Call me pedantic, but I’m constantly dismayed at how many people don’t know basic hygiene and safety methods such as washing dishes.
I have often heard how people suffered upset stomachs and various other complaints, until they purchased a dishwasher. The reason is simple, it’s not necessarily the electric dishwasher that is better, but rather the human dishwasher who was ineffective.
When we hand wash dishes, often the detergent is not rinsed off and residue can lead to ingestion the next time that item is used which can then lead to upset stomaches. It is no good washing up then pouring a cup of hot water over the draining dishes – last I noticed, people eat/drink from the insides of these things NOT the outside, so rinsing off the outside is just a waste of time.
Germs need hot water 60C and over to be killed effectively so if the water is warm enough for you to comfortably submerge your hands in, then it is not hot enough. The water from TGC’s tap is 100C and feels hot even through thick rubber gloves.
You cannot hope to have clean dishes if the water is like soup because food was not removed properly before hand.
Some have said that all this hygiene is over the top and we are creating an environment of super-bugs. To an extent, I believe this is true, however we need to consider other people.
Interesting to note that when we are born, our body scans itself to recognise our bacteria and that of our mother/father and other family members. We therefore can cope with our own bacteria. It’s not until a foreign bacteria presents itself that we encounter a problem. If our immune system is healthy and effective, we can generally fight this off, but not everyone’s immune system is working 100% , which is why it is so easy for us to catch things from other people. So, if preparing food for visitors, friends, public, we need to be extra thorough with hygiene. This includes communal kitchens at work, or other areas where people mix. How often do you see someone finish a drink, rinse their cup under cold water and then just tip it upside down to drain? It’s still crawling with germs and YOU could be the next person to use it - Ewww! There is no reason for mugs and cups to become discolured, this is just a sign they haven’t been cleaned properly. I have mugs that are 35 years old and used frequently and are just as clean today as they were when I bought them. Communal kitchens are a great place to pic up Hepatitis C.
So, here are some basic guidelines for washing up effectively.
1. Thoroughly rinse the item first until all food and drink has been removed
2. Have very hot soapy water – too hot to place hands in without gloves. Should be at least over 60C
3. Wash items thoroughly using brushes, scourers or other implements to ensure all food is removed from hard to get to grooves and crevises.
4. Rinse all bubbles and detergent off inside and outside of item with hot water
5. Leave to drain and air dry
6. Put away as soon as they are dried.
Realise too that your sponges, cloths, tea towels and even (Gasp! Shock! Horror!) your trusted bench disinfectant, can harbour millions of bacterial germs. So,
• Always use a spray bottle, not one that you tip upside down and has contact with the sponge etc
• Sponges and other cleaning items need to be sterilised regularly in boiling water (I actually put mine in boiling water then put them in the microwave on high for 5 mins)
• Tea towels should be discarded after use on a *daily* basis.
Follow these simple tips and you’ll ensure your guests go home with full satisfied tummies and not gastro.