Retro Saturday: Kitchen Clean Up

Welcome to Retro Saturday where we share a post from the past so we can enjoy weekends with our families.

Dear Home Ec 101:

I know there is a proper way to clean up after handling raw meat. Do you have the specifics?

~Sal Monella

Heather says:

Excellent question, my dear! Not many people realize that cleaning up after handling raw meat is a two step process. If you skip either you run the risk of setting yourself up for a case of food poisoning via cross contamination.

1) Wash the cutting board or counter with hot soapy water.

2) Disinfect the area with a mild bleach solution of 1/3 cup regular strength, unscented bleach to 1 qt water or commercial disinfectant. I keep my bleach solution in a labeled spray bottle.

The two step process is vital, the soapy water brings dirt and bacteria out of the microscopic crevices and breaks up oily films or residues that may protect bacteria. The bleach solution kills any bacteria that may have been left behind. Skipping either step will allow bacteria to remain on the food preparation surface.

Always clean any surface prior to working with food. If you live with cats it is especially important to use a disinfectant prior to food preparation, as even the most well behaved cat may take a stroll down the counter when you aren’t paying attention.

Finally, always be sure to thoroughly wash your hands both before and after handling raw meat.

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  1. Patia on May 19, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    I’ve soaked the nozzles in plain water (but not soapy) and tried to spray the water through, but it doesn’t seem to work for long. Maybe I will try soapy. I have all but given up on keeping bleach in spray bottles.

  2. Heather on May 18, 2008 at 6:32 am

    @Patia They will clog up. Have you tried soaking the spray mechanism in warm soapy water? Then spraying plain water?

    @Meghan That sounds like the voice of experience. One of my first jobs was at Waffle House, part of our responsibilities as servers was cleaning the bathroom (gag!) we were duly warned never to add bleach to the toilet without flushing first.

  3. meghan on May 18, 2008 at 2:26 am

    I will say this: bleach is best for cleaning plastic cutting boards.

    It is the most effective disinfectant, and it is my understanding that it evaporates off of surfaces, making it even better.

    Just don’t mix bleach and brillo pads. :/ At least in poorly ventilated areas.

  4. Patia on May 17, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Oooh! I have a question!

    How do you keep your spray bottle nozzle from clogging up?

    I’ve tried three different bottles, and they always clog up, I think because of the mineral salts in the bleach.