Many chemical cleaners available on the market today are bad for the environment, and also probably bad for human health. However, the CDC also reports that 76 million US residents become sick from food-borne pathogens every year.
Most of these illnesses come from the kitchen, usually the dirtiest room in the house; even bathrooms usually house less health-harming bacteria than the kitchen. To protect yourself from both food-borne illnesses and potentially hazardous cleaning products, opt instead to make your own at home.
An anti-bacterial substance that can kill most germs since vinegar’s pH puts it on the slightly acidic end of the scale. White distilled vinegar is most frequently used for cleaning; diluted vinegar is non-toxic and makes a great all-purpose cleaner while undiluted vinegar is best for big messes like soap residue and greasy stovetops.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide
A multi-purpose chemical that can also disinfect wounds. Just 3% hydrogen peroxide diluted in water is enough to kill germs and bacteria. Diluted hydrogen peroxide is also a “streak-free” cleaner, so it’s perfect for stainless steel or glass surfaces.
3. Tea Tree Oil, Orange Oil, and Neem Oil
These essential oils are all known for their anti-bacterial properties, which is why you might recognize at least one of them, tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is often used to fight acne because it kills P. acnes, the bacterium associated with breakouts. Use it in the kitchen instead to fight E. coli and salmonella.
Bacteria can be found everywhere; in sponges, on countertops, in the grooves between the tiles on the floor, and the list goes on and on from there. When disinfecting, make sure every surface gets its fair share of scrubbing, and as an added precaution, wash kitchen towels frequently and replace sponges often. A perfectly clean kitchen can be completely re-contaminated by one dirty dishcloth.