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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Keep It Clean: In The Kitchen

It seems that cleaning is a never-ending task.  Right?  I swear I spend two hours cleaning the kitchen and you’d have no idea a day or two later.  It doesn’t help that our kitchen is right inside the front door.  So, when things get brought it… they often get dropped in there.  So, I started a new… routine, we’ll call it.  Instead of spending two hours every three days cleaning, how about twenty minutes each day?  That cuts my cleaning time in half.

In the last week I have discovered some tips and tricks.  Besides falling in love with vinegar all over again, there are a few more secrets.  So, pull out your notebooks and pens and get ready to take notes.  Or click on the title of this post and then click the print button located right above it.  Easy peasy, yeah?

10 Secrets to a Clean Kitchen:
1)  I really HATE smelly sponges, but when you’re cleaning they are kind of a necessity.  Paper towels are expensive when you go through them at a rate of three or four a day.  Dish cloths have the same smelly issues, although you can throw those in the washer.  But a dish cloth or two a day adds up quick!  I don’t have a ton of time to add a ton of laundry to my to-do list.  So… after you are done with your cleaning for the day, put the sponge on a saucer and put it in the microwave for about 1 minute.  More or less, depending on the power of your microwave oven.  When you see steam you can stop it.  Please make sure there is no metal in your sponge before placing it in the microwave.  Take it out very carefully, it will be HOT!  When it is cool, wash it thoroughly with a little dish washing soap.  Set it out to dry.  Let dry thoroughly. 

2)  My passion for pasta is no secret.  But I am not fond of stained plastic ware.  Nothing makes Tupperware, or Snap ware in my case, look gross and dirty like a permanent stain.  So, to prevent red sauces from staining my containers, I lightly coat the plastic with olive oil (you can use any kind of edible oil) before I put my leftovers in.  The oil protects the container and prevents the plastic from soaking in the color.
3)  We have granite counter tops.  Awesome.  We have tile granite counter tops.  Not so awesome… because the grout gets gross.  Fast.  Water stains or stains from food or other sources make our counters look yucky and dirty.  I combat this with a bleach pen.  Just draw it on, let it sit for ten minutes and wipe it off.  TA-DA!  Good as new.

4)  With dirty diapers in the house, we can sometimes get some really bad odors hanging around.  No matter how many bags we wrap it in.  So, to help tame the smell, I sprinkle a 1/4 cup of baking soda in the bottom of the trash liner.  If I notice a really foul stench, I’ll add a little more as the liner gets full.  Just dump it in on top.  A small bowl of vinegar under the sink helps curtail the smell too.
5)  Don’t forget to wipe down the surface of your cupboards and drawers.  Especially the ones in front of the sink.  Things spill easily while you’re washing up dishes.  Pay attention to the handles too.  Grime builds up quick with a myriad of hands touching those surfaces.  While you’re at it, wipe down the dishwasher and the oven.  Take a quick swipe at the fridge too, if it’s looking dingy.  If the visible surfaces are dirty and dingy, it will be assumed the insides are too.  First impressions are important.

6)  Cleaning and disinfecting cutting boards is essential to safe food preparation.  For things like fruits, vegetables, breads and most other foods simple soap and hot water will suffice.  Wiping it down with vinegar will provide a safe disinfectant.  If you cut meats or poultry on it, you will want to let the cutting board sit in a solution of 1 part chlorine beach to 10 parts water.  Let it sit for ten minutes, rinse and allow to air dry.
7)  You can deodorize kitchen surfaces with lemon juice.  Juice 5-10 lemons, depending on the size of the surface you’re deodorizing.  Or just buy a bottle of lemon juice.  Pour the juice into a spray bottle.  Lightly spray your surfaces and let it sit for 10-20 minutes.  Wipe down the surface with a clean, damp cloth or sponge.  Also works well with cutting boards.

8)  Clutter.  This is a huge problem for us.  My Mr Right and I have chronic cases of “Dropsy”.  We come in the door and drop everything on the countertops.  Don’t do this!  It will make even the cleanest room look messy.  Also, try not to store a lot of things on your counter tops.  We have very limited storage space, so some things (Like our KitchenAid) have a permanent home on the counter.  Keep this to a minimum.  It will, more often than not, look like you didn’t put anything away.
9)  Clean from top to bottom and from one side of the room to the other.  That way you won’t waste time wiping down a counter that you wiped down ten minutes ago.  It will also help keep clutter from creeping back in while you clean.
10)  Keep your dishwasher empty so you can load dirty dishes right into it.  A sink full of dirty dishes will always make a kitchen look messy.  This is easier said than done, I know.  Train your family to load their dishes into the dishwasher, instead of dropping them in the sink or one the counter, when they are done with them.  It may take a few days (or weeks…) but will be so worth it in the end, promise.  That saves me at least ten minutes a day in the kitchen.35

11)  If it isn’t dirty, DON’T CLEAN IT!  Seems simple enough, right?  I don’t clean out the fridge every day.  Every couple of days is good enough.  I do the dishes everyday when My Mr Right is home; but when he’s not, every two or three days is good enough.  Little Monkey and I cook more simply and eat less when he’s not here.  So we dirty dishes more slowly.  No need to run half a load of dishes, just wait another day.



  1. Our kitchen is a huge hot zone for clutter, too. Stuff just tends to get left there, either coming or going from the house. Good luck keeping up your new routine.

  2. Thanks for the tip on nappies! My boys go through so many and the smell at times can be awful!

  3. I love lemon juice! It cuts the grease off the cabinets and smells great. Thanks for the fabulous tips!

  4. I love your ideas for keeping the kitchen clean. I'm always looking for a new product etc. I just find that fun.
    I'm starting a new linky party on my blog and would love if you'd link up there.

  5. I swear to you just yesterday I was wondering if anyone else had a problem with people just dropping crap right on the counters. My kitchen is right by the front door too, its WAY to easy to drop and go. Thanks for the tips, I plan on using them!

  6. Thanks for sharing all these great cleaning tips! I'm going to incorporate these into my cleaning routine. You've inspired me to make sure I always have a jar full of lemons on hand. :)

  7. I love to take a lemon cut that sucker up and down the drain. Turn on the disposal and yay no more stink! Lemons rock

  8. I confess, "I'm a Vinegar-aholic".
    Thanks for the sponge cleaning tip.

  9. I have tried the sponge in the microwave idea before and I loved it, but at some point I stopped doing it. No clue why...I have also put it through the dishwasher before, but it always winds up really soapy/gummish?
    Thanks for the reminder!!

  10. Awesome tips! I love lemon juice and the bleach pen in the kitchen.

  11. Great ideas! I am going to have to try this out!
    Jenni (your newest follower)

  12. Great tips!! Thanks for sharing them. I love to use lemons and vinegar when I clean.


  13. Stopping by from WFMW. Great Tips. I am going to print them out. Thanks especially for the sponge and vinegar tips... oh and the lemons too. We are homeschoolers and every flat area in the house is a clutter magnet. I work hard and keeping things put where they belong and the kids and hubby work hard at leaving things laying around!! LOL


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