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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: UniquePleasure7 on July 30, 2014, 08:24:27 AM

Title: Food Safety
Post by: UniquePleasure7 on July 30, 2014, 08:24:27 AM
Hello! I'm a 24 year old who was lucky enough to find MMM about a month before I found my first job after graduating college. In college I found that I loved cooking my own food so I never really developed an expensive eating out habit. However, I recently moved into a new apartment that doesn't have a dishwasher. For as long as I can remember when washing dishes I would wipe them down in the sink and place the dishes in the dishwasher. I'm concerned with food safety since I frequently handle raw chicken, pork, etc. and don't have a dishwasher to take care of the sanitation for me. How do the fellow readers of this blog handle this? It doesn't see very frugal to keep purchasing questionable chemicals to clean this. MMM covered this someone in his "Are you Cleaning out your Wallet" article, but he didn't touch on food safety.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: apfroggy0408 on July 30, 2014, 08:41:47 AM
I'm anal about raw foods, real anal.

Having said that, I hand wash all my dishes with soap and a sponge.

Haven't died yet.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: MoneyCat on July 30, 2014, 08:48:41 AM
I also have always just used dish soap and a sponge/washcloth for cleaning dishes that came into contact with raw meat.  It has always worked perfectly fine.  All that stuff about needing special chemicals for it is just Madison Ave. marketing bullcrap.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: shelivesthedream on July 30, 2014, 09:22:35 AM
If you're that worried, boil a kettle and pour boiling water over everything before you wash it.

But don't be that worried. Do you know how long the human race survived before the invention of dishwashers? Raw meat is not new. Dishwashers are.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: Richie Poor on July 30, 2014, 09:40:20 AM
My mom is 65 and has never used a dishwasher in her life, unless you count me and my siblings as dishwashers. Hot water and dish soap work well. We were a healthy bunch that rarely suffered illness.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: golfer44 on July 30, 2014, 09:40:53 AM
...wash them by hand.

And get off my lawn!

Re: questionable chemicals, isn't that what you were stuffing in your dishwasher anyway?
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: davef on July 30, 2014, 09:50:04 AM
Dawn and hot water is all I have ever used.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: MayDay on July 30, 2014, 09:54:28 AM
The main thing that grosses me out is the rag/sponge/whatever that you scrub with. I would just make sure you wash it every time you wash raw meat dishes.

But I have a raw meat "thing" so maybe I'm not the best advisor.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: rocksinmyhead on July 30, 2014, 09:56:18 AM
yeah I wouldn't worry about it at all. I cook a lot (and a lot of chicken), am a pretty disgusting slob about it sometimes, and also there are some items I just don't want to put in the dishwasher (e.g. quality knives). I don't even use Dawn, I use some weird hippie dishwashing soap that doesn't suds up that much. no food-borne illness in the 7 years since I got off a meal plan (knock on wood)

also, I don't know about others, but I find a sizeable dish drying rack to be an absolute godsend when I live somewhere without a dishwasher, just in terms of convenience.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: Cromacster on July 30, 2014, 10:02:17 AM
I don't have a dishwasher and I cook a lot of meat.

For starters I use a cutting board that is exclusively for meat.  I try to keep most of the juices and what not on the cutting board, to avoid it getting on my counters.  Some say to replace your cutting boards every year ( crazy I know).  I'm pretty sure the cutting board I am using I got 5+ years ago.

As for actual practice of washing the dishes, I fill up a small pot or a larger bowl with hot water and soap.  I do this over filling up the entire sink to save on water.  The amount of soapy water you have is really insignificant.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: TeresaB on July 30, 2014, 10:26:30 AM
But don't be that worried. Do you know how long the human race survived before the invention of dishwashers? Raw meat is not new. Dishwashers are.

I use hot water, a sponge, and whatever dish soap was cheapest last time I needed some.

I have heard that you shouldn't use wooden cutting boards for meat because they're more likely to absorb the juice.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: mrsggrowsveg on July 30, 2014, 10:52:54 AM
We don't have a dishwasher and hand-wash everything.  One good food safety idea is to have a specific cutting board or cutting board mat just for raw meat.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: davef on July 30, 2014, 12:18:35 PM
Yes, I forgot to metion that one. I have a plastic cutting board I use for meat (and should replace it once it gets all cut up) I have a wooden butchers board I use for veggies and cooked meats. I sand it down every year or two and seal it with bees wax and mineral oil.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: Fonzico on July 30, 2014, 01:47:49 PM
Moisture is another important factor - as long as your dishes etc are drying fully between uses, the germies are not going to survive.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: OSUBearCub on July 30, 2014, 02:23:45 PM
Before I had a dishwasher (I rent and lucked out to have one in my current place) I hand-washed my dishes daily.   I've got three tips:

