to hold onto old food as a sponge does. Whatever tool you use to clean your dishes or countertops, just be sure that you wash it after a couple of days at most.
Toss Out Old Cutting Boards
Every home should have separate cutting boards for meat and vegetables to avoid any foodborne illness. Standard food safety guidelines dictate that using the same cutting board to slice different meals can lead to illness. Not only that, but if you are using cracked or scratched cutting boards, bacteria can burrow into the crevices and expose you to toxins down the road. Be sure to toss old cutting boards and clean the ones you use regularly so that you can prepare every meal without having to worry about getting dinner guests sick.
Throw Out Old Leftovers
While the fridge can keep some things safe for consumption for a short period of time, it is very easy to get sick from food that sits out for too long. According to official guidelines, when food sits out at room temperature for over 2 hours, illness-causing bacteria can grow rapidly and lead to illness. If the food is left out in temperature above 90 degrees, then 1 hour is long enough for the bacteria to thrive. Unless you plan on eating your leftovers the next day, it’s safe to say you are better safe than sorry when it comes to ingesting old, forgotten meals.
Avoid Hard Plastic as Much as Possible
Many hard plastic containers contain BPA, a toxin that can cause a wide variety of health problems. Low doses of BPA have been linked to exposure to cancers, impaired immune function, early onset puberty, obesity, diabetes, and hyperactivity by transferring from plastic into food and drinks. Fortunately, there are many companies that now make water bottles and Tupperware that is labeled BPA free, so be sure to search for that label when buying, and replace all your old containers as soon as you can.
While it may seem obvious that dangerous toxins exist in things such as old food and moldy sponges, there are many hidden dangers lurking in items we wouldn’t usually think twice about purchasing. It is important to remember that not all companies have the correct moral compass when it comes to their products’ effects on health or the environment. Always be sure and do your research when it comes time to purchase a new household product or appliance and be sure to choose a company that emphasizes safety in their mission statement.
When it comes to old food or leftovers, there are apps you can use that can track how fresh/stale your food might be. Thanks to the continued evolution of both science and technology, we will hopefully one day understand how to keep our food, homes, and environment as safe and healthy as possible for generations to come, but until then, try to keep your kitchen as clean as possible.