Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Green Cleaning
            In everyday life, people are faced with some very simple tasks such as cleaning the dishes, cleaning the counter tops, mopping the floor, and washing hands.  Most people get some of the same products such as Clorox and Dawn.  These products get the job done every time but can also have very harmful effects to humans and to the environment.  Also, with the products, people tend to use a lot of water while doing dishes.  With a few short steps one can cut their water usage by over 75% by following a few steps to wash dishes more quickly and more eco-friendly.
            This year in cooking while cleaning the table and counter tops, I was using a spray and smelled something unusual.  When I think of cleaning products I think of the sweet smell of lemon Pledge.  This was definitely not that! I turned to my fellow chefs and we all came to the conclusion that it smelled like vinegar. When we asked Mrs. Tuorto she said the spray was a mixture of water and vinegar.  One cup of water and one cup of white vinegar is a great cleaning product.  It is a great deodorizer, works on hardwood surfaces, dissolves dirt, soap scum, and hard water deposits from smooth surfaces.  It is also a great fabric softener.  As you see, it is easy to make and is very economical and environmentally friendly, as opposed to the products you see on TV.
            Products you might see on TV do their job and do it well but how much do you spend on them and how environmentally friendly are they?  Dishwasher detergent is actually the number 1 cause of poisoning from household products.  It leaves a residue on the dishes and can be consumed, especially if the food you eat is hot.  Cleaning products are also one of the leading causes of pollution in the country.  They produce about 80% of total non-vehicular emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can trigger respiratory problems such as asthma, contribute to smog formation, and inhibit plant growth.  With these statistics I think it’s safe to say that it is better to clean with more organic cleaning products. 
            In the cooking class we have had the great pleasure to not only cook but to clean the counters and our dishes.  The most common thing I have seen so far is leaving the water on while we wash the dishes.  When I wash the dishes I rinse them off a little bit, and then I sanitize them and rinse them off.  But the most efficient way to clean dishes by hand and use the least amount of water and power is to get two buckets of water, one with warm water to wash and sanitize, and the other to rinse (take the soap off the dishes).  This only takes about 10-20 gallons of water depending on how big the tubs are.  The most efficient way to wash your dishes is to use a dishwasher.  Most studies show washing dishes by hand uses more water.  For a lot of dishes it will take approximately about 12-16 gallons of water to clean the dishes as opposed to 65 gallons washing by hand.
            Another small thing everyone can do to help protect the environment is use dish towels.  These towels are simply your basic hand towel.  By using these towels you can save thousands of tons of paper towels.  The towels are multi-purpose.  In class we use them to dry our hands and dry the dishes.  Most chefs use these rags all day and it is a great thing to have to help the environment.
Here are some simple steps to clean the kitchen and dishes:
1.      Kick the dog out.
2.      Don’t get the lemon Pledge but get the vinegar, water mixture.
3.      Get a clean rag and start spraying tables (don’t be afraid-the smell will go away once the liquid dries).
4.      Make sure all food pieces get thrown away.
Cleaning dishes efficiently:
1.      Put dishes in dishwasher and let magic work.
If you do not have a dishwasher:
1.      Put on yellow gloves.
2.      Fill two tubs with water (one hot and with some dish detergent and the other cold to rinse).
3.      Wash dishes thoroughly to make sure there are no pieces of food left.
4.      Rinse and dry with clean rag.

I.D.R 12’  I love to cook and I love to eat but I will never again touch an onion without the proper protection

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