The kitchen is one of the dirtiest places in the house. In fact, it’s even dirtier than your toilet especially when it comes to bacterial growth. Why? The kitchen sink is an ideal environment for E. coli to live and grow because it’s constantly wet. Bacteria also feed on the food debris that usually get flushed down the kitchen sink, as well as the grime and stains that we often miss out during cursory wipe-downs of the sink and countertops.
This is just one of the many reasons why it’s important to give your kitchen a thorough clean on the regular. To make this chore a lot easier, here’s a step-by-step guide.
- Clear away everything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen. Let’s face it: a lot of things that don’t belong in the kitchen always end up there. Utility bills, permission slips from your child’s teacher, sometimes we even toss our keys on the kitchen counters. Get rid of everything that’s out of place before you start cleaning.
- Soak the dishes. Let hot water and your dish detergent work their magic while you clean other parts of the kitchen first. Toss in anything that needs soaking and washing, like the microwave and toaster oven trays and wire dish racks. By the time you’re ready to wash the dishes, the leftover food bits and stains will have loosened and you will have a much easier time.
- Clean the fridge. If your refrigerator is due for a deep-clean, it’s best to get it out of the way first. Make sure to throw away expired foods and beverages, and place dirty food containers into the sink as well to soak. Then clean your fridge from top to bottom using a microfiber cloth and your choice of non-toxic cleaner. Make sure to give your fridge a final wipe down to “rinse” to ensure that there are no cleaner residues that could get into your food.
- Clean from top to bottom. Work your way from the top, starting from the light fixtures and cabinets. If you must, use a telescoping microfiber duster to reach the high areas and prevent as much of the dust from falling onto other surfaces. Don’t forget to also clean the top of the fridge and any wall-mounted appliances and fixtures like shelves and spice racks. Cleaning from top to bottom and back to front will make sure that you won’t have to repeat cleaning an area later on.
- Clean the microwave and stove. While you are wiping or dusting other surfaces, just pop in a bowl of water and vinegar in the microwave and run it for about two minutes on high to make it easier to wipe away the dried-up splashes of sauces and food bits. Meanwhile, here’s a tip on how to quickly clean your stove tops: moisten a microfiber towel with water and wipe the stovetop to remove as much food debris and oil/grease splatters as you can. From there, spray on your choice of degreaser and let it sit, while you tackle the more stubborn residues with a scraper; the degreaser should be able to loosen these debris to make the job easier. Once everything is removed, rinse and dry the stovetop thoroughly. Make sure to include the control knobs, too, since these can get particularly grimy. Use a clean microfiber cloth to shine and buff the surface.
- Wash the dishes. By this time, the dishes would be a breeze to wash by hand. On the other hand, if you have a dishwasher, simply load it up and let it do the work. You can leave the warm, soapy water to sit for a while because you can use these for other items later.
- Tackle the small appliances. These include the toaster, coffee maker, mixers and blenders, and whatever else that needs cleaning. You can use an all-around non-toxic cleaner and microfiber cloth for all of these items; just make sure that you spray the cleaning aid onto the cloth and not directly onto the appliance. If there are detachable items that needs to be washed, use the remaining water in the sink, then simply rinse, dry, and reattach them to the appliance.
- Drain the sink. Use hot water to rinse out all the soap suds, then scrub with a mild abrasive to remove any hard water stains and soap scum. Don’t forget to wash and dry the faucet handles, too.
- Scrub and wipe all other surfaces. These include the countertops, the refrigerator door, and lower cabinet doors. Make sure to pay attention to the handles and corners, where dirt and grime usually accumulate. Remember to also use a cleaner that will not damage the material of your countertops. Once done, buff the surfaces with a dry microfiber cloth.
- Sweep and mop the floor. Sweep the floor to remove as much debris as possible before mopping the floor, first with a water-and-cleaner mixture then with just water to rinse and remove all traces of soap, then dry the floor. If you have a microfiber mop, you’ll drastically cut your drying time.
After all these steps, all that’s left to do is sit back and relax — you certainly earned it after all your hard work!