It is said that the heart of the home is the kitchen. Not only do you spend time cooking and sometimes eating there, but many families gather in the kitchen just in general. It is not only easier to cook in your kitchen when it is clean but it is healthier for your family too. When you spend so much time in a certain area in your home, it is important to keep it as clean as possible and to take steps to keep it clean. Here are some useful tips.
The best place to start is with the appliances.
Cleaning Your Dishwasher
- Clean from the bottom to the top – Remove the bottom rack from your dishwasher. Using an all-purpose household cleaner or a solution made from vinegar and water, spray the bottom of the dishwasher liberally. Let it sit for a few minutes before scrubbing with a sponge. For the corners and other tight areas, an old toothbrush is most useful.
- Examine the sprayers – Make sure the sprayers are not clogged. If they are, use a toothpick to clean them out.
- Check the filter – Some dishwashers have a small vent or filter in the door. Using a screwdriver, remove it. Scrub this area with the cleaner and toothbrush and rinse it well. Reinstall the filter or vent.
- Spray it down – Spray the entire interior with your clean and wipe it down.
- Wash thoroughly – Pour two quarts of vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher. With the dishwasher on the hottest setting, start the cycle. After the washer has gotten hot and wet, stop the cycle and allow it soak for an hour or so. Turn the dishwasher back on and let it finish cleaning the dishwasher of all its grime.
- Repeat – For best results, repeat this process every four to six weeks.
Cleaning Your Microwave
- Fill a microwave-safe bowl with a solution of vinegar and water. To help remove odors, add the juice of one lemon to the solution.
- Place a damp cloth in the microwave and put the bowl with the mixture solution on it.
- On regular setting, heat the bowl until it boils. This takes about four minutes in most microwaves.
- Let the solution sit, without opening the door, for an additional five minutes or so.
- Carefully remove the bowl and cloth. (Use caution – they will be hot!)
- Using a non-abrasive sponge, wipe down the microwave to remove all of the stuck-on food and grime.
- Repeat this as needed or at least once a month.
Cleaning Your Waste Disposal
To clean the grease from the blades and remove left over food, make a solution of baking soda and vinegar and pour down the disposal until it bubbles. Allow it to set about ten minutes. Rinse with hot water. To sharpen the blades, drop a few ice cubes in the disposal and turn on to grind. Rinse again. Lastly, to leave the disposal smelling extra fresh, grind a few lemon wedges in the disposal. To keep your disposal clean and fresh smelling, repeat the process once a week.
Cleaning Your Refrigerator and Freezer
- Remove all food from the fridge and sort each item. Discard all items that are out of date or spoiled.
- Remove the drawers from the refrigerator and clean them completely and dry them.
- You can clean the unit with a commercial cleaner or a solution made of baking soda and water. Spray the solution or cleaner in the fridge and wipe down all surfaces. Make sure to get in the hard to clean areas on the door.
- After you have cleaned all areas, wipe dry with a lint-free cloth.
- Place a box of baking soda in the fridge to absorb odors. Replace the box every few weeks.
- Remove left overs every couple of days and wipe out the fridge as space allows. Repeat the removal and clean out of fridge about every six weeks.
- Make sure the entire unit has been unplugged. Remove everything from the freezer. Discard any expired items, freezer burned items or containers that are almost empty. Store other items in a cooler until you can place them back in the freezer.
- Using either a commercial cleaner or a homemade solution of dish soap, water and vinegar, spray the entire freezer. Wipe until all surfaces are clean and wipe with a clean wet rag.
- Dry the freezer with paper towels. Plug the freezer back in and let it cool off a little before putting items back in the freezer.
To ensure that your refrigerator works as best as it can, use your vacuum cleaner to clean the coils underneath and behind your refrigerator. (Make sure the unit is unplugged when you do this! Better safe than sorry.)
Cleaning Your Stainless Steel Appliances
Your stainless steel appliances will look their best when they are clean and shiny. You can use a stainless steel spray that is recommended by the appliance manufacturer, a solution of dish detergent and water, or waterless hand soap to add the shine to the surfaces. Always use a lint-free cloth to polish.To remove water spots from a stainless steel appliance, rub it with a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol.
After you finish with the appliances, it is time to move on to the rest of the kitchen.
Cleaning Your Cabinets
Always refer to your cabinet makers when choosing a product to clean your product. Some products are made for all wood cabinets while others are great for laminate surfaces. For a mild solution that you can use on most all cabinets, mix dish detergent with warm water. Spray the solution on your cabinets and wipe clean. If any greasy residue remains, make a paste of baking soda and water and let sit for a while. Wipe clean. Dry with a lint-free cloth.
Cleaning Your Countertops
For General Cleaning:
- Remove all items from the surface of your countertops.
- Using a mild dish washing detergent solution, wipe down all countertop surfaces. Ensure to wipe under the lip of the countertop and the back splash.
- Use a credit card to scrap stubborn stuck on gunk.
- Wipe with a clean wet rag. Dry with a lint-free cloth.
For Stone Countertop Cleaning:
- Make sure that your stone has been properly sealed before you wash it.
- Use a mild detergent and wash with wet rag.
- Do not scrub or use abrasive products.
- Rinse with clean wet rag and dry with lint-free cloth.
Cleaning Your Wall Surfaces
For wall painted with water-based paints, use a wet cloth to clean the walls. For oil-based painted walls, use a wet rag dipped in a solution of dishwashing soap and water; then rinse with water.
Cleaning Your Floors
For tile floors, a mixture of baking soda and water makes a great homemade cleaner. For deeper cleaning, use a commercial cleaner that is recommended for your type of tile.
To add shine to wood floors, mix vinegar in warm water and wipe floors. Use caution not to scrub too hard and ruin the finish of your flooring.
Getting to the Finish Line
After you have done the heavy cleaning, here are the last few steps to a clean kitchen:
- Sweep and mop all floors if needed.
- Put everything back in its proper place. This includes all cleaning supplies and small appliances.
- Take out the trash and replace the bag. Make sure the trash can has been wiped clean.
It is important to stay on top of things to keep everything as clean as possible. Here is a tentative schedule to help you stay on top of everything.
- Wipe down the sink and load dishwasher.
- Wipe down stove top and countertops.
- Sweep floors.
- Mop floors.
- Wipe cabinets and appliances.
- Wipe garbage can.
- Remove old food from fridge.
- Empty and clean refrigerator and freezer.
- Empty and clean utensil and junk drawers.
- Scrub down the cabinet exteriors.
- Clean stove hood.
The key to a clean kitchen is staying on top of it. Once you have completed a deep cleaning, as long as you clean as you go and stay on top of the heavier items as they come up, the task doesn’t have to be daunting.