1. Get in the habit of doing the dishes after dinner each night
- don't let them pile up and get crusty/breed germs

2. Wear rubber gloves so that you can fill the sink with the hottest water possible
- grease and burnt-on bits release better in hot hot water, it will save your arms

3. Don't waste water and energy with a running faucet, fill the sink once hot for wash and once cold for rinse
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: davef on July 30, 2014, 04:40:34 PM
I use a cast iron skillet for almost everything. When I'm done, seconds after shuting it off i dump cup of water in swirl it around and dump and done. Instant steam cleaning, and you cant warp cast iron.  Can clean it in about 20-30 seconds no matter what you made in it. I then wipe it with a paper towel. no soap needed.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: Goldielocks on July 31, 2014, 03:24:05 AM
Use bleach on cutting boards ( rough) and cloths.  It is strong to start, but oxidizes(reacts) quickly and is not too bad when put down the drain on envirinment.  Wipe out sink with mild solution after.

The microwave will cook your hazards away, too, like the boiling water.  Microwave your we sponges for 30 to 60 seconds.  Voila!

Chicken /egg and hamburger/raw sausage are the worst culprits ( chicken more so than beef), but some veggies can be tainted too, by cross contamination.

Mechanical action like wiping the plate with your clotyh or sponge also helps clean, even more so than strong dishwasher detergents.

Drying dishes is important.  Bacteria eventually die.  Spores won't replicate.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: fa on July 31, 2014, 05:57:28 AM
Warm water and soap is all you need.  No chemicals needed.  In fact, they are harmful.  I second the cutting board hygiene.  Wood is probably not the best since it is porous.

Your hygiene while handling the chicken before it is cooked matters a lot more.  Avoid cross ontamination.  There are many pathogens found around a kitchen where raw chicken is cooked, even when you are careful.  Wiping surfaces such as the refrigerator handle is probably more important than using chemicals on dirty dishes.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: Thegoblinchief on July 31, 2014, 06:45:44 AM
I'll chime in to say that wood is actually BETTER than plastic. You still need to segregate a raw meat board from the other cutting boards, but wood is naturally anti microbial. Sure, it's porous, but bacteria die below the surface.

Normally wood is expensive, but you can often find cutting boards cheaply at discounters like Marshall's or TjMaxx (or so I've read in other threads).

The main thing with wood boards is drying them off right away after washing, otherwise they will warp. Sealing every so often with mineral oil is a good idea, but the drying step is far more important.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: matchewed on July 31, 2014, 07:20:07 AM
You do the same thing that you would normally do just without a dishwasher. Soap, water, water/vinegar mix, baking soda, and bleach are all the chemicals you need to clean with.

I'd add something snarky in here about not being sure if serious but I guess I can see how someone may have grown up with the impression that a dishwasher is some fantastical device that autoclaves your dishware into immaculate sanitation. Which in a way it is, but given how much bacteria is literally everywhere after the cleaning it is just as effective as washing your dishes by hand.

Also need to note the overreaction that we have a society now to the concept of bacteria. There is bacteria literally everywhere. It's great that someone just used a dishwasher to remove all the bacteria from their plate, but the moment they touch that plate they're transferring bacteria, the moment the dishwasher is opened guess what? Bacteria. As those plates sit in the cabinet... bacteria. Do normal food prep safety standards by keeping raw meats away from other things and washing raw meat surfaces before using it for anything else, or as goblinchief said just have separate cutting boards if you're that worried. Outside of that it is okay to be exposed to these things, you already are.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: davef on July 31, 2014, 09:12:00 AM
Wood is porus if not treated. Get a good end grain cutting board and seal it with mineral oil. If you find a rough one sand it smooth then wipe with mineral oil. You can also melt bees wax with the mineral oil and wipe that on. It cloggs all the pores and is safe and natural it lasts for years as long as you dont put the board in the diswasher. They sell it at ace hardware.
Title: Re: Food Safety
Post by: RetiredAt63 on July 31, 2014, 07:19:56 PM
+1 for wood cutting boards that get wiped clean and dried immediately.

Scrape dishes as clean as possible before you start washing, so that you don't have food scraps in the wash water.  I am assuming you already do this for the dishwasher, but it is worth repeating.

A good drying rack (as mentioned above) is important - let your dishes air dry as much as possible, instead of using a dish towel.  And keep your dish towel separate from your hand towel - your dish towel should never be used to dry your hands (especially when you have been doing food prep), it should just be for drying dishes when you have nice clean hands from doing dishes.

Rinsing matters - they taught us (preparing for Cub Camp) that most tummy upsets at camp are due to the soap residue on dishes that were not rinsed well. And rinse water should be hot.  I like to have one sink/bowl for washing and one sink/bowl for rinsing, and change the rinse water as soon as it starts to look soapy.