It’s that time of year again, warm weather and fresh starts are upon us. Also time to use some elbow grease and do some of the chores we tend to put off over the winter. This is a little off brand for me, however, you can’t cook without a kitchen so it’s all relative I suppose. A clean and organized kitchen makes cooking a lot more enjoyable and maintainable. Here’s my list of spring cleaning kitchen must dos as well as some tried and true home made cleaning solutions I like to use.
- Counters and backsplash
- Toaster, coffee pot, and other counter top appliances
- Stove vents
Other possible chores
- Glasses, dishes and cutlery
- Spice rack
- Garbage disposal
Ok now I know that looks like a lot. You do not need to do all of this, only what pertains to you and the current state of your kitchen. Let’s dive in, I promise your kitchen will be sparkling clean in no time.
Not going to lie, I hate cleaning the oven, or I should say I hated cleaning the oven. With the new solution I found the grime comes off pretty easily. The best part, no harsh chemicals or airing out the house/self cleaning oven mode needed. My oven was in rough shape so much so I didn’t even take a proper “before” picture until the solution was on, however you can still see what a big difference it made.
Oven cleaning solution:
1 tbl dish soap
Mix all of the ingredients above together in a medium size bowl, this is going to expand a little bit from the reaction of your baking soda and water. You’re looking for a paste consistency and once that’s reached it’s time to start. With an old dish sponge or cleaning sponge wipe down the entire oven. Take the oven racks out and use the solution on those as well. Now let the oven cleaning solution sit in your oven for 30 minutes. When your time is up, using a clean sponge or towel wipe down the entire oven with warm water. You may need to repeat wiping down your oven a few times until it is residue free. Rinse your oven racks in the sink and put back in. That’s it! A nice clean oven with a lot less scrubbing.
With the 30 minutes you have to wait for your oven to clean why not use this solution in other areas of your kitchen? With any extra solution wipe down your microwave and take the microwave glass plate out to wipe down as well. Next wipe down your sink, faucet and handles. Chances are your microwave and sink aren’t as tough to clean as your oven so let the solution sit only 10 minutes or so and wipe clean with warm water. This solution also works for flat glass stove tops. And just like that 3 of 10 tasks are done!
Refrigerator and Freezer
I do a good clean out of my inventory a few times a year but honestly a lot of the condiments and door items get overlooked. So first start by emptying out the contents of your fridge, side note don’t take on cleaning the fridge and freezer after a big grocery trip, wait until things are sparse then clean before you shop. Now a few general rules, anything leaking, smelly, or you can’t remember how old it is just toss immediately. Now start to check dates on all condiments, salad dressings, marinades and sauces. Anything expired, toss. Any shelving that’s easily removable, take out and wipe down with warm soapy water. If you can’t remove your shelves a bowl of warm soapy water or spray bottle will work. Wipe out all drawers the same way, as well as door shelves. I like to take my door shelves off, take them apart and wash them in my sink. However if yours are not easy to remove or take apart, simply wiping them down will do. Repeat this same method with your freezer, but working much quicker with the wipe down process as the soapy water can freeze easily when working. I suggest a small amount of soapy water on a sponge in one hand and a dry cloth in the other to work quickly wiping as you go. Restore all your goodies to your fridge and freezer knowing anything you pull out is ready for eating. For any extra tough spots or stains use the abrasive side on your sponge. Now is also a good time to wipe down the front, sides and handles of your fridge and freezer, as well as dusting off the top. Reorganize any magnets you have hung up, and be sure take down any old coupons or spelling tests you’ve hung up.
Counter tops, cabinets and backsplash
Cabinet doors I find to be the most time consuming. You also do not want to use anything too harsh that could harm the finish on your cabinets. I use a 50/50 mixture of warm water and white vinegar. Then using a spray bottle or soft cloth wipe down each cabinet, this works great on any dried water marks, or little finger prints. For grease or grime built up on your cabinets add a squirt of dish soap and let the solution sit for a minute before wiping clean. I like to use this solution as well to wipe down all counter top surfaces and backsplashes. It’s good also to wipe down your toaster, coffee pot, stand mixer or any other appliances you have on your counter tops. Just be sure to keep the solution warm as you go for best results.
