Time to lean? Time to spring clean the kitchen for better health!
If you’ve ever been employed by the restaurant industry, it’s likely you’ve heard the phrase “if you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean”. Translation: if you’re not busy, it’s time to pick up a broom, a sponge or any other piece of equipment used for cleaning purposes and get to work.
On a recent day working from my home office, my computer crashed. It was devastating, as you can imagine. But I figured that now I had time to lean, so it was time to clean – a little spring cleaning
, in fact. I closed my laptop, shut the door to my office and headed to my satellite office - the kitchen. Sounds like a dream day, right? For some of us, yes, and for some of us, no.
In all seriousness, cleaning the kitchen, while less than glamorous, is critical for the health of our families. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly 1 in 6 Americans becomes sick from a foodborne illness each year. While surprising to some, foodborne illness
can be contracted at home as easily as when dining out. Practicing a few simple precautions at home can quickly help reduce the risk to you and your family.
If you have 5 minutes:
If you have 15 minutes:
- Review the contents of your fridge and/or cabinets and throw out any old food. Check here for definitions of what “sell by” and “use by” really mean. And remember, when in doubt, throw it out.
- Toss your old sponge and/or sponge head and replace with a new one. Kitchen sponges are the #1 source of germs in the house.
- Clean and sanitize your dish rack. Even though “clean” dishes are placed there, it can still harbor dirt and germs.
If you have 30 minutes:
- Calibrate your meat thermometer. The only way to accurately tell if meat is cooked to the proper internal temperature is to ensure your meat thermometer is in proper working order. Here’s a guide to the internal temperatures of food when cooking.
- Clean and sanitize the garbage and recycling bins. Although they may be lined, it’s easy for spilled liquids and old food to become trapped under the lining.
- Clean and sanitize the switch plates, phone, spoon rest, oven door/ toaster/microwave handles. Germy hands mean germy surfaces.
- Check that your refrigerator is at 40 degrees F or less and that your freezer is at 0 degrees F or less. If these numbers are off, reset the refrigerator and freezer to recalibrate. If they are still off, it’s time to make a call for service.
- Remove everything from your refrigerator and remove each shelf and drawer for a deep cleaning and sanitizing.
- Deep clean your freezer. Removing everything (including the ice racks, ice trays and shelves) wash, sanitize and dry the interior of the freezer and its components. View each food item carefully; if it’s old, unidentifiable, has freezer burn or smells off-putting, dispose of it immediately.
for more information on keeping your kitchen and your food safe.
Robin Plotkin, RD, LD, knows the challenges of getting a fast, healthy and tasty meal on the table. As a registered dietitian and a mom, Robin provides realistic tools and resources for families in need of stress-free meal times. Follow her blog at: http://www.robinsbite.com