Are you one of the many individuals who have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease? If so, you know that even a small trace of gluten in the food that you’re eating can be a serious issue.

Gluten cross-contamination occurs when foods free from gluten come in contact with foods that contain this protein. Cross-contamination can occur during preparation, consumption, cooking, and storage of food.

Ideally, if you are suffering from gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, it’s best to have a kitchen that is completely free of gluten.

However, it’s not always possible to have an entirely gluten-free kitchen, especially if you’re not the only one using it. Because of this, you should be aware of some of the ways you can avoid gluten cross-contamination in your kitchen.

Here are 8 tips that can aid you in avoiding accidentally ingesting gluten.

1. Designate a Gluten-Free Area

If you share your home or kitchen with someone who is not sensitive to gluten, you need to be vigilant and make sure you have a space in your kitchen that is designated as the gluten-free area.

2. Be Organized

An image of jars organizing dried foods in a pantry

Being organized is very important when storing gluten-free items. Foods with gluten need to be placed separately from gluten-free products in your refrigerator and pantry. Gluten-free foods need to be clearly labeled, as well as the cookware or utensils you’re going to use.

3. Clean Up

Make sure your entire kitchen is cleaned regularly. Ideally, this will be after each time something is prepared, especially if it contains gluten. You need to make sure that all of the surfaces in the kitchen are wiped down thoroughly.

4. Dishwashing

This step is especially important if you’re sensitive to gluten. After use, cookware, utensils and all other appliances need to be washed in a thorough manner. They also need to be dried and stored in its place immediately after washing. Doing so prevents them coming into contact with items that may contain traces of gluten. Don’t place these items below foods that contain gluten, and clearly label the items that you want to be kept free of gluten.

5. Spreadable Containers and Condiment Jars

Image of a jam jar with a spoon in it

Jars containing foods such as jams, nut butter, and condiments are extremely susceptible to cross-contamination. You need to keep these items separate from foods containing gluten. All it takes to ruin your gluten-free foods is a contaminated utensil in a wrong container or jar.

6. Cutting Boards

Cutting boards can be a hotbed for gluten contamination, especially wooden, porous, or textured ones. They might be difficult to clean thoroughly and may hide gluten particles long after they are washed. To avoid this, use and label your own cutting board.

7. Don’t Share a Toaster

It’s an unfortunate fact that if we share a toaster with those who eat normal bread, our carefully selected gluten-free bread will likely become contaminated with gluten. If at all possible, avoid using the same toaster for normal and gluten-free bread. If this is not possible, you can try toasting your gluten-free bread under the grill in your oven.

8. Clean Your Oven

Clean your oven of whatever type of food has been cooked in there. Scrub every part of your oven, particularly its racks. The drawer right under your oven is considered to be a crumb catcher, so make sure to clean it too.

Keep Things Clean!

These are just a few tips for avoiding gluten cross-contamination in your own kitchen. In general, the best thing you can do is to keep things separated and clean to ensure your food is healthy and safe.