Spring is famous for a few things: new life, new growth… and cleaning!
It’s easy to remember the carpets, the blinds, and the bathrooms when performing your spring cleaning, but it’s important to not forget your kitchen.
For many, the kitchen is the “heart of the home,” but it can also be a breeding ground for germs, and should be deep-cleaned regularly.
So how to begin?
The number one tip for kitchen cleanliness should be performed year-round – always, always, always wash your hands before and after handling food. A simple hand washing under hot water with soap will greatly reduce risk of cross-contamination and food poisoning.
Next up are your kitchen countertops. While you may give counters a quick wipe every day, for spring cleaning, give them special attention by washing them with hot, soapy water followed by a wipe-down with a diluted bleach solution ( 1 tablespoon of liquid bleach per gallon of water.) For specialty countertops like granite or quartz, be sure to check care instructions before wiping them with bleach or other cleaning solutions.
When was the last time you cleaned the handles on your kitchen drawers and cabinets? Give them the same treatment – hot, soapy water followed by the bleach solution.
Now for the fridge! First, make sure your refrigerator and freezer are set to the manufacturer’s recommended temperature setting. This will ensure your food is being stored at a safe temperature.
Completely empty your refrigerator and freezer. Check the expiration date on every single item you take out. Yes, mustard, ketchup, and salad dressings included! Same goes for that little plastic lemon filled with juice that you bought who knows when. Be sure to check frozen items for freezer-burn.
This thorough exploration should then move to the pantry. Check expiration dates on boxes of rice, pasta, sauces, nuts, baking mixes, etc. Take the opportunity to organize your pantry and put everything you need within easy reach.
Wipe every refrigerator drawer, shelf, nook and cranny. You can’t see the bacteria that can make you sick, so be sure to cover every inch of space. For example, clean under the pull-out drawers and around the edges of shelves. Don’t forget to also wipe down the outside of your fridge and clean the handle of the refrigerator regularly.
Try placing an opened box of baking soda on a shelf in the fridge to help keep food odors to a minimum. Use caution when selecting your cleaning solution, you don’t want it to impart any taste or scent onto any of your food, nor cause damage to the interior of your fridge if it is too abrasive. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
The same goes for the microwave and oven. Clean both of them thoroughly inside and out to remove any food particles that may be stuck on. Some ovens have a self-clean function; be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely.
Yes there are detergent pods to clean your dishes, but cleaning pods are now available for the dishwasher itself, too. Place a pod in your dishwasher and run the cycle (without any dishes inside, of course.) This will take care of any detergent or food residue.
Repeat with your washing machine. Washing machine cleaner is available in liquid, pod, or powder form. Run a load without clothes to help get rid of excess detergent, lint, or other gunk. Don’t forget to empty the lint trap in your dryer!
A few final health and safety tips: make sure to have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen and that it has been recently inspected and approved as up-to-code. Consider putting a small first aid kit (alcohol wipes, bandages, gauze) in your pantry or under your kitchen sink in case of a cut or burn. If you have little ones or pets around, ensure that your cleaning supplies are stored high out of reach in a locked cabinet.
This spring clean is a great opportunity to organize your kitchen space. There are some truly amazing organization possibilities for cabinets, pantry, even the fridge!
A clean, safe kitchen is a happy place. Not only for you, but for family and friends. Happy Spring!