THE HOUSE CLEANING SERIES TIPS: THE KITCHEN
A clean kitchen is essential to feeling at peace and organized while cooking
Kitchen Cleaning Confidential: Is your Kitchen as clean as you think it is?
Truth be told, your kitchen is likely to harbor more germs than any other room in your house, even your bathroom (think sink, sponges and dish rags). Not a comforting feeling since kitchens seem to be the heart of the home, the gathering place where we eat, talk about our day and even celebrate. All the while, pesky germs and bacteria lurk in plain sight which can actually be unhealthy. Without knowing it, we spread the germs and bacteria which can easily transfer to our food and hands.
A clean kitchen is more than it sounds. Four women around the world were asked what a clean kitchen means to them. Here’s what they said:
Chika in Japan: A dirty kitchen can mean my children might get sick. A kitchen has to be clean.
Ozlem in Turkey: A clean kitchen allows me to stay focused on the recipe at hand. I don’t have to worry about forgetting an ingredient because a dirty kitchen is an unorganized kitchen.
Allison in Kansas: A clean kitchen is essential to feeling at peace and organized while cooking. I feel little stress when preparing meals for my family if I know it’s clean. Michelle in Texas: Any room in the house can be dirty except the kitchen. A clean kitchen means life it in control. It also means safe meals for my family.
Here’s a checklist to help you get the clean and healthy kitchen you deserve.
Scrubbing sponge / soft sponge
Clean cloth (microfiber)
Counter cleaner (disinfecting or type specific to your counter type)
Stainless steel spray
Oven cleaner (for non self-cleaning ovens)
Broom / dustpan / vacuum / mop / mop cleaning solution
Countertops and Tops of Appliances
- Remove everything from your countertops, top of the refrigerator, top of your microwave, stove etc.
- Wipe surfaces, starting with the tallest (think refrigerator, stove hood, microwave, stove top and countertops).
- Top of refrigerator: Use warm, soapy water and clean rag.
- Stove hood and top of microwave: Depending on surface, use warm, soapy water and a clean rag. Check with your manufacturer’s instructions.
- Countertops: Depending on the surface, some stores sell cleaners for specific counter types (granite, marble, etc.). Another option is disinfecting wipes or spray but there is always warm, soapy water and a clean sponge.
- Remove food, shelves and drawers.
- Toss outdated and or spoiled food.
- Clean shelves and drawers in the sink by combining 2 tablespoons of baking soda plus 1 quart of warm water.
- Use a scrubbing sponge for those caked on spills. Make paste of 2 parts baking soda and 1 part warm water. Let sit on spill for 3 minutes. Scrub and rinse.
- Let dry thoroughly.
- Wipe down interior surfaces with warm water and baking soda solution and wipe dry with clean cloth.
- For exterior stainless steel surfaces, spray stainless steel spray into a clean cloth and wipe clean. For other surfaces, use warm soapy water and a clean dry cloth.
- Don’t forget to use a vacuum attachment and clean under and behind your fridge.
- For all stove types, remove removable parts including knobs.
- Soak your grates in hot water and dish liquid. Let sit 5 minutes.
- Scrub grates with scrubbing sponge.
- For dried on food spills, make a paste with 2 parts baking soda and 1 part water. Let sit for a few minutes and lightly scrub with a clean towel.
- Clean your knobs by using warm water and scrubbing sponge. (It is not recommended to soak the knobs).
- Wipe down the stove top with warm water combined with dish liquid. A clean soft sponge will work. Rinse with clean warm water and wipe surface dry with a clean cloth.
- First, remove the racks.
- Place racks in sink with hot water and dish soap. Let stand 5 minutes. Rinse clean. (Use scrubbing sponge if food is baked on).
- For self-cleaning ovens, remove any visible food particles then follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Once complete, and the oven has had time to cool, use a damp cloth to remove ashes and wipe down the interior.
- For textured ovens, wipe down your oven with a damp sponge or clean cloth when it is cool.
- For non self-cleaning ovens, the easiest option is to keep the bottom covered with a layer of foil, making sure to keep vents free. This will catch spills. Change out the foil as you see necessary. When foil is removed and oven is clean, use oven cleaner and a scrub brush or use a mixture of 2 parts baking soda to 1 part water to make a paste. Apply to oven surface, let sit and wipe clean with a damp soft sponge.
- To clean the exterior of the oven, use equal parts white vinegar and water to wipe the surface then go back over with a clean dry cloth.
- Wipe down the microwave and try to remove loose food particles.
- Put ½ cup water and ½ cup white vinegar into a microwave safe bowl. Place bowl in your microwave.
- Set your microwave for 3 to 5 minutes. Open the door to see if the water has started boiling. Once it comes to a boil, shut the door and let the steam release for approximately 5 minutes. Open the door and remove the bowl, careful to remember it will be hot.
- Wipe down the microwave with a dry, clean cloth.
- Remove the turn table and wash in the sink with warm water and dish liquid. Let dry and replace.
- Wipe down the front of the microwave with a clean damp rag.
- Remove dishes from the dishwasher.
- Check to make sure there are no loose utensils or debris in the bottom.
- Place one cup of white vinegar in dishwasher safe bowl or glass on top rack.
- Run a cycle, choosing the highest possible temperature.
- Clean the exterior with a damp cloth and wipe dry.
- Remove everything from the sink.
- If you prefer using bleach, plug the sink drain. Fill your sink half full with warm water. Add a few tablespoons of bleach. Let sit 5 minutes. (This same solution can be used to clean your faucet as well. Use a clean sponge, dip it into the water, and wipe down the faucet).
- Another method is to sprinkle a good amount of baking soda in your empty sink. Wet a clean sponge and scrub in circular motions. (Do not use the abrasive surface of a scrubbing sponge on stainless steel sinks).
- Rinse the sink.
- For most, it’s easier to purchase a new sponge.
- To really clean a sponge and remove the bacteria, Good Housekeeping says to soak a sponge for 5 minutes in a mixture of ¾ cup bleach and 1 gallon of water.
Hand towels and Dish Rags
- Change out your kitchen towels and dish rags every 2 or 3 days, depending on use.
- Wash towels in hot water using your regular laundry detergent plus one cup of white vinegar. Wash on the hot setting. This will sanitize your towels and remove odors.
- If your brush has a plastic handle, place in your dishwasher on the top rack and wash with your dishes.
- If you don’t have a dishwasher, make sure to remove food particles from the brush. Place bristle side down in a cup or bowl with a solution of 1 gallon of water and ¾ cup bleach. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Start by cleaning your floor with a broom and dustpan or vacuum.
- For laminate or tile floors, mop your floor with floor cleaner and water or use pre-moistened cleaning pads for your floor type.
- For wood floors, refer to your manufacturer’s instructions. Some say to spray wood floor cleaner on a dry, clean floor pad and mop your floor.
- For carpet, treat any stains with commercial stain cleaner and vacuum.
- For non-painted backsplashes (think tile, laminate, granite), dampen a clean sponge with warm water and dish detergent. Wipe the surface and go back over it with a clean dry cloth.
- For painted surfaces, dampen a clean cloth with water and blot the stain.
Follow this checklist to whip your hardest working room back into shape. A clean kitchen is a healthy kitchen and one your family and friends will thank you for.
— Amanda Pokorny