“Food may not be the answer to world peace, but it’s a start.” This brilliant gem comes from the late, great Anthony Bourdain – one of the most famous culinary explorers to have ever scoured the world in search of interesting kitchen experiences.
Food holds immense power. It has the ability to put a smile on our faces or make us sick; improve our mood or completely ruin our day.
You don’t need to be a connoisseur to realise what an important role food plays in our lives. Almost every major life development is accompanied by some sort of celebration. And there is no celebration without food.
This makes the kitchen one of the most important rooms in the house. It’s where we keep raw ingredients, where we cook for ourselves and our families, and where the magic happens before meals are ready to be served. Kitchen conditions are essential for our health.
Poor kitchen hygiene may lead to a series of undesired effects: from unpleasant odours affecting the quality of your meals, to gastrointestinal infections. Hence, it’s essential to keep the kitchen in pristine condition. Kitchen cleaning is and should be a top priority. Especially now that spring cleaning is here.
In this article, we’ll help you learn how to spring clean your kitchen and keep it ready for those delicious meals. We’ll show you how to keep the magic alive and ensure your culinary endeavours don’t suffer due to poor kitchen management. Coming up next:
“Oh, come on,” I can hear you exclaim. “It’s just cleaning. I don’t need any special preparation!” Ah, quite the contrary, my good reader. Especially if you’re looking for a healthier, more natural approach to cleaning, you do need preparation. But don’t worry, it’s nothing quite as extreme as you may imagine.
Here’s what you need for a natural, environmentally-friendly way to clean your kitchen:
If all else fails, feel free to use whatever all-purpose cleaner you have at hand. However, bear in mind mixing certain chemicals can lead to adverse reactions and damage your health. In case you need any help at home, you can always call in the cavalry.
With preparation out of the way, let’s move on to the good stuff.
Lemons contain citric acid. It’s the reason for their sour taste, but also why they’re great for cleaning. You can cut a fresh lemon in half and use one half to clean your faucets.
Generously apply the lemon to problem areas and let it sit for a while. The citric acid will take care of those water stains like they were never there.
Wipe your faucets afterward and they’ll be good as new. Plus, there will be a natural lemon scent lingering in the air for a while, which is always a nice bonus.
Note: If you’re out of lemon, you can use lemon juice. White vinegar works just as well yet doesn’t have the same fresh scent. If freshness is important to you, make sure you have a lemon at hand. You’ll also need it for the next bit.
We all hate the unbearable fish odour that loiters in the microwave after a pleasant fish meal. There’s a reason we put lemon slices on fish dishes – it helps to neutralise the smell.
You can apply the same principle in your microwave. Whether it’s fish or other unpleasant odours, they’re easy to combat without using chemicals.
Here’s what you do:
The vapours should have loosened the dirt and grime, making it child’s play to remove. If it hasn’t, repeat the process one more time and make sure you’re bringing the water to a boil.
Using this method is about as dull and boring as a white crayon, but it’s eco-friendly and works like a charm. Wet your sink and gently sprinkle baking soda across its surface. The soda will start to dissolve, so let it sit for a minute. Once it’s done, simply wipe off the mixture with a sponge and rinse.
If you’re not happy with the results and need a more heavy-duty cleaning solution, mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of white vinegar and apply the resulting paste to your sink. Then wipe it off and rinse. Note: While this is a great cleaning solution, bear in mind it doesn’t disinfect surfaces. White vinegar has excellent disinfectant properties on its own because it contains acetic acid.
However, baking soda is a base, which neutralises the acid. If you want to disinfect the sink, mix 1:1 white vinegar and lemon juice in a spray bottle and apply it. Studies show this mixture reduces pathogens to undetectable levels. If you’re looking for a way to kill germs, this is it. Side note: There is no evidence this mixture is strong enough to kill viruses. If that’s what you’re after, you may need to look at stronger disinfectants or even book a professional antiviral sanitisation service.
You can easily clean your oven using an oven cleaner or an all-purpose cleaner. However, if you want to use a more natural approach, you can substitute the cleaner with baking soda and white vinegar. Here’s how.
Note: Make sure your oven is empty and cool before the next step.
Open your oven and take out the oven racks. Afterward, remove as much food residue as you can with a rag or a recycled paper towel. This will make the next part a bit easier.
Next, mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with water until it forms a paste. Apply the resulting paste to the interior of the oven. Don’t spare the glass door, sides, or bottom. The only part you should avoid is the heating or gas elements.
Let it sit for at least two hours. If you want better results and have the patience for it, you can leave the mixture to do its magic overnight, but two hours is the bare minimum.
