Two months ago, Timo from Crazy Chinese Family blogged about his mom in law’s kitchen rag. While reading his post, all the emotions about my Chinese mom’s Chucky the murder rag hideous rag which were deeply buried inside me came up again. Therefore I decided to deviate a little from my plans I had for my blog and do a little special on it too. And thank you Timo, years of therapy are wasted now!

When we visited her today, I took the opportunity to take a photo of her current victim: a grey kitchen cloth. Just before I took the photo, she used it to clean fish guts off the table.

A grey kitchen rag
The grey kitchen rag, moments before it is used to clean dirty dishes

Never have I seen any household article which is so suitable for such a wide variety of uses: a plain kitchen rag in a Chinese kitchen. While one uninformed Austrian girl like me might think, that they can be only used for wiping the working surface in the kitchen to free it from dirt and leftovers, it is actually a rainbow pooping unicorn in China. My Chinese parents actually use it for so much more:

  • You can actually clean anything in the kitchen with it: the work space, the sink, the floor, any kitchen equipment, any dishes, knives, dirty plates, pans, your hands…
  • You can practically use it anywhere where food is involved: clean the table before you eat, after you eat, clean fish guts off the table, clean your own face with it, clean your grandchildren’s faces when they are dirty, cover rising dough with it, cut meat – clean knife with it – cut another ingredient…
  • Spread it over the kitchen utensils you just washed with it and let it dry. When it is dry, you can dry anything with it: the work space, your hands, kitchenware you have just washed before…

And what is the best of all of it? You can use it every day for anything and it does not need to be washed. Ever! If it has dissipated completely after a year or so, you can just get a new one.

(Sarcasm end!) The time I lived together with them, the kitchen rag was my personal nightmare. I felt germs spreading all over my hand every time I accidentally touched it. Every week I washed it with the towels and dish cloths secretly so I could stand it a little more. Every time I touched it with my pointer finger and thumb to put it in the washing machine, I was urged to wash my hands really thoroughly afterwards. By the way, I was always scolded by my Chinese dad that I washed the towels and dish cloths (he did not know about the kitchen rag) we used for a week every week, but that is another story.

Have you also encountered your own personal nightmare in someone’s kitchen? Or am I just too much of a neat freak and overreacting here?

A method to strengthen your immune system from early on

6 thoughts on “A method to strengthen your immune system from early on

  • July 27, 2015 at 18:55

    No you are not overreacting…Once my mother-in-law left I threw away asap all the kitchen rags she has been mistreating (yes plural as more often than not she picked out the ones I had thrown away before!). Now we have new rags with each one having its own purpose + getting washed at least ones a week. The kitchen feels so much cleaner now with MIL and the rags gone 🙂

    • July 27, 2015 at 20:23

      I just told my mom about the rag. And you know what she answered? That she understands us perfectly well. Looks like her mom in Austria even topped it with her kitchen rag. She never even dried it and stored it in a glass of water next to the kitchen sink. And it stunk really bad. And when she visited her after she moved she always brought her own new one to use it at my granny’s place 😀

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  • March 11, 2016 at 17:51

    Haha you’re not overreacting! After studying abroad in Shanghai spring 2014, I went to visit my friends again that Christmas break and we had this get together at one their houses. Because they treated me to such a good dinner, I opted to take care of the dishes for them. They too had that rag, and dirty sponge. As I was cleaning I was using soap to “wash” the rag in the sink. After that I realized why my immune system was much stronger than my friends back at home in the US( they got stomach problems like crazy while I was fine after eating the same meal). I realized it was because during my study abroad experience there may have been other of these “immune-building kitchen rags” used in the canteens and small restaurants. Haha!

    • March 11, 2016 at 19:07

      I’ve had countless gastro-intestinal diseases the first year we went out, it was horrible. But after so many years I’ve got the feeling that I can eat ANYTHING, no matter how dirty it is, my stomach can probably kill anything.


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