Introducing Greening Your Kitchen! ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Introducing Greening Your Kitchen!

Greening Your Kitchen logo by Eve FoxI've been collecting ideas for a Greening Your Kitchen series for the last few months and am proud to bring you the first installment. I'll write a new one each week -- suggestions are always welcome via comments or email. If you like the ideas, please forward them along to your friends and family. Happy greening!
Greening Your Kitchen, Week 1: Nix The Antibacterials

Studies show that antibacterial soap is no more effective than regular soap at killing bacteria and getting things clean (and neither can kill viruses.) The same is true of antibacterial hand cleaning gels, lotions, cutting boards, sponges, etc. If you're not convinced,
check out what the CDC says.

In addition, there is a good possibility that using anti-bacterial products may encourage the growth of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs" against which modern medicine has no defense. That is some scary sh*t! And there are rumors that using antibacterial soap and other products may actually increase your risk of infection over time by killing off "good" bacteria and weakening your immune system. This has not been definitively proven yet but I can't think of a single reason to keep on using this junk until it is...

Despite all the technological advancements, there is just no replacement for washing your hands and surfaces well with plain old soap and water (
click here for a handwashing tutorial from the Mayo Clinic.)

Your job this week is simple -- scan your kitchen and bathroom for any and all antibacterial products that may be lurking there -- hand soaps, waterless hand cleaners, lotions, sponges, and cutting boards are the most likely suspects. Then get rid of them (please recycle, if possible!)

Once you've "cleansed" your home of all antibacterial products, it's time to replace them with non-antibacterial, non-toxic, eco-friendly products (this is the fun part!) There are lots of great options available. Here are a few suggestions for great-smelling, non-toxic, eco-friendly, non-antibacterial products to try out:


  • Cellulose "pop-up" sponges are biodegradable and you Cellulose Pop-Up Spongescan run them through your dishwasher to kill bacteria if you're concerned about germs. There are a number of companies that sell these (Gaiam, Williams Sonoma, etc.) but you can always find them at Trader Joe's for cheap.
  • Natural Value also sells a scrubber sponge that is made with 50% recycled materials. The only downside is that it won't last quite as long as a non-recycled one would.Plastic Pot & Pan Scraper
  • If you want something even tougher than a scrubby sponge, I strongly
  • suggest that you try out a plastic pot and pan scraper. They are cheap, durable, and excellent at removing caked on, baked on, burnt on food from pans, pots, cookie sheets, etc. I consider these to be a "gift from the kitchen gods."
Hand Soaps

  • Kiss My Face Organics - this brand has always been a favorite of mine. A few years ago they started making foaming hand soaps that are so good-smelling that you may be tempted to eat them... My favorite is the grapefruit and Hand Soapsbergamot.
  • Dr. Bronners - this company has been around forever and is very popular with the hippie set. Although the writing on the label may make you feel a little crazy, these powerful, delightful-smelling liquid soaps will do just the opposite. I am partial to the organic peppermint and bitter almond scents.
  • Nature's Gate - this company has been around for a while and started an organics line several years back.
Dish Soaps

  • Mrs. Meyers Clean Day - this whole line of products is eco-friendly and wonderful-smelling (soaps, lotions, cleaners, laundry detergent, wipes, Dish Soapscountertop spray, etc.) I LOVE the lemon verbena dish soap (it smells so good you'll find yourself elbowing your way to the sink to wash the dishes) and laundry detergent.
  • Seventh Generation - they offer a line of eco-friendly, non-toxic, household cleaners, baby products, and paper products. My favorite is the lemongrass and clementine zest scented dish soap.
  • Ecover - same deal, a full line of non-toxic, eco-friendly household cleaners, etc. These guys have been around a long time. I like their lemon and aloe vera dishwashing liquid best.
Hand Lotions

  • Avalon Organics - this is a nice line of organic personal Hand Lotionscare products. I like their lavender hand and body lotion.
  • Kiss My Face Organics - they make great lotions. I like their lavender & shea butter, olive & aloe, and Vitamin E scents best.
  • Dr. Bronner's - they make nice soaps and lotions, including a bunch of organic options. They're all nice smelling though I tend to gravitate towards the lavender ones (can you tell???)
Counter & All-Purpose Cleaners

  • Bon Ami - this old standy is environmentally-friendly allpurposecleaners(phosphate and chlorine-free) and will get the job done. Remember, "hasn't scratched yet."
  • BioKleen - this company also offers a full line of eco-friendly cleaners. Their citrus-scented all-purpose cleaner is very concentrated and divine smelling.
  • Citra-Solv - they offer another earth-friendly line of cleaners. This one is great at getting out stains and cutting grease, in particular.
Cutting Boards
  • Bambu - uses organic bamboo to make their products. See my green holiday gift guide for more info on this company.
  • Any plastic or wooden cutting board that is not impregnated with antibacterial agents would be preferable to one that is. You should be able to buy one at your local grocery store or at B,B & E, Ikea, Target, or any of the other big box stores.
More Ways To Green Your Kitchen


Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

This is a great post. Thanks for writing it.

Eve Fox said...

Thanks, Sally. Lots of good ideas coming up! Anything you can do to spread the word would be appreciated.


Mya said...

I'm looking forward to this series! Any ideas for an odor-free indoor composter? My trips outside to the compost pile have been sooo cold lately, and the lid to the bin freezes shut pretty often.

Anonymous said...

Great post - I'd love a follow up on some baby friendly cleansers too (or which of these are infant friendly), if you have some info on it.

I am trying out vinegar on the tiled floors and baking soda (in place of Bon Ami for tub scrubbing), but I just started so I have no feedback yet. Sure smells like Easter though (all that vinegar registers as egg dying... but it may be cause it's that time of year).

For those of you who love Dr Bronners, but the strong smell brings back too many memories of college days (or you find that the peppermint actually brings some tears to the eyes!), you can buy the soap in unscented. I like to cut peppermint or eucalyptus with the unscented soap.

(Some stores carry the unscented version in the "baby" section, not with the rest of the Dr B soaps.)

Also, I find that Dr Bronners clogs up my soap dispenser (no matter what kind I have)... so I cut it with water and it works great (about 70/30?). Still plenty soapy, but no more problems with the dispenser.

Eve Fox said...

hey Anonymous,
great comment! I actually am thinking that I may need to do another posting on natural cleaners at some point and vinegar is definitely high on the list along with baking soda so I'd love to hear about your experience with both things if you're willing to report back.

Baby cleaners are a great idea for the future posting, too.

And thanks for the helpful tip on Dr. Bronners.


where is jenner's mind said...

i linked this posting to my blog. you did such a great job of pulling this info together in one place. thanks!

Eve Fox said...

Thanks so much!

Kate said...

I use Bronners soaps for everything! They make a laundry soap too. Although I am slightly crazy about the lavendar, I am a little bit too in love with the citrus. The sunshine-y-ness of it gives me goosebumps sometimes.