In the meantime, soak the racks in hot water and 1/2 cup of dish soap. Again, two hours is the bare minimum, but it would work better if you leave it overnight.
Once you decide enough time has passed, create a 1:1 solution of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray across your oven’s interior while again avoiding the heat or gas elements.
The ensuing chemical reaction between the white vinegar and baking soda will further loosen any stubborn grime and make it child’s play to remove.
All you have to do now is wait for another 15 minutes and then wipe everything off with a damp cloth (while again, you guessed it – avoid the heating or gas elements).
If you’re not happy with how the glass looks, spray it again and wipe it with a microfiber towel. This should do the trick.
No kitchen cleaning is complete without cleaning the fridge, but that comes with its own set of problems. Since you keep most of your perishables inside, you’ll have to make some arrangements before you begin cleaning it.
If you want to deep clean the fridge, you’ll have to remove all the food from the inside and turn it off. This means you need to have a large cool box at hand or you’ll have to throw a ton of food away.
Note: If you don’t have a cool box, you can work shelf by shelf, though it’s not as effective.
Throw out everything that’s “past its prime” or is past its expiration date. Place everything else in the cool box and proceed with the cleaning.
Remove all the shelves and drawers, and wash them in the kitchen sink. If the sink is not big enough, spray them with the vinegar/water solution you used for the oven and give them a thorough wipe.
Next, spray the inside of the fridge with the same solution and let it sit for a few minutes. Make sure you’re thorough – you’re not deep cleaning the fridge every day, after all.
Once the solution has worked its magic, it’s time for some elbow grease. Scrub the inside of the fridge with a sponge, rag, or microfiber cloth. The muck and grime should be easy to remove once they’ve had a close encounter with the vinegar.
When you’re done cleaning the fridge on the inside, put back the shelves and drawers and switch it on so it can begin cooling. At this point, the impulse to put all the food items back in their place is going to strike you. Resist it.
What’s the point of deep cleaning the fridge if you’re going to place all the dirty items back in? Cleaning all the jars, bottles, and food containers is the most tedious part of fridge cleaning, but it’s necessary.
Finally, organize your food items into your freshly cleaned fridge and close the door. All you have left is to clean it on the outside, which should be a piece of cake after everything you’ve had to deal with up until this point. Once again, spray the outside of the fridge with the vinegar/water solution, let it sit there for a minute, and get busy scrubbing.
Like the fridge, kitchen cupboards draw the short straw in terms of being used. When it comes to cleaning them, they also present a similar problem. Since you keep food inside, you’ll have to find a place to store the food while the cleaning takes place.
The good news is you have a lot more freedom since you don’t need extra refrigeration. If you have a large countertop or a large table, it will do the trick.
Once again, remove all items from inside the cabinets. Check the expiration date on each one and throw away those who might pose a health hazard.
Next, determine what type of cabinet you have. Depending on the type, you will use a slightly different approach.
For example, wood is very sensitive to moisture, so never use a wet cloth to clean wood. Too much moisture will damage it.
Cleaning painted cabinets with white vinegar is a no-go. White vinegar can damage the paint, so best avoid it.
The best thing you can do is to figure out the material of your cabinets and use a specific cleaner for that material. Alternatively, you can try using an all-purpose cleaner (they’re generally safe but this option is still riskier).
Finally, use a solution of 1:2 solution of baking soda and water. That’s two parts water, one part baking soda. Gently dab a dry cloth into the mixture and apply it to an out-of-sight area to see how it affects your cupboard. Testing an out-of-sight area mitigates any potential risks. If the cupboard gets damaged, it won’t be obvious.
The risk is small, but depending on the cupboard material, it does exist. It’s best to be on the safe side. If all is well, apply the solution to the stubborn stains and let it sit for a minute or two. Then wipe it off with a damp (not wet!) cloth.
Be particularly mindful of oil stains and fingerprints. They can be tricky to remove on the first go, so repeat the process if necessary.
Spring cleaning the kitchen isn’t always easy but it’s necessary. As one of the most important rooms in the house, you want to pay close attention to what goes on in there and make sure your food is kept in a clean and safe environment. None of this can happen without proper kitchen cleaning. The good news is spring cleaning only comes once a year. And if you need a deep clean in the meantime, you know how to find us.
Hi, I’m Atanas - brand consultant and writer. I’m helping Samyx Cleaning create the best cleaning company blog on the Internet. Join us on our journey and learn how to live a cleaner, healthier, happier life in the process.