What can be harmful to you and your family in your KITCHEN?
Your gas stove top or oven is usually one of the most important appliances in the home as it is used to cook and bake various items. Take the necessary steps to ensure these appliances are maintained and used properly.
- Have your gas appliances inspected annually.
- If you suspect a problem, have your appliances serviced immediately.
- When cooking, use a hood exhaust fan that is vented outdoors. The best fans are “blower fans” (which look like hamster wheels) because they move more air than “impeller fans” (which look more like airplane propellers).
- Never use your gas stove or oven to heat your home.
- Some individuals may not be able to tolerate the emissions from a gas stove, so an electric stove may be the best option and also provides peace of mind about leaking gases.
Types of Mould
Moisture can easily build up in the kitchen from cooking, baking, dish washing and plumbing leaks. Look for moisture problems and fix them as soon as possible.
There can be many signs of moisture problems in your kitchen- condensation found inside windows, rotting window sills, damp cupboards, peeling paint or wallpaper and mould spots growing around kitchen walls or underneath the sink.
- Keep all surfaces (counters, window sills, cupboards, and underneath the sink) clean and dry.
- Use a vented exhaust fan over the stove and open a window when cooking.
- Don’t let liquids and food simmer uncovered for too long—it’s an easy way for moisture to accumulate.
- Remove visible mould with a solution of unscented dish detergent or baking soda and water.
- Use a non-toxic cleaning alternative: one part vinegar to one part water. Check with sensitive family members for their tolerance to vinegar odours (some experience irritation/discomfort due to the smell).
Many municipalities require the collection of kitchen compostable scraps to be separated from recycling and trash. It is important to find a place inside or outside the home where this can be stored safely in between pickups, without adding odours to your home or attracting pests and insects.
- Regularly empty out your kitchen garbage, recycling, and compost.
- Sprinkle baking soda on the bottom of the garbage or compost can to limit odours. You can also sprinkle again after a new bag has been put in.
- Find a space such as a locked shed or garage to store items in between collection that does not bring unpleasant odours back into the home.
Pests such as cockroaches and mice can be found in Canadian homes. They can enter a home through holes or cracks in the walls, windows, doors or floor.
- Clean up promptly after cooking and store waste in closed containers instead of bags.
- Regularly remove your kitchen garbage, recycling and compost.
- Identify cracks and other openings that act as entry points for insects and seal these areas with caulking. For rodents, stuff steel wool into the cracks where they get in (rodents can’t chew through steel wool), or place traps where they enter your home.
- Use pesticide-free glue traps to catch crawling insects.
- Ensure the humidity inside your kitchen is ideal (between 30-50%) as pests such as earwigs and silverfish are attracted to humid areas. Use a hygrometer to measure humidity levels.
- Use non-toxic pest control measures.
Whenever you open a cleaning product, irritating chemicals can be released. Even closed containers can leak chemicals – you can tell this is happening if you notice odours each time you open the cupboard door where the products are stored.
- Buy non-toxic household products (e.g. cleaners), or make your own:
- Baking soda and water can be used to clean your oven or kitchen surfaces. For the oven, mix baking soda and water together to create a mixture. Apply the mixture to your oven, wait a while, and then wipe off with a damp cloth. For cleaning surfaces, sprinkle baking soda on a damp cloth, wipe, and rinse with clean water.
- Vinegar safely cleans your automatic coffee maker. Run white vinegar through the cycle, followed by one or two rinses with fresh water. The steam from boiling acids can be a respiratory irritant, so make sure you do this under a working exhaust fan, or open the window and temporarily leave the kitchen while this is happening.
- If you have potentially hazardous household products, use them and store them according to manufacturers’ instructions (and safely away from children). If possible, store them outside the living areas of your home.