Updated 10 May 2022
When you’ve got children, you spend an awful lot of time in the kitchen – making breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and endless snacks. So how do you make sure that your kitchen is the safest environment possible for you and your family? You detox your kitchen!
Start by having a look at the chemicals that you use.
Soap & disinfectants
Ditch the disinfectants – avoid any products that contain microban, triclosan or other synthetic disinfectants. You can read this article to find out more about triclosan and why it's a good idea to avoid it.
Chill out a little when it comes to germs. We’re not advocating that you stop washing your hands before you prepare dinner, but a little dirt is good for everyone. The rise of allergies and asthma in the western world is thought to be because children are not being exposed to enough germs, allowing them to develop their immune systems.
Instead of using antibacterial or disinfectant type soaps, go with natural soaps like Dr Bronner’s. You can even add your own antibacterial essential oils if you want.
Dishwash & surface sprays
Go through your cleaning products and remove any that have ‘caution’ on them. Instead, choose eco friendly cleaning products like the ones we stock at Hello Charlie. You’ll find greener alternatives to all your kitchen chemicals like dishwash powder and tablets (I swear by ecostore’s), surface sprays, and dishwash liquids.
If you want to keep using disinfecting surface sprays, you can also try making your own with a spray bottle of water to which you’ve added a few drops of each of eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils – it cuts through grease as well as being naturally antibacterial.
Scrub chopping boards between uses, pour boiling water over them and then stand them in the sun to bleach when you can.
Sponges, cloths & paper towels
Wash tea towels, sponges, and dishcloths everyday in the washing machine or dishwasher. I use colour coded facewashers, blue in the kitchen, green for floor spills, pink for bathroom, etc. You can sterilise sponges by putting them in the microwave for 30 seconds, too.
If facewashers aren't your thing, there are plenty of compostable kitchen sponges and plastic free dish brushes around these days.
Watch out for microfibre cloths, and don't get greenwashed into buying synthetic ones that shed small plastic fibres into our waterways. Go for natural microfibres instead.
Reduce your paper waste in the kitchen. Paper towels are chlorine bleached, so try to choose TCF (totally chlorine free) or unbleached paper towels and napkins. Or even better, make the change to cloth - cloth napkins, tea towels, and tablecloths are so much nicer than disposable ones!
Invest in better food storage. Go for glass, ceramic or stainless steel. Reuse glass jars that have had food in them, and go with old fashioned canisters for dry goods.
If you must use plastic food storage, choose BPA free and phthalate free, and make sure that it is a safe plastic. As a rule of thumb, the more flexible the plastic, the more phthalates it will contain.
Ditch the glad wrap! If you’ve got leftovers, you can cover stuff with a plate instead. We’ve been doing this for years at home. You can also use baking paper or waxed paper with a rubber band around the top. To find a great substitute, check out our article on Finding a Cling Wrap Alternative That Works.
Go with BPA free by choosing wood, bamboo or stainless steel utensils. Silicone is a safer plastic alternative, too.
Say no to Teflon and non-stick cookware. Choose cast iron, stainless steel, glass, enamel or ceramic coated pans instead.
Other things to think about
Filter your water with a good water filter that will remove toxins from your tap. Go with a carbon ceramic filter or a reverse osmosis system.
Rethink the microwave - it emits EMF's and irradiates your food. Reheat food on the stovetop instead. It's faster, and it heats through more evenly.
To avoid EMFs, stand away from the microwave when you're using it, and stand back from the induction cooker and flashing digitals.
Skip the air fresheners. Empty the rubbish every day, get a couple of plants in (go even more eco and keep some herbs on the windowsill) and wipe your rubbish bin down with an essential oil if you want a nice smell.
We've got even more ideas for you here: Plastic Free July - How to Work Towards a Plastic Free Kitchen
Next: let's look at detoxing the laundry.