I have a house guest incoming that has celiacs and I know that it means they can't eat gluten. But does that mean that I need to yank everything that has wheat out of my kitchen for the duration? I need to know if this something that gets set off just by looking at wheat or if it's tolerable in small quantities.

  • 12
    As someone with food allergies (not celiac, though I've cooked for people with celiac), I'd suggest asking the guest what they need -- if this is at all possible. They can tell you what you should do to help keep them comfortable.
    – bstpierre
    Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 3:13
  • I see you have tagged this allergy. Technically speaking, celiac disease is not an allergy, it's an autoimmune disorder. But for a celiac person, it is often easier to describe it as an allergy to others if you don't have time to go in-depth with all the details...
    – awe
    Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 12:37

4 Answers 4


I am celiac. Ideally you should clean your entire kitchen, clean out your silverware and utensil drawers and wash all utensils in the dishwasher. Wipe all surfaces and sinks with bleach wipes. Scrub all pots and pans, to remove gluten films then wash in dishwasher. give all dishes to be used a run through the dishwasher.

Off limit items are seasoned pans (cast iron, or porcelain), earthenware, pasta pots, strainers, toasters, cooking stones, wood spoons or utensils, cutting boards, blenders and crockpots.

To avoid contamination use fresh mayonnaise, mustard, peanut butter jars, etc.
Do not use any ingredients such as sugar that may have been contaminated with flour from use while baking.

Because you are not familiar with ingredients that contain gluten, use only pure ingredients if you are cooking for your celiac guest.

Avoid spice blends.

Also see: Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients)

  • 6
    in short trace amounts of gluten can harm your celiac friend. if your to handle gluten products while your guest is in your home, keep these items in a separate area of the kitchen, remove residue or crumbs, and wash hands well and often.
    – julie
    Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 1:52
  • @julie Good answer. You comment looks like an additional point. If you want, you can click 'edit' at the bottom of your answer and update it directly. There's no limit to how many times you can edit your answer.
    – Ocaasi
    Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 4:04
  • Thanks julie, I guess I'm just going gluten free for week. At least I'll get to try some those gluten free recipes I have :) Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 4:23
  • 2
    I wouldn't say you need to clean out the entire kitchen. If you already have normallly clean utensils in your cupboards and drawers, they are probably clean enough (unless you tend to keep your bread-knife in the knife holder without washing it between usage and such things). Normal household cleaning is good enough - you don't have to have it sterile.
    – awe
    Commented Sep 3, 2012 at 10:41
  • adding to Julie's comment, it was explained to me that the harm being done even asymptomatically by trace amounts, cause cumulative irreparable damage to the gut. Worth taking every precaution!
    – Pat Sommer
    Commented Sep 6, 2012 at 21:43

For most celiacs, it is any trace of gluten. That means that you don't want something to touch gluten and then touch the food a celiac will eat (example: a butter knife used on toast and then double dipped back into the butter will contaminate the butter). My gluten-free friends have suggested that they are better judges of ingredients, as well, as gluten hides stealthily in things like chicken broth injected into inexpensive chicken brands.

You can probably keep your gluten products in the kitchen, just make sure when making gluten-free food that everything is clean.


Apart from the official recommendations (20 PPM), this is also individual. You should hear with your guest what applies for this person. Some needs a very strict clean environment, while others tolerate some minor contamination.

Clean cooking

Normally, you don't need to remove everything with gluten from your kitchen, as long as you keep products with gluten separate from the gluten-free products you plan to use in your gluten-free cooking. You should also not bake anything with flour when having gluten-free products in the open. After baking/cooking with gluten contained products, you need to be thorough in cleaning up in the kitchen afterwards. It would be best not to bake anything with flour when you friend is in the house, because flour dust will float around in the air. But just having the flour packed away in a cupboard or drawer will normally not be a problem.

Practical tips

Bread meals can be a challenge, but as long as you keep some basic rules, this will go smooth. To be sure nothing you serve to your guest have been contaminated, you should buy new food to be sure butter, spreads, meats, jam etc. are clean. You can put out a mug with some clean knives and spoons that you can use to take from the jar/box, and lay it on the side of your plate before applying with your own knife on the bread.


I beleive the Celiac Foundation's definition for "Gluten-free" is having less than 0.06 parts per BILLION of gluten. Yes, I'm serious. For example, just removing the coutons that have already been added to a salad won't do the trick. You have to never have put the coutons in the salad to begin with. (this comes from experience at a restaurant that supposedly knew what gluten-free meant).


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