A kitchen can be a dangerous place. Between the high-powered electrical appliances, the risk of bacteria spreading, the sharp knives and risk of fire, scalding, and other heat-related injuries, it can be one of the most unsafe areas of the home while cooking is going on. However, kitchen safety comes down to some fairly basic rules. These ten rules are easy to follow, and will keep your family and yourself safe, and your kitchen will stay well-organized and efficient.
A disorganized kitchen can be a dangerous place. Overstuffed cupboards can cause dangerous spills and falls. Overfilled drawers may leave you at risk for accidentally cutting yourself. Tangled cords can damage small appliances, and risk injury while they’re in use. To keep your kitchen uncluttered, take a regular stock, every six months or even just once a year.
Go over the contents of your kitchen cupboards and decide what you really need to keep, and what can be thrown out or donated. Test all appliances before you use them, to make sure they are working as they should, and if you’re keeping kitchen appliances in cupboards and drawers, secure cords with a cord clip. Make sure everything has its place, and is clearly labelled.
Decluttering is doubly important when it comes to food. Food-borne illnesses can be very dangerous, especially to young children or the elderly. Clean out your fridge, pantry and freezer at least once a month, and discard all expired food. Clearly label your leftovers with the date before you stick them in the fridge. Different food stays fresh for different lengths of time while in the freezer. Many busy working families per prepare meals for the week. Be aware of how long your frozen foods and prepared meals are safe for, and label them accordingly. Do the same for your pantry and spice rack. Dry foods may be at less risk than frozen or canned to contain bacteria, but they can still go stale or develop mold if they are kept too long.
It’s important to have a plan in case of emergency. Keep your emergency numbers visible in the kitchen. Make sure your fire extinguisher can be reached and is operational. Check your smoke alarms regularly. It is also important to be aware of basic safety, such as keeping a box of baking soda on hand in case of grease fire, and a first aid kid under the sink in case of cuts. Even surface cuts can bleed profusely, and should be bandaged immediately to avoid the infections that can be caused by working in the kitchen with an open sore.
When they aren’t in use, you should unplug all electrical appliances . This includes kettles, mixers, and food processors. Do not use any of these appliances on a counter close to a sink, especially one that is full, and don’t touch it with wet hands. You should dry your hands on a dish towel before unplugging the appliance, to avoid electric shock. Don’t ever use an appliance if the cord has a short in it. It could throw sparks that could start a fire, cause a blown fuse, or worse.
The stove can be a danger spot in any kitchen, no matter the size. First and most importantly is to always turn the stove off when it’s not in use. If your stove doesn’t have a light to tell you when it’s on, be extra mindful you’ve turned the dial all the way off. Turn off any burners you’re not using as soon as you remove a pot. Keep all pot holders and oven mitts, and any other flammable material far away from the stove while it’s on.
If you store your grease instead of dumping it, store it in an airtight container and keep it far away from the stove. Scalding is one of the most common injuries in the kitchen, so keep all pot handles turned away from you while you’re cooking, and keep an eye that your pots don’t boil over.
This doesn’t necessarily mean a chef's hat and apron. Though you should have something to tie your hair back, if it’s long, and protect your clothes, especially from popping grease, or bubbling sauces. Don’t wear clothes with ties, or baggy clothes that might get caught or snag on oven doors. If you’re wearing shoes, wear shoes that won’t skid across the floor. You may want to invest in silicone oven gloves, which are more resistant to heat, to help you avoid burns.
Knives and other sharp utensils can cause injury, which in an active kitchen, can easily lead to a bacterial infection. Always make sure you’re using the right type and size of knife for what you want. Different knives are shaped differently. Additionally, using a duller knife to do a job can result in frustration, slipping, and injury.
Always hold a knife by the handle, even while you are washing it. Never stick your bare hands into a basin or sink that may have knives in it. If you’re handling knives, keep them pointed down and away from you, or anyone who could be hurt. If you do accidentally drop a knife, you shouldn’t try to catch it. Let it fall, to avoid accidental injury.
It’s important to keep your kitchen clean to avoid the spread of bacteria. You should always keep the cutting boards you use for meat separate, and wash them thoroughly with warm soapy water immediately after use. Keep the cutting boards you use to chop vegetables separate from those for meats. Scrub counter tops thoroughly with specified kitchen cleaners, to clean most effectively without risking harming your family.
Always keep your cleaning supplies far away from where you store your food, especially if you choose to use green cleaners like vinegar or lemon juice. This is so you don’t accidentally use the same lemon juice for cooking that you use for cleaning. When cooking, you should put dishes directly in the sink as you use them, to avoid cluttering the counter top, and risking spills or cross-contamination. Remember, a clean kitchen is a safe kitchen.
The kitchen can be one of the most active rooms in a house. As the heart of the home, it is also one of the most accident-prone. But with our safety tips in mind, you can prevent most common household accidents. And should an accident occur in your kitchen, you will also have the knowledge how to handle it. We’re confident these tips can help you keep your family safe.
I started this blog to provide advanced home improvement tips, guiding you towards a better and more comfortable home, kitchen, garden experience. I deliver more than home guides, and motivate people to get nice home!