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A Bacteria Free Kitchen Without Harmful Chemicals

Updated on June 17, 2009
Cleaning doesn't have to mean chemicals
Cleaning doesn't have to mean chemicals

Most of us were raised in homes where our mothers believed in the need for chlorine to clean toilets, for phosphates to clean clothes and for caustic cleansers to make the oven sparkle. The bad news is that all these chemicals are linked to a variety of health and environmental problems, both due to the ways in which they are manufactured and the impact that they have on the environment once they are flushed down your drain. The good news is that you don't have to use harsh chemicals or pollutants in order to have a clean and bacteria free home. Some of the best cleansers can be found in your cupboards! You can also make use of simple techniques to keep your kitchen clean, without ever resorting to harmful substances.

Cleaning with Vinegar

Your humble white vinegar bottle could become your best friend in cleaning your kitchen! Distilled white vinegar can attack many of your worst cleaning problems, including most mold, bacteria, and germs, due to its level of acidity. Vinegar is also an effective deodorizer, so you get two benefits with one cleaner. Simply use it full strength for many tough cleaning jobs.

Want a spray cleaner that you can use every day? You can easily make your own homemade version. Mix 1/2 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of baking soda. Dilute with 1 quart of water. Use as you would other spray cleaners; you can also use this in your bathroom for chrome fixtures and mirrors. If you like your home to smell lemony fresh, consider adding a few drops of lemon essential oil to your homemade cleaner. Not only will you save the environment, but you'll spare your pocket book too.

Cook Those Bugs

Did you know that your kitchen sink harbors more bacteria than the toilet bowl? As a result, nothing has more bacteria than that innocent looking sponge that you use to clean your sink. Even if you ensure that your sponge dries out every night, it still happily collects bacteria each day as you clean your kitchen surfaces. It can then spread bacteria to whatever it touches.

Here's an easy way to keep your sponge bacteria free: squeeze it out until it is damp and microwave it for one minute. That's it! You now have a bacteria free sponge.

Another great trick for cleaning your sponges and dish cloths is to put them in your dishwasher! When you are ready to set your dishwasher in motion, put your dirty cleaning gear into a free cutlery basket and pull them out clean and bacteria free at the end of the cycle.

Microwave the Microwave

While the microwave can get your sponge bacteria free, it needs to get some attention too! Food residue can collect on surfaces; you might even have a few bacteria hiding in here. 

One simple way to clean this handy appliance is to put a microwave-safe bowl inside filled with 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar and 1/2 cup water. Microwave the bowl until the contents are at a rolling boil. The vapour will loosen any food spills and eliminate any odors. Simply wipe clean.

When In Doubt, Steam Clean

While many new kitchen gadgets are just another way to eat up your money, the latest steam cleaners are actually very effective and increasingly well-priced. When it comes to your oven as well as your tile or hardwood floors, steam cleaning beats most of the alternatives for ease and results. You don't need any additives when using a steam cleaner - just let the steam do the work!

Don't use steam on surfaces that will "cook". Stick to metal, tile, hardwood and countertops. If in doubt that steam will be safe for a surface, test in an inconspicuous place first.


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    • MoniqueAttinger profile image

      MoniqueAttinger 6 years ago from Georgetown, ON

      Thanks for dropping by, geetbhim! We use vinegar all the time around my house - and it's the only thing I use in the kitchen... But the microwave works like a charm for disinfecting cleaning sponges and cloths! ;-)

    • geetbhim profile image

      sangeeta verma 6 years ago from Ludhiana India

      Great tips Monique I use to clean with vinegar but was not aware of using microwave cleaning with vinegar thanks for the tip it will be of great help.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Good stuff here!

    • MoniqueAttinger profile image

      MoniqueAttinger 8 years ago from Georgetown, ON

      Jmell and ladyvenus - I'm working right now on a hub with recipes for homemade cleaners to help you tackle the bathroom. And, of course, vinegar will feature prominently! I'm also still working on another hub that just highlights all the things that vinegar will do for you on its own. Stay tuned! ;-)

    • Jmell profile image

      Jmell 8 years ago from El Paso, Texas, USA

      I can't wait to read your Hub on the other uses of vinegar!

    • profile image

      Frugalist 8 years ago

      Again, I loved your hub. Using your microwave oven to help in cleaning was new to me. I agree with the use of vinegar as a cleaning product. It's amazing. I have MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity) and so cannot use most of the cleaners I used to use and have had to go all natural.

      I look forward to your recipes for keeping your house clean.

    • MoniqueAttinger profile image

      MoniqueAttinger 8 years ago from Georgetown, ON

      k@ri - vinegar cleans so well, you almost don't need anything else. I have a host of great recipes for home cleaning that use vinegar... That will be another hub! ;-)

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      I really enjoyed reading this hub! I'm with Paper Moon, vinegar truly is an amazing substance!

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 8 years ago from In the clouds

      In the restaurant industry we put the a towel soaked in the microwave, nuked it, then used tongs to wipe out the food residue with the steamed towel.

      Vinegar is truly an amazing substance.

    • Barbara Yurkoski profile image

      Barbara Yurkoski 8 years ago

      I've heard the dishwasher tip, but the microwave one is new and a great idea for a lot of things. Good article.

    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 8 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      More great tips! I have allergic asthma and as time goes on, it seems I can't tolerate much fragrance or aerosol cleaning products anymore. I will have to print this out and file it. Thanks for some really good info here.

    • K.D. Clement profile image

      K.D. Clement 8 years ago from USA

      White distilled vinegar is the same as the white vinegar in the stores.

    • profile image

      Krystle 8 years ago

      Do you know where one can find white distilled vinegar? The ones in the grocery store simply read 'white vinegar' the distilled implied?

    • K.D. Clement profile image

      K.D. Clement 8 years ago from USA

      Same here. I unplugged our microwave but maybe I'll use it for cleaning. We have been using vinegar and baking soda as cleaning agents for awhile because my lungs can't handle the toxic stuff. I am really glad that you are writing about these things. You really save a lot of money by using environmentally friendly cleaning agents too! ;-)

    • profile image

      Jolanta 8 years ago

      Thanks for valuable advices how to substitute <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:612.0pt 792.0pt; margin:72.0pt 90.0pt 72.0pt 90.0pt; mso-header-margin:36.0pt; mso-footer-margin:36.0pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> chemicals which most of us use daily...loved that tip about a bacteria free sponge.

    • MoniqueAttinger profile image

      MoniqueAttinger 8 years ago from Georgetown, ON

      We actually rarely use it for food - but it comes in handy if you want to disinfect something! ;-)

    • K.D. Clement profile image

      K.D. Clement 8 years ago from USA

      Great tips Monique. I especially like how you use the microwave in your kitchen.