The kitchen is by far one of the more dangerous rooms in your house. There are plenty of different accident scenarios just waiting to happen.
You could slip and fall on spilled liquid and hit your head. You could badly cut yourself while chopping vegetables. Or you could even start a fire that spreads to the rest of your house.
This doesn’t mean you should hang up your apron and order carry-out for the rest of your life. Instead, there are several kitchen safety rules to remember when cooking to help prevent accidents.
Keep reading to learn the top rules to keep you and your food safe.
1. Dress for Safety
The first rule of kitchen safety starts before you even enter the kitchen. Before you can begin to cook, you need to dress appropriately. While it may seem silly to adjust your outfit just to cook dinner, it’s important in preventing accidents.
Start by removing any baggy clothing you may be wearing. Long sleeves or a flowing dress can easily catch on fire when you’re standing over a stove. Or if you’re wearing pants that are too big, you could easily trip over the long pant legs.
Speaking of tripping, make it a rule that shoes are to always be worn in the kitchen. Shoes will help prevent someone from slipping on spilled liquids. In addition, shoes can protect your feet from any items that may drop off your counters, from canned goods to a sharp knife.
Lastly, if you have long hair make sure to tie it back away from your face. Not only can hair catch fire like baggy clothes, but it can also block your view when dealing with sharp or hot items.
2. Always Wash Your Hands Before Starting
Another rule that begins before you start actually cooking is to always wash your hands. Hand washing is essential when it comes to serving germ-free food.
A quick simple dip under hot water won’t cut it. Instead, follow these steps to ensure your food is safe to eat:
- Wet your hands with hot water then apply soap
- Lather the soap into your hands and scrub for 20 seconds
- Rinse the soap off under hot water
- Dry your hands with a clean towel or air dry
It’s recommended you wash your hands before, during, and after food prep.
3. Prevent Burns
Burns are one of the more common kitchen injuries that can occur.
When cooking with hot pots or pans, always make sure to use a potholder or oven mitt. You need this extra layer of protection between you and the hot object.
In addition, always be aware of what appliances in your kitchen are hot. You don’t want to accidentally rest your hand on a hot stove burner that you thought was off. Make sure you turn off all appliances immediately after use to prevent accidents.
This is also an important step in kitchen safety for kids. When you have children in the kitchen, always make sure they’re aware of what is hot and that they shouldn’t be near the stove or oven. Instead, give them a simple job to help like washing produce.
4. Practice Knife Safety
A lot of kitchen safety revolves around knife safety. These tools are frequently used in the kitchen but can be very dangerous if you don’t know how to properly handle them.
When using a knife, you always want to slice away from your hand, body, and anyone else in the kitchen. Instead, slice towards an empty area in case the knife slips. If you’re using your hand to keep food still while cutting, curl your fingers on top of the food so that your knuckles are closest to the blade.
Keep in mind that accidents are more likely to occur when you’re using a dull knife. Keep your knife blades sharp to make cutting as easy as possible.
5. Know Your Meat Temperatures
One of the most neglected cooking safety tips is knowing your proper meat temperatures. Serving meat that is undercooked means you may be serving harmful bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli.
Instead of judging your meat temperature by sight, you should always use a leave in meat thermometer.
The minimum meat temperatures to serve are:
- Poultry — 165 degrees F
- Steak, pork, and fish — 145 degrees F
- Ground meat — 160 degrees F
6. Be Prepared for Fires
While no one wants or expects a kitchen fire to occur, they do happen. In fact, kitchen fires are the leading cause of house fires. So instead of panicking and letting the fire spread to the rest of your house, you should prepare yourself for the possibility of fire now.
Your kitchen should always be equipped with a working fire extinguisher. Read the instructions of your fire extinguisher as soon as you purchase it so you know how to use it in the event of a fire. Make sure that everyone who uses the kitchen knows where to find the extinguisher.
Also, make sure your smoke alarms are working in and around the kitchen. Fires can occur even if you step away while something is baking in the oven. You want to be made aware of the fire as soon as possible with the help of an alarm.
Don’t Forget These Kitchen Safety Rules
Using these kitchen safety rules is an easy way to protect you and your family.
Make sure that you teach these rules to anyone that may end up working in your kitchen, including children. The earlier someone starts practicing these rules, the easier they become to follow.
Now that you’re aware of the top kitchen safety rules, it’s time to start cooking! Not sure which meal you should create first? Head to the Food section of this site for a wide variety of delicious recipes to try.