The days are getting longer, the grass is getting greener, the flowers are beginning to peek above the ground and the birds are chirping, yes, spring has sprung! After what seems like an awfully long winter, my favorite season of the year is upon us. What better time than now to get tackle the infamous Spring Cleaning. Given the unprecedented events of the past year, I bet you, like me, have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen.
Below are some of ftw’s favorite tips for getting your kitchen ready for all those guests that all of us have been eagerly waiting to invite into our homes once again.
Sanitize The Sink
Fill your sink with hot soapy water and pour in 1 cup bleach. Let stand for about an hour, then empty and scrub clean using a paste made from water and baking soda. Rinse well. This freshens the garbage disposal as well.
Scrub the Stovetop
Using a dry cloth try to remove any big debris. If you find yourself in a battle with something really stuck on there, you can attempt to remove it with something firm, yet soft – such as a soft spatula or your fingernails through a rag or paper towel. The biggest thing you’ll want to avoid is anything metal or abrasive that could scratch your glass. Sprinkle baking soda across the glass. Give it a decent coat.
In a large bow or sink, mix up some sudsy hot water with your dish soap. The water shouldn’t be too hot that it burns your hands. Dip the rag or towel into the water and give it a wring. Spread out the cloth directly onto the baking soda. You may have to repeat this step depending on the size of the towel you’re using to make sure you cover the stove top’s entire surface area.
Let the warm, sudsy towel create a steam bath for the baking soda. All you have to do is let it sit and do its magic for 20-30 minutes. Then use that same rag to wipe off the baking soda. Follow that up with a dry wipe. Underneath, you should see a clean, sparkling glass stovetop. Rinse and repeat.
Self Clean the Oven
Use your appliance's self-cleaning function to remove stubborn, baked-on grime. If your oven doesn't have one, place a hot, wet cloth on top of burned spots to help soften the gunk. Then scrub with a sprinkle of baking powder and a heavy duty pad. Rinse and wipe dry.
Wipeout the Microwave
If your microwave has stains and residue buildup, lemons can help give this workhorse kitchen appliance a thorough cleaning. In a bowl, combine one cup of water, one cup of vinegar, and two tablespoons of lemon juice. Place the bowl in the center of an empty microwave and set on high for two minutes. Wipe down with a damp cloth.
Disinfect Your Knife Block
The best way to prevent bacteria growth within your knife block is to thoroughly clean and dry knives before returning to storage, but it's also a good idea to do a more vigorous cleaning once a year. For a deep clean, submerge the knife block in a mixture of one gallon of lukewarm water and one tablespoon of household bleach. Let the wooden block soak in the mixture for two minutes, then turn upside-down onto a dry towel to air dry completely.
Deodorize the Dishwasher
Even appliances that exist to clean other items in your home need their own cleaning from time to time, particularly if you have hard water, which can cause calcium buildup. To give your dishwasher a refresh, dump a couple of cups of white vinegar or in the machine and run a hot cycle. Also, according to Molly Maids, if there’s a funky smell permeating your plates, run a normal cycle with detergent plus two cups of vinegar added to the base. This does more than make the appliance sparkle; it keeps things running smoothly and extends the life of your dishwasher.
Deep Clean Your Coffee Maker
A basic drugstore item can give your dutiful coffee machine a heavy clean. Fill the back of the auto-drip tank with warm water, then drop two denture tablets into the liquid and let them fully dissolve, says Leanne Stapf with The Cleaning Authority. Run the coffee pot through a regular cycle, then repeat the entire cycle using just warm water.
Cleanse the Countertops
Dig out the granite or quartz polish to restore shine and help repel stains on your kitchen surfaces. For daily wipe-downs, use a specialized cleaner. The mild formula cuts grease and removes surface stains without the damaging effects of vinegar or ammonia, and it won’t leave behind a dull film like ordinary dish soap can.
Freshen Up the Fridge
If your fridge is in need of a serious scrub, first unplug. This will help to conserve energy. Keeping the door open while you try to clean stubborn spills will raise the temperature and make your refrigerator work harder to keep your food cold. Take everything out of the refrigerator, toss any expired or spoiled items. Pull out all of your fridge's interior shelving and wash them with warm soapy water. Wipe down the surfaces that can't be removed on the inside with a sponge and a multipurpose cleaner or a homemade vinegar solution, then dry off the interior, paying special attention to the shelf seams and the rubber door seal before putting shelves back in their place.
Clean and replace all of the food. Wipe down all of the bottles, jars, containers and lids and put back while organizing them as you like. Gently wipe down the exterior of your fridge with a damp cloth, then polish with a dry microfiber towel. If you have stainless steel make sure to dry in the direction of the grain to prevent streaking. Use glass cleaner or stainless steel cleaner for extra shine.
Defrost the Freezer
The home cleaning pros at Cleaning Exec shared their speedy, five-step process for defrosting your freezer:
- Unplug your fridge or freezer unit and remove all frozen foods.
- Line the bottom of the freezer with paper towels.
- Fill a bowl or two with boiling hot water and place them on top of the paper towels.
- Close the freezer door. The steam from the bowls will melt the frost. And in case you’re wondering, the paper towels will absorb the wetness.
- Wipe the freezer down with a sponge and some all-purpose cleaner.
- Dry with a soft towel or microfiber cloth.
Cleanse the Cutting Boards
If you think that nasty mark is permanent, you're wrong. Run the cut side of a lemon over the board to help remove food stains and smells. For an extra oomph, sprinkle it with salt or baking soda first.
Tidy Up the Tiles
Marty Hoffman, of Hoffman Brothers Floors, suggests cleaning kitchen tiles with a cleaner that has "neutral pH" on the label. You can also mix baking soda and water for a homemade cleaner: Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into 2 gallons water and mix very well. Then apply the liquid with a string mop or sponge mop. For grout, use the same baking soda and water mixture, but for tough stains, call in the pros.
Dust Door Frames and Kitchen Cabinets
Use disinfecting wipes to clean the tops of door frames, around the knobs, and on kitchen cabinets that have gathered dust and fingerprints. Wipe your switch plates while you're at it since they get a lot of use.
Sanitize Your Mop
Start by rinsing the mop until the water runs clear, instructs Julie Bradshaw from Super Maids, Then, place the mop into a bucket filled with 1-2 gallons of water, followed by a cup of vinegar. After letting it soak for 15 minutes, rinse with water again and air dry.
Bang Out Your Broom
You can get most of the debris from your broom by whacking it against a tree, a wall or a large boulder. Afterward, soak the broom in a bucket loaded with warm, soapy water for 30 minutes. Then rinse it off and dry with a cloth, or place it bristles-up in the shower.
Whew! That is a lot of work, but the payoff of a shiny, clean kitchen makes it worthwhile. Now sit back, put your feet up, listen to the birds sing, watch the grass grow, be amazed by the beauty of the daffodils and relax. You deserve it!
Information gathered from: Goodhousekeeping.com, Oprahmag.com, housebeautiful.com, Lazy Susans Cleaning Service, MarthaStewart.com. Wusthoff, Super Maids, Maids by Trade, Hoffman Brothers Floors, Cleaning Exec, The Cleaning Authority, Homemadesimple.com, and Molly Maid