There is nothing nicer than a clean, neat, well-equipped kitchen. Your kitchen is the heart of your home. Whether you are remodelling your kitchen or installing a new one, there is much to consider about the best choices for you and your family.
Start with nontoxic materials and finishes for your kitchen. Consider also the importance of good ventilation, natural lighting, and surfaces that are easy to clean without using harsh chemicals. There are many choices you can make toward building a healthier kitchen.
Good Renovation Checklist
- Avoid particleboard cabinet units that contain urea-formaldehyde (usually finished in plastic laminate), which is classified by the European Union as a likely human carcinogen. Choose solid wood or metal cabinets or recycled solid wood units.
- Choose energy-efficient appliances with an Energy Star label.
- Choose tile, granite, stainless steel, or solid wood for healthier surfaces as some laminate countertops release chemicals
- Avoid vinyl flooring, which can emit chemical fumes. Rather, choose stone, tile, natural linoleum, or reclaimed wood from used building material depots. Cork and bamboo flooring are good alternatives to endangered wood species such as teak and mahogany.
- Use eco-friendly paints that are low in odour and low in toxins.
- Choose a water filter with a biodegradable carbon filter for the sink faucet.
- Supplement natural light from your windows by using light colours on the ceiling and walls and install energy-efficient light bulbs where you need light.
Good Feng Shui
Feng shui is not an Asian omelette; rather it is the ancient Chinese art of object placement to support the flow of energy that will bring harmony, comfort, and balance to your environment and your life. Avoidance of clutter, dark corners, gloomy colours, low ceilings, and sharp, pointed objects is a good idea, according to feng shui practitioners.
According to Lillian Too in her book 168 Feng Shui Ways to Declutter Your Home (Sterling, 2003), all junk in the kitchen is unhealthy. She writes that among all the rooms of the home, the kitchen is the most vulnerable to the build-up of negative energy, so treat all physical junk as harmful and get rid of it.
According to feng shui rules, sharp knives should be kept in a drawer or the blades kept covered in a knife block. In addition, where the cook stands at the stove is very important: it should provide a full view of the kitchen. Best is a cooking island that allows the cook to see all around the kitchen. If this is not possible, something reflective such as a mirrored backsplash or even a reflective kettle on the stove is helpful.
Good Cleaning Products
Three basic functions of household cleaners include cutting grease, scouring (abrasive), and disinfecting. Instead of using highly toxic commercial cleaners that may contain chlorine bleach, ammonia, or phosphates, you can use common household substances to make your own environmentally friendly cleaners.
Your healthy, uncluttered, clean kitchen is an integral part of a healthy family life–it nourishes the soul and provides sustenance to all who enter.
Use baking soda and water or half baking soda and half salt; scrub and rinse well. For chrome and stainless steel, dip a soft cloth into ordinary white flour and rub object until it shines.
Nontoxic Cleaning Products
- baking soda
- lemon juice
- table salt
- white vinegar
- pure soap
- microfibre cloths and water to polish windows and mirrors
1/2 cup (125 mL) pure soap
1/4 cup (60 mL) lemon juice
3 cups (750 mL) hot water
Pour 1/4 cup (60 mL) baking soda and 1/4 cup (60 mL) salt down drain. Add 1/2 cup (125 mL) vinegar; cover drain with stopper and wait 15 minutes. Flush with boiling water.
Or pour 1 cup (250 mL) salt down drain, followed by boiling water.
1 tsp (5 mL) borax
2 Tbsp (30 mL) vinegar
1/4 cup (60 mL) pure soap
2 cups (500 mL) hot water
Apply paste of baking soda and water; let sit overnight. Remove with soapy cloth or apply straight vinegar.
Leave to soak at least two hours; then wipe with wet cloth, rinsing frequently in warm water.