For most women, the most despised rooms in the house to clean are the bathroom and the kitchen. Kitchens are not nearly as small and over crowded as most bathrooms, but there is quite a bit more to be cleaned in the kitchen and a dirty kitchen will nag at you more than a dirty bathroom because it isn’t as secluded and you spend much more time there.
With daily upkeep, cleaning your kitchen does not have to be an all day event. The most important rule in keeping a clean kitchen (or any room in your home) is to clean up as you go along, establish and maintain certain daily standards. I have a sign in my kitchen that reads, “If you spill it, wipe it up.” This is crucial to keeping a clean kitchen! Spills and splatters left to dry can become a nightmare to clean. Use a damp rag to wipe up after yourself as you cook. Teach your children (and husband!) to do the same.
Before you begin cleaning your kitchen, scan the room. Gather everything that does not belong there – yesterday’s paper, ballet slippers, your scrapbooking supplies – and return them to their homes. Next, look for things that do belong in the kitchen but don’t belong out – jar of peanut butter, box of cereal, gadgets – and put them away. Be sure to check for items that you keep out on the counter but you don’t use regularly. For instance, my friend gave me a Belgium waffle maker for Christmas three years ago (which I’m sure I used no more than three times) but there it sat on my counter day after day, taking up space and collecting dust. Last week, I finally made it a new home in a cabinet above my refrigerator. If you have an appliance sitting on your countertop that you don’t use at least once a week, for goodness sakes give yourself more counter space and put that bad boy in a cupboard!
First, load your dishwasher. You know the old saying, “Never go to bed angry.”? Start living by a new saying, “Never go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink.” Be sure to put away clean dishes and pots and pans. As with cleaning any room in your home, you want to start high and work your way down. Begin by dusting ceiling fans, light fixtures and anything on your walls. Next, use a damp rag to wipe off the top of your refrigerator. Move on to the fronts of your cabinets, followed by your countertops, your stove, your sink and then your oven and dishwasher. Of course, your floor is last.
Fronts of cabinets:
Spray a damp rag with all purpose kitchen cleaner and wipe fronts of cabinets from top to bottom. Spot wipe regularly for splatters and fingerprints. Wipe down the front and sides of your refrigerator in the same manner.
Again, spray a damp rag with all purpose kitchen cleaner and wipe countertops. Lift up anything on the counter and wipe under it, wipe down small appliances as you go. Don’t forget to empty your toaster!
If you wipe out your microwave after each use, this will never be a problem area of your kitchen. Use window cleaner on a damp rag to wipe the inside and outside of microwave. If there are dried, stuck on unidentified items inside, boil a bowl of water in the microwave – the steam will help to loosen them – making it much easier to clean. Funky smell? Rub the inside down with a half a lemon, let sit, then wipe.
Remove grills, burner plates and rings from stove and place in sink. Spray them down with a cleaning product that contains a degreaser and let them sit 15-20 minutes before scrubbing. Remove knobs on stove top and oven and clean with warm, soapy water. An old toothbrush is great for getting the gunk out. Wipe down stove top, hood and front of oven with a damp rag and all purpose cleaner.
Your sink should be wiped out after each use. You can use any all purpose kitchen cleaner to clean your sink. I like to use powdered cleanser. Use an old toothbrush to clean behind faucet and around knobs.
I am so envious of those who have self-cleaning ovens. There are a zillion oven cleaning products on the market, I find the cheaper brands work just as well. Be sure to read all directions carefully and to wear rubber gloves. This is, by far, the messiest job in the kitchen.
Sprinkle baking soda on a wet rag and work into a paste to remove spots and build-up from the inside of your dishwasher, wipe with a clean, damp rag. Use window cleaner or all purpose on the face on your dishwasher.
Finally, The Floor:
Sweep your floor first. I like to use the attachment on my vacuum to get into little corners and under cabinets also. The product you use to mop your kitchen floor is dependant of the type of floor you have. I like to use white vinegar and water on my tile floor. As far as I know, white vinegar and water is a safe cleaning solution no matter what type of floor you have. Before using a floor cleaning product, be sure to read the label carefully and make sure it’s suited for your floor type.
Your kitchen is going to get messy. There’s no way around it. But with routine maintenance and a smart approach to cleaning it, you don’t have to wait until you can no longer see the sink to start the job. Go ahead, kitchen and invite your mother-in-law over for dinner.