If you’re anything like me, once the holiday decorations come down you’re ready to start getting your house a little more organized. There is nothing like a New Year’s resolution to decrease clutter and get on a cleaning schedule to get you motivated.
The idea of having every aspect of our lives tidy and organized is a beautiful thought, but not necessarily realistic. Cleaning and organizing is an evolving and ongoing process. It can’t be achieved overnight, it must be sustained over time. The key is to START!
The kitchen is the first place I start each new year.
Here are 10 Steps for Cleaning in the Kitchen
Start by removing all clutter and disinfecting counter-tops and dish towels and then crank up some tunes and follow these steps:
1. Dust and wipe down walls
Oh yes, all that the grease, grime, and spilled food that jumps onto your walls. Check corners for cobwebs and dust down corners and trim.
2. Dust and clean items hanging on walls and on top of cabinets.
Wipe down frames and glass and anything hanging on the walls. Don’t forget air vents, doorknobs, doors, switch plates. If you have items on top of your kitchen cabinets (which I highly discourage, they are just dust traps), they may need a good scrubbing, as those items tend to get a grease and dust stuck to them. YUCK. Fill a sink with hot water and dish washing soap to help cut thru grease.
3. Dust and clean light fixtures.
Take down any light fixtures and gently wash and dry them before replacing.
4. Clean inside of cabinets and drawers.
Remove everything from inside cabinets (yes, even your junk drawer/s), wipe down shelves, and replace and reorganize items. If you have not used it in a year, get rid of it. Also, check for expiration dates, that basil with the expiration of 2005 needs to go.
5. Wipe down and clean small appliances.
Unplug all appliances first.
- Mixer – Wash beaters by hand, wipe down base with a damp cloth. If the vent is clogged, loosen the dirt with a toothpick or toothbrush, then vacuum it out.
- Toaster/Toaster oven – clean out crumbs and wipe down the interior and exterior. Be sure to remove racks; wash them in warm, soapy water.
- Coffee Maker – Pour equal parts white vinegar and water into the tank, and run the machine. Empty out carafe and run two or three cycles with fresh water before brewing coffee. Wash carafe and any other removable parts in hot soapy water and wipe down exterior of machine. For any hard water build up on outside of machine, use a cloth soaked in vinegar to removed hard water crust.
6. Clean appliances.
If you don’t have a self-cleaning oven, spray oven cleaner and let it work while you clean other appliances listed below. Don’t forget to open windows in the kitchen to avoid the overpowering smell.
- Refrigerator – Throw out expired food, and remove everything, placing the items to keep on the counter or table. Remove refrigerator shelves and drawers. Wash them down, being careful with glass shelves. Wipe down the entire interior of the refrigerator and freezer with the baking-soda solution, and wipe it dry before replacing shelves and food. Pull refrigerator out, if you can, and unplug and clean behind and underneath.
- Microwave – Start with a damp rag and wipe out any loose crumbs from interior. Then, fill a microwave safe bowl or cup with 4-5 tablespoons baking soda or one-half cup lemon juice and water and heat mixture on high for two to three minutes. When time is up, let it sit for five minutes, then carefully remove cup or bowl and wipe down interior effortlessly with a damp cloth. If you still have stains, try damping your rag with vinegar or a little baking soda to gently scrub away stains. Don’t forget to remove and wash glass turntable. Once everything is sparkling again, leave the door open to air out for bit. Clean exterior and door with only warm, soapy water and soft cloth. Wipe control panels with a barely damp (not wet) cloth; moisture behind the panel could ruin the oven.
- Oven/Stove – Wipe down and clean out the oven according to the directions on the oven cleaner. Remove, knobs, burners, burner covers, and spill catchers off of the stove and wipe off food spills and splatters, for glass cook tops use a dab of commercial cooktop cleaner on a dry paper towel, and then wipe off the cleaner with another dry towel.
- Dishwasher – I know, you are saying that the dishwasher is clean because you run it often. Trust me on this, run empty dishwasher with vinegar. You will thank me.
7. Clean windows and window treatments.
Vacuum and clean windowsills. Wash windows, I do the insides now because seriously, it is too cold out do the outsides right now. Remove window treatments and blinds/shades and clean according to manufacture’s instructions.
8. Clean and shine sink and drain.
Clean your drain with baking soda and vinegar. If you have a garbage disposal, put ice cubes through the disposal to sharpen the blades. Make you sink shine, by filling your sink to the rim with HOT water and 1 cup of bleach, let it sit for one hour, then remove plug (using tongs or wear gloves), rinse then scrub your sink and faucet with a mild abrasive, I LOVE Barkeepers Friend, rinse thoroughly and finish with a little window cleaner and a paper towel.
9. Clean garbage cans.
Wash inside and out with a strong bleach solution (about 3/4 cup per gallon of water).
10. Sweep and mop the floors.
Although this is a step you already do on a regular basis, use new year’s cleaning to do an extra good job, move furniture to get underneath, get corners, baseboards and even get down on your hands and knees if you can for even a closer clean.
Now, take a load off, have a cup of coffee from your clean pot and enjoy your clean kitchen. Until dinner tonight.