We all spend so much time in the kitchen, not only to cook, but also to socialize and strengthen family ties. A happy kitchen often reflects a happy home so it’s important to make sure we not only match it to our personalities but also keep it safe, clean, and fresh. Here are a few tips to create and maintain a happy and healthy kitchen.

The first cut isn’t always the deepest

Meat and vegetables aren’t to be treated the same way. Keep separate cutting boards for fruits, vegetables, and meat that are clearly labeled so that even family members and guests know the difference. Use wooden cutting boards as often as you can, and disinfect regularly to keep everyone safe. The danger isn’t always in the cutting, but in where the cutting is being done.

Your surfaces are only as clean as your cleaning materials

It’s important to disinfect not only your cutting boards, but your dish cloths, brushes, and hand towels as well. Ideally have a set of seven, and change them daily. It’s worth the extra effort when you think about all the bacteria you WON’T be spreading when washing counters and sinks with dirty materials.

Wash your hands…Often

It’s simple advice, but it’s too important yet too often neglected. Anytime you’re working with food or paper, wash, wash, wash. Whether you’re handling meat, fresh produce, or that print-out of a recipe, make sure you wash your hands before and after your transitions. This practice will become easier with a convenient pump of hand soap beside the sink, as well as with a hand towel separate from that used to dry dishes.

Consider your cleaning products

It’s a delicate balance sometimes to find a product that cleans your counters but doesn’t leave harmful chemical residues that can get into your food. On one hand you want to sanitize, but on the other you don’t want contaminants that can be harmful to your health. Choose a natural cleaning product that reliably does its job but at the same time won’t leave you worried about side effects.

Organize your space

Take a good look at what you do in your kitchen. If you cook a lot, are your cookbooks accessible, are jars labeled, are the spices fresh? In an hour or two, it’s easy to tackle a small project like de-cluttering that drawer of random utensils or restocking your baking shelf. Make your space work for you!

Enjoy your kitchen to its fullest. By keeping it clean and functional, it’ll be truly a space of possibility, creativity and cheerful family moments.

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