Corporate Flight Attendant Community
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Windex and Food: Imperfect Together!
By Matthew C. Keegan
As tempting as it may be to use, Windex or any similar type product can be a hazard to use in the vicinity of food products, particularly cutting boards. If you do not have the proper sanitizer available, a certain “secret” common household item will suffice. Please read on to find out how you can keep your guests safe!
Our web community for business flight attendants can be frequently found discussing proper food handling and food safety tips. One lively discussion a few years back surrounded the proper way of cleaning a cutting board. Might I add that the food preparing area of the typical business jet galley is about the size of a two-by-four? Thus, food can easily get into contact with the wrong products if extra care is not taken.
In the conversation, one of our members remarked that she had cleaned her cutting board with Windex. Well, the ensuing responses to her comment nearly caused an online riot as many of our veteran fliers responded by emphatically stating that products such 409, Fantastik, and Windex can all be harmful if ingested. These and similar products contain high levels of white spirits or similar type toxins, something you never want your guests to come in contact with. These products typically carry warning labels that say something like the following, “Do not ingest even in small quantities. Non-food safe.”
Our beloved and uniformed newbie member was aghast, not at the replies, but at realizing that she had cleaned her cutting boards not once, not twice, but at the very least four or five times using Windex! Although no illnesses were reported because of her error, she quickly amended her cleaning methods from that point forward to use a special sanitizer designed for the safe cleaning of her cutting board. Naturally, all of our members were thankful that she was no longer a potential poisoner of the jet set crowd.
So, just what is that little “secret” common household item that can be used when the proper cleaning agent is no longer available? Actually, there are two: diluted white wine vinegar or . . . vodka! Yes, vodka can be used, but it does have the tendency of altering the taste of subsequent dishes . . . not necessarily a bad thing, but it does leave a residue. The recommendation, of course, is to have white wine vinegar on hand if a sanitizer is not readily available.
Please, please use the previously recommended cleaning agents only on surfaces that do not come into contact with food. You may not kill your guests, but you can certainly make them very ill by using the inappropriate products.