We live in a small home without a dishwasher, and our sink water is intermittent in terms of whether or not it will truly get hot. How should I handle cleaning things like plastic cutting boards and utensils where I've handled raw meats/poultry/etc.? I keep one side of the sink full of soapy water and separate from our other dishes, but it worries me that the sink water never gets (what I would think is) hot enough. Any suggestions?
I second the boiling water. If you have a kettle (stove top or electric), you can pour boiled water as needed into your soapy water to make it hot enough without too much trouble. I don't recommend boiling water in a pot, since it is MUCH easier to pour too much hot water into the soapy water, thus scalding yourself using a pot.
Also, why doesn't your sink water get warm enough? If you heat your own water, I would start looking into ways to make the hot water warmer and make sure the pipes are properly isolated so the water does not loose a lot of heat on the way to your sink (what you need to do varies with the system you have). If you get your warm water from outside (property owner, municipality etc.) I would talk to the people in charge about your problem since it is really, really, really important that hot water is hot to keep bacteria from growing in the pipes. If the water is merely warm, it is a breeding ground for all kinds of nasties. So look into what can be done.
get rid of the plastic cutting boards! ICK
they are the worst to properly clean (they can trap bacteria) and they can ADD plastic to what you are cutting!
go with glass and or wood----I use wood for all fruits and veggies and tempered glass for meats, fish and poultry -
glass is easy to clean and no tiny plastic cutting to add to your food!
as stated, check your heat source and use boiling water if needed
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Friction kills germs at a much higher rate then soap and hot water.
That is why they have a required time for scrubbing hands in hospitals.
Just wash everything well and use a vinegar spray if you are still worried.
100% sanitation does not a healthy environment or body make.
I am not a vegetable. I feed myself accordingly
If you're handwashing anyway, I'd definitely stick with wood over plastic. I use plastic because I can stick it in the dishwasher - I'm too lazy to handwash. If you're not actually cutting down onto the board, glass is a good alternative, but glass dulls knives quickly and it is easy to have the knife slip on the surface.
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after washing, spray with vinegar from one spray bottle then spray with hydrogen peroxide from a seperate spray bottle. rinse. Don't mix the two in one bottle. It's more effective than bleach at killing germs.
Keep separate boards - for fruit/veggies and for meat. Just wash them and forget them. Lack of hot water is not a problem, some germs are going to be left unless you use an autoclave.
Look at the whole picture: do you treat the meat as biohazard? Do you use surgical gloves to cut it and sterilize the cutlery afterwards? Do you scrub your arms up to your elbow and change the clothes, in case a bit of blood splashed there? Do you sterilize the whole area around the counter and the sink?
If not, then there is no reason to single out the cutting boards as biohazard, while everything else is treated normally.
Be consistent - if cutting boards are treated as hazmat, then everything else should be, too.
There is no need for heavy disinfectants in a regular home. Leave those to the hospitals where they belong.
I use a wooden board for everything except meat. I have a glass board for that. I use two different knives. And I always prep meats last. Then clean up. If I think its warranted (meat was extra juice--blood everywhere) I'll wipe down the counters with vinegar.