Maintaining Your House

Spring Cleaning for the Kitchen

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I may be an odd woman, but I don’t like cleaning AT ALL.  I’m not sure how this happened, my mom loved cleaning when we were growing up. Growing up, our home was never cluttered or in disarray. It was guaranteed that you’d never see dirty dishes in the sink, dust an inch thick on the TV, cobwebs on the wall or in corners or dirty baseboards. Honestly, I can’t remember a time that my mom ever said she was too tired to do housework. 

Yes, I know HOW to clean. What I know and what I do are sometimes different!

Spring rolls around and even I,  want to do a deep clean of the house. This year I decided to break down my spring cleaning by room in the house and not to do it all in one day. I started with the kitchen and want to share the ideas I found when reading through articles for cleaning.  

Our kitchen is very neglected, so this is why I chose to start here. I also avoid housecleaning products when I can, because they trigger headaches for me. It’s amazing what baking soda, lemons, vinegar and liquid dish soap can do. Give it a try. 

 

The Kitchen

1. Microwave

I can think of plenty of other cleaning tasks I’d rather do before cleaning the microwave. Let’s face it, kids aren’t likely to wipe it down after each use. There are different variations for this one but I tend to stick to the simplest method.

Take a lemon and cut it in half.

Squeeze the liquid into a microwave safe bowl and drop the rinds in there too. Some people use vinegar with this mixture as well. I don’t always have vinegar on hand so have yet to try it that way.

Place inside the microwave and heat for 3 minutes – you want the water to boil. I then let it sit for an additional 5 minutes. Be careful when removing the bowl – it will be hot! I use a towel or oven mitt.

You then dip the sponge or rag into the mixture and use to wipe clean.

Seriously, I can’t believe it took me so long to try this. It really does save my arm from having to scrub and scrub to get the microwave clean of all the yucky grime .

 

2. Dishwasher

This is one of my favorite kitchen appliances, for sure, because it’s such a time saver. It’s an appliance I also forget to clean. I’m now trying to remember to clean it at least once a month. This has helped with the lingering smell I don’t like, that builds up over time. Don’t be like me and forget the most important first step.

Remove the bottom dish rack.

Look at the drain and remove any food or gunk caught in there. You will be so thankful you did this because the dishwasher will clean more efficiently now.

Place a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher safe container or cup, on the top rack.

Run the dishwasher through a hot-water cycle.

Next, sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher. Again, run a hot water cycle, this well help get rid of that lingering food smell. Ta-dah! You’re done. 

 

3. Stove Top/Oven

There are varying methods that can be used for stove tops. For me, simple is best. I appreciate every day products I have on hand for cleaning.

Grab your baking soda and sprinkle it over the stove top. This can be used on glass top as well.

-Add a couple of drops of liquid dish soap and let sit to create a paste.

-Following this, wet a towel with Dawn liquid soap, wring it out and place on top of the stove top. I had to use 2 towels to cover my stove top. Leave this on for about 15-20 minutes.

Wipe clean with a dry rag/cloth or even a dry scrub brush. 

For maintenance, consider spraying your oven top with vinegar after using it. It cuts down on build-up.

Now for the oven…grab your gloves for this one. As mentioned above, I cannot use harsh chemicals due to headaches. While reading articles, baking soda paste was mentioned quite a bit. I decided to give this a try. Did I mention that I haven’t cleaned the oven since moving in almost 3 years ago!  

Start with emptying the inside of the oven, racks and anything else you may store inside. 

-Make your baking soda paste by mixing a 1/2 cup of baking soda with several tablespoons of water. Know that you may need to adjust the ratio to get the desired consistency. 

-Spread the paste over the entire inside surface of the oven, be sure to avoid the heating elements. Make sure to get into the nooks and crannies. Gross, but necessary. I added extra paste to the areas with the most grease/food build-up.

-Let sit overnight, or 12 hours.   In the meantime, don’t forget to clean the oven racks. This can be done in the sink with vinegar and baking soda. Or try the ammonia method (I don’t do this because of headaches), which I’ve heard is great. Get a large garbage bag and place the ammonia and racks inside. Let sit OUTSIDE.

-After the paste has set for allotted time, it’s time to start wiping all of the gunk out of it. For this, use a damp cloth or brush. For hard to remove build up I used a spatula, as well as to help me reach the hard to reach spots (let’s just say I don’t have the longest arms to work with). 

-Next, put some vinegar in a spray bottle and spray inside. Any baking soda remaining will react to the vinegar and begin to foam. 

-Do a final wipe down with a damp cloth to remove all of the baking soda. You may need to repeat this a few times but the results are worth it. Nothing like a nice, shiny oven. 

Lastly, put the oven racks back in and congratulate yourself for finally cleaning the oven!  

 

4. Refrigerator

I remove food from shelves one at a time. You can do it that way or remove all of it at one time and place in a cooler while you clean. All you need is water, baking soda, dish soap (I use scent-free) and warm water.

Mix 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon of dish soap and about 4-6 cups of warm water.

-Dip your microfiber cloth into the bowl and ring out; wipe down each shelf, drawers and sides of the door until you’re done. That’s it. 

I’ve made it a habit to clean the fridge before I go grocery shopping for the week. I go through condiments every 3 months or so to throw out things that may have expired. 

Favorite Time Saver: Because I have 3 kids ALWAYS in the fridge, I’ve found lining the fridge shelves is the best time saver for me. I don’t mind the few extra bucks to make keeping the fridge clean. You can use Glad Press N Seal or refrigerator pads found in stores or on Amazon. 

 

5. Cabinets

Am I the only one who completely forgets about the cabinets? It never fails I will go weeks without paying attention to these things. All you need is baking soda and coconut oil for this method.

Mix 1 part coconut oil with 2 parts baking soda.

-Then apply the mixture to your cabinets with a cloth, sponge or even your hand.

-For grooves try using an old tooth brush. I couldn’t believe how dirty my cabinets were, but they were shiny after using this method. 

 

Maintaining a Clean Kitchen:

I’ve found the following ideas to be helpful in decreasing the amount of time I have to spend cleaning the kitchen for the week. After a long day at work, shuffling kiddos back and forth to sports and school events, and helping with homework, I just want to relax after dinner. However, letting the dishes pile up and not wiping counters down only makes for more time and work on my cleaning day for the week.

Start with the following 3 ideas, for at least 2 weeks. It will make a difference. It has for me.

Clean as you go – what this means is if you’re in the kitchen and notice some build up on the counter or stove top, just wipe it down right there and then. I’ve applied this to the dining room area as well. 

Do the dishes after every meal! Yes, just do it. This is the only thing that works for me, seriously. If I wait until I’m tired I will say “I’ll do it in the morning before work”. But I wake up and then don’t have time. It takes no longer than 10 minutes when it’s just one day’s worth of dishes to get done.

Set aside 10 minutes every evening to straighten up.

 

Products I use for kitchen cleaning 

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