Even the slightest of contaminants has the potential to change the flavour of your food. Whether it’s a cleaning agent, a foreign body or the remnants of a previous dish, something that shouldn’t be there can ruin your favourite dishes unless you take action.
Fortunately, this isn’t rocket science. As long as you know what to look for and where to find it, you can avoid these food-ruining cleaning errors with relative ease.
1. Not cleaning your barbecue grill after every use
The tiniest bits of charred, carbonised food can significantly change the look and flavour of your food the next time you use your grill. Every time you use your grill, allow it to cool fully, and scrub it thoroughly with some steel wool or a stiff-bristled brush. A little crumpled aluminium foil also works wonders.
2. Cleaning your frying pan in the dishwasher
Believe it or not, using your frying pan regularly improves its performance. The process of “seasoning” creates an invisible layer of oils and various other substances that reduces the likelihood of food sticking. Steel pans darken over time, which is actually a good thing for the cooking process. But by cleaning your pan in the dishwasher, you’re stripping it of this protective layer — which can lead to food being cooked unevenly.
3. Not wiping up spills in your oven straight away
You might not think that a few splashes of chicken fat from last Sunday’s roast will do too much damage to your next meal, but you might be wrong. Small amounts of fat and food left in an oven will bake continuously until they’re removed. They can create odours that might taint the fresh food you cook. The last thing you want to serve your family and friends is beef that smells like last week’s chicken!
4. Not washing your coffee equipment after descaling it
If you’re a coffee enthusiast, there’s a good chance that you regularly descale your cups and coffee makers regularly. Baking soda and vinegar work really well, but they can both leave a nasty taste behind unless you thoroughly wash and rinse afterwards. The next time your morning coffee tastes like toothpaste, don’t just assume it’s because you just brushed your teeth.
5. Using too much detergent in your dishwasher
If you’re washing a particularly large and dirty load of dishes, you might sometimes be tempted to add a little more detergent than usual. However, you should always follow the manufacturer’s dosage instructions. Too much detergent can leave a nasty residue on your plates, dishes and cutlery. And if you’ve ever tasted dishwasher detergent, you’ll know how nasty it can be.
6. Not rinsing bleach and cleaning sprays from your worktops properly
Whilst keeping your kitchen worktops clean and sanitised at all times is a great thing to do, it can lead to some pretty nasty flavours in your food if you aren’t rinsing afterwards. Bleach, sanitisers and multi-purpose sprays not only taste horrible, they can be very dangerous if ingested. Bleach, in particular, is highly toxic, so always keep a separate spray containing just water and white vinegar. Rinse bleach covered worktops with the solution, and wipe dry. Of course, you can bypass the problem altogether by using the Shark Lift-Away 2 in 1 Steam Pocket Mop, which cleans and kills up to 99.9 percent of bacteria at the same time.
7. Letting garlic roam free
If you have ever prepared garlic, you will know how long the smell and flavour can linger on anything it has come into contact with. Whenever you prepare fresh garlic, it’s important to clean everything you used thoroughly by hand. Throwing garlic presses, chopping boards and knives into your dishwasher could taint everything else in it, and lead to garlic smells and flavours in any subsequent dishes you prepare.
With the right tools, planning and schedule, your food should never be adversely affected by your cleaning… or lack thereof!