It’s time for a spring scrub-down! The need to clean hidden areas of your kitchen (think exhaust fan and garbage disposal) comes around once a year just like tax time. Spring is a great time to tackle these tougher jobs, plus almost all the cleaners you’ll need are probably already in your fridge or pantry. Here are Paula’s tips to get your kitchen clean and sparkling in no time.
“I always keep plenty of lemons, vinegar, and baking soda in my kitchen because they pull double duty—I can cook or clean with ’em!”–Paula
Cleaning with Lemons
- Sanitize wooden cutting boards by rubbing them with lemon juice, then let them stand overnight. Wash, rinse, and let dry thoroughly, then rub on a light coating of a natural oil or beeswax to protect the wood.
- Use lemon juice on chrome faucets and appliances, then buff ’til they shine!
- Sprinkle the cut side of a lemon with salt, and use it to clean the inside of copper cookware.
- Cut a whole lemon in quarters, and grind it in your sink’s garbage disposal to deodorize it.
Cleaning with Distilled White Vinegar
- Add 2 to 3 tablespoons to your dishwasher detergent to cut the grease on dishes.
- Make a paste of vinegar and baking soda to clean a stainless steel sink.
- Mix it with water, and run it through your coffee maker for a good inside-out cleaning. Be sure you run a pot of plain water through the coffee maker afterward to get rid of any lingering vinegar smell or taste.
- Freeze vinegar in ice cube trays, and grind the cubes in the sink garbage disposal.
Cleaning with Baking Soda
- Mix it with just enough water to make a paste, and gently rub it into stains in your kitchen linens. Let it stand for a while to penetrate the stain.
- Blend 4 parts baking soda and 1 part Borax for a nonabrasive scouring powder.
Cleaning with Ketchup
Rubbing ketchup on dirty copper cookware and copper-bottomed pots will restore the shine.
Grease be Gone
The grimiest cleaning jobs in the kitchen are the exhaust fan blades, housing, and filter; underneath the stovetop; and the oven. For these jobs, Paula finds that the fastest way to cut the sticky mess is to squirt the surfaces with Greased Lightning, an all-purpose cleaner originally created to help mechanics clean up car grease. Be sure to wear latex gloves, and grab a roll of paper towels to wipe away grease. Then wash all surfaces with warm soapy water and dry.
Freshen the Fridge and Freezer
- Pull out all the food and throw away out-of-date items.
- Wash drawers and shelves and wipe down the interior with warm soapy water.
- Gently brush out any crumbs in the gaskets around the fridge/freezer doors, and wipe them with warm soapy water. They should be in good condition so that a good seal is maintained.
- Wipe the top and exterior front and sides with warm soapy water.
- Vacuum the coils in the back and/or underneath.
- If you have a drip pan, clean and sanitize it thoroughly.