Any large appliances easy for you to move out, do so. Oven, refrigerator, etc. Then be sure to clean out and vacuum good underneath for any crumbs, hot wheels, magnets, or lost cat toys. Just to name a few of the items we found under our oven. Now to mop I use the same solution as above except make the water HOT. So 50/50 white vinegar and hot water. Use a push mop with a refillable solution bottle, spraying the solution you just made as you go.
Chances are they are gross, especially if you do a lot of cooking on your stove top. This is an important one to clean more than just in the spring. What’s getting caught up in your vents is also directly above whatever you are cooking. So let that sink in a bit and you’ll be more aware of how often you should be checking on them to see if they need to be cleaned. You can just pop these out and scrub them in your sink with hot soapy water and that will work just fine. However if you have a little bit of extra time I suggest letting them take a hot bath. Take out your biggest pot, also known as your spaghetti pot, that super tall guy probably in the back of the cabinet you don’t use too often. Now depending on the size of your filters fill your pot half to three quarters of the way full and bring to a rolling boil on the stove top. Once boiling add a tablespoon of baking soda slowly, as it will start to fizz and you don’t want it to fizz over. Next using a pair of tongs, slowly lower your filter into the pot, you will see the grease start to melt away. I only left mine in for about a minute each, cleaning only one filter at a time. If your filters are larger you may have to flip them over and clean one side one minute and the other another. Everyone’s oven vents are different so do what works best for the shape and size of yours.
Now that our top 10 chores are done onto some of the more overzealous spring cleaning kitchen tasks.
This one is EASY! Fill a glass measuring cup with one cup of white vinegar, place in the center of the top or bottoms rack and run your dishwasher, empty (except for the measuring cup of vinegar) on normal cycle. That’s it! This is a little trick my grandmother taught me and I have been using it for many years now.
Pantry and spice rack
Same as with the fridge and freezer, check those dates. Anything not sealed properly is probably stale, toss it, anything you can’t remember buying, toss. All of your spices should have movement to them. What do I mean by this? Tip the spice bottle upside down, if the spices don’t move, toss them, clumping is a sign of moisture or old age and they won’t have the flavor they should. This is really just a good clean out to make room for more new food! This is also a good way to keep you accountable of what you spend at the grocery store, take a look at what your family is actually eating, to know what to buy and have less waste.
Now is also a good time to take inventory of your dishware. Any chipped, cracking plates, bowls or glasses go ahead and get rid off. Same goes for any misshaped Tupperware that’s been in the microwave one too many times. Any old kids cups or plates they don’t use anymore, toss those too. Check your cutting boards, anything not coming out clean from the dishwasher should go. I’m not telling you get rid of your whole kitchen, just to take the time to get rid of any old dishware that isn’t holding up. While you’re at it, sharpen your knives! This is probably my favorite thing I added to my spring cleaning list this year. What a difference it has made sharpening all of my best knives for cooking. Knife sharpeners are super affordable, and a good thing to have to prolong the life of good cutlery so be sure to get one if you don’t already.
Now I hate sticking my hand down there as much as the next person. However it sometimes has to be done, VERY CAREFULLY, I suggest with a dish glove on make sure no large food particles reside in the bottom of your garbage disposal. Pull up the rubber lining around your sink drain if you can and give that a really good scrub. Once you place that back, put a handful of ice cubes in your garbage disposal and turn it on. This will help to sharpen your disposal blades. Once the ice is done throw in a few fresh lemon slices and turn on the disposal again. This will give your disposal and sink a nice clean aroma.
There you have it guys! Thanks for sticking with me, I know this was a long one. I hope these tips help to give you a nice clean kitchen so that we can get back to cooking together soon!