“You are what you eat” is a truthful saying that usually refers to the quality of the food that we consume. However, if we’re not careful, we could end up ingesting much more than we expect. As a general rule, there are entire ecosystems of bacteria and mold that like to consume food residue, in addition to larger household invaders like rodents or insects.
Both pathogens and pests like to eat as much as we do. Keeping a clean kitchen will ensure that we don’t accidentally ingest harmful bacteria, mold spores, cockroach remains, and other repulsive or harmful elements.
Fats are some of the most calorically-dense substances in nature. It’s no surprise that almost every living creature craves the stuff. Also, the fat molecules themselves are resistant to water and hard to break down.
Of course, bacteria will readily form on stray fat and oil droplets. Even when a thorough cleaning can be postponed, be sure to scrub your stove and surrounding area with a soapy solution every time you cook. Water will just smear the fat, while the soap is great at breaking down fat molecules.
Cleaning any trace of fat will also prevent cockroach infestations.
It doesn’t take much to attract cockroaches. Each individual bug leaves a scent trail wherever it goes, making it easier for its siblings to follow. These critters just love fat and food residue, and their sense of ‘smell’ would put ours to shame. Even the tiniest stray droplets of fat will keep them coming.
Another repulsive aspect is that these insects eat constantly; thus, they leave their droppings wherever they go. One of the first indications of an infestation is the appearance of pepper-like granules all over your kitchen.
Using a citrus-based soap while cleaning will not only dissolve fat, but it will also mess with the chemical trails that cockroaches leave as trails to find their way back to your kitchen.
Even though your kitchen may look clean, it is advisable not to take any chances and be extra careful with fat residue.
Maintain your dishwasher
As it functions, your dishwasher can accumulate food residue that is very easy to miss. Be sure to check it after each wash, especially under the bottom rack. Its process of washing dishes may be great for dissolving grease, but food can have other, harder components such as insoluble string bean fibers, bits of pasta, etc.
Although it may seem to defeat the purpose of having a dishwasher in the first place, it is advisable to rinse your dishes before putting them in. This doesn’t have to be a thorough cleaning, just a quick process of eliminating most of the bulky food debris.
First, wipe the dish clean with a paper towel, then put it under the faucet for a few seconds. This swift, low effort action will assure that you remove any material that could clog your dishwasher or just sit inside it, gathering lethal bacteria.
Prioritize paper towels and not rags or towels
Depending on your habits, you may use a kitchen rag or towel to wipe off wet hands or wipe your dishes after the dishwasher leaves them a little wet. As a general rule, try to avoid cloth fabrics in your kitchen.
While to our naked eyes, it may look like a solid piece of cloth, it is an intricate forest of fibers on a micro-level. Each time you set it counter or wipe seemingly clean hands, a certain amount of food residue will cling to those fibers.
You do not have to be a microbiologist to know what will happen if you have a damp object with food particles lying around. Of course, it will quickly breed bacteria.
If possible, use paper towels for any wiping action, as they can be disposed of after being used.