Do you get overwhelmed by kitchen clutter? Are gnats lazily circling what you hope is fruit among the stacked and overflowing stuff on every horizontal surface? Let’s get that licked into shape today!
Why Be Picky About Your Kitchen?
Have you ever gotten a ’24 hour’ stomach bug that had you hugging the toilet half the night wanting to die? It was probably a food-borne illness. That is why your hands as well as your kitchen must be cleaned. If you want to know in detail about food-borne micro-organisms you can check out the FDA’s Bad Bug Book. It’s free, and while a lot of it is in science-speak, there are ‘consumer’s snapshot’ sections in plain English.
Never mind the microbes, if you have food waste, garbage, or improperly stored food in your kitchen you can easily attract ants, cockroaches, and even mice and rats.
You’ve already gotten a handle on the clutter in the rest of the house, let’s make sure your kitchen isn’t making people sick.
Where to Start:
Music. Or an Audio Book. Just sayin’.
Toss everything that is obviously garbage and all the science projects. Check the fridge, too. Take the bags out before they get too heavy and tear, which happens fast in the kitchen. You don’t want nastiness spilling down your pant leg.
Clear the Countertop
Start near the sink by just clearing space. Junk in the garbage, dishes scraped and stacked by size, and everything that belongs in a cupboard put away. Real organization can happen after you’ve cleared the countertop and emptied the sink. Thoroughly wipe down the counter and get it really clean, starting at one end and working toward the other.
Is the dishwasher full and ready to go if you have one? Fill it and start it.
Clean the Sink
That’s right, empty the sink, put some dish soap (I prefer Dawn, it’s a real grease-killer) and baking soda on your dishrag, and start washing it down, including around the faucet. You may want to take a toothbrush to the edges of the fixture to get built up dirt off. If there are food scraps, put them in the garbage, don’t ever wash them down the drain unless you have a disposal. Don’t wash grease down the drain, either, it will become like cement.
If your pots and pans are pretty awful, empty them out and fill them with hot soapy water and let them soak while you keep cleaning. If you’d like you can soak your dishes for a bit as well. Don’t buy or use metal scrubbers for your pots and sink, scotchbrite pads will do.
If you use good dish soap you shouldn’t have to use much, just enough to get some suds. If you use too much not only is it a waste, but it’s hard to wash off the dishes. Who wants everything to taste like soap? Use water that’s as hot as you can comfortably work with.
Lemon juice is really magical for getting baked on hard chunks off of baking pans. Soak the silverware. When you start doing dishes use a new clean dishrag and put down a clean cloth on the drainboard. Start with the glasses and cups, then the dishes and silverware, and the pots last.
Wipe the Cupboards and Handles
After your dishes are done, you can give your drawer and cupboard fronts a wipe, as well as the front of the fridge and handles to get all the sticky bits. Don’t forget the fridge!
Don’t waste a lot of money on fancy cleaners for every different surface, some of them even leave a gummy residue. Dishsoap, baking soda, vinegar, all those things are very good at sanitizing and deodorizing the kitchen without being toxic to you or the environment. If you like, add a little of your favorite essential oil. You can get 2 ½ gallon cleaning buckets at the hardware for under $5, or even at the dollar store. Don’t pay a lot for a fancy bucket in a pretty color with a special spout. Just be sure the handle is strong and will stay attached.
A Word About Stoves:
I think you can probably figure out cleaning your stove, that’s mostly elbow grease, but do take out the burner drip pans and give them a good scrub, then wrap them in foil for easy cleaning from here on out. The top of your electric stove will lift up to clean underneath.
If you have a glass top stove do NOT use abrasive cleaners or scrape it with a spatula, you’ll take the ceramic coating right off. There are special cleaners for those tops. Be gentle. If you have a big splatter spot you can’t get off from wiping, leave a damp dish cloth soaked in lemon juice on the spot to soften it, then it will wipe up.
Mop The Floor
Sweep first, then mop the floor or wipe it with a rag starting in the corner and working your way out. You may need a brush to scrub at the edges if you’ve neglected this.