THE BLOG
02/07/2014 10:00 am ET Updated Apr 09, 2014

The Best Ways to Clean Your Kitchen

The newness of the year is wearing off and all those unresolved resolutions of creating a cleaner, more organized kitchen seem like a plan best deferred to next January, right? Don't put it off. With a little creativity, patience, and an honest inventory of what you really need to keep, you can have a kitchen space that you can take pride in. And it only takes a few pantry staples like white vinegar, lemon, baking soda, liquid dish soap, and some towels and sponges to get you on your way. Limited space, resources, and budget need not preclude you from having a clean, organized, and more user-friendly kitchen.

Now understand, clean doesn't mean only having your countertops gleaming, though that, too, is an important part. What we suggest is that you clean your kitchen from the inside out. When it comes to the kitchen, organization, cleanliness, and maintenance go a long way. Where you store items is as important as how you store them.

Click Here to see The Complete List of Ways to Clean Your Kitchen

And one rule of thumb before we start: no matter what part of the kitchen you're cleaning, you always want to make sure the exterior and interior of kitchen surfaces are kept dry. This way, they won't become breeding grounds for molds and bacteria. Follow these tips and you will be off to a cleaner and more organized kitchen -- and self.

  • Oven
    Click Here to see The Complete List of Ways to Clean Your Kitchen For oven maintaince and cleaning, you need to know your oven type. Ovens are usually self-cleaning, continuous cleaning. Ovens latent with grease and oil can quickly become serious fire hazards so you really want to make it a point to tackle this on your new year’s cleaning list. No matter what type of oven you have, you never want to clean it with abrasive products. Use your self-cleaning oven as frequently as you want, but don’t take it at face value. Even with this type of oven, you still want to do a routine wash with mild dish soap and water to ensure your oven is truly grease-free. For continuous cleaning ovens, you can use a damp cloth to clean it down when it’s cool. Finally, for the truly clean it yourself ovens, all-purpose cleaners and a nylon bristle brush are the best way to a clean, danger-free oven. Photo Credit: Thinkstock_iStockPhoto
  • Microwave
    Yes, I know the old adage of making lemonade when life hands you a lemon. And there’s the cleverer adage of grabbing tequila and salt when life hands you a lemon. Call it old age or practicality taking over me but now days I say if life hands you a lemon, you better clean my microwave. It’s super easy and leaves a fresh scent to boot. Simply microwave two cups of water along with about 5 or 6 lemon slices (1 small lemon) for 3 minutes or until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove the bowl and wet a clean cloth with the citrusy water and get ready to watch grime easily come off of your microwave. Photo Credit: Thinkstock_iStockPhoto
  • Stove Top
    Click Here to see The Complete List of Ways to Clean Your Kitchen Fret not, that salt that you didn’t use with the tequila now has a use that won’t result in a hangover. Combine one tablespoon each of salt, baking soda, and water and make a paste. Take a cloth or sponge and dip in the paste and scrub down your stove top. Take another clean cloth and wipe away any residual paste. You’ll want to wash your stove grates and griddles by removing them and washing them in hot water and dishwashing liquid. Make sure to dry thoroughly before putting them back into the stove top. Don’t forget the hood of your stove. A clean cloth dipped in hot soapy water will get the hood clean. Remember to dry it. Photo Credit: Thinkstock_iStockPhoto
  • Refrigerator
    I saved this for last as it can be one of the more daunting tasks on your kitchen cleaning list. First, take all foods out and survey what is worth keeping. Keep food outside of the fridge until you have conducted a thorough cleaning – it’s time to get intimate with your fridge. Take out any removable parts i.e. shelves and drawers and clean them with warm water and dish washing soap. Clean and dry the removable parts but don’t put it back in just yet. Your fridge needs a further scrub down. Two tablespoons baking soda to one quart water and a sponge are going to go a long way in cleaning the inside of your fridge. Remember to wash away residue with a damp cloth and dry with another cloth. Your fridge is clean now but it’s time to organize your food in an efficient, hygienic way. You’ll want to keep uncooked meat, fish, and poultry in its store wrapping to decrease the risk of exposing it to harmful bacteria. If these items didn’t come in a Styrofoam tray, a plate underneath the product help catch drippings. Keeping these items on the bottom most shelf of your fridge will reduce the chance that any drippings will spill unto other food items and cause cross contamination. Other storage wisdom comes with fruits and veggies. Both of them in your diet? Good for you! In your fridge? Not so much. You’ll want to keep these separate as fruits and vegetables give off different gases and can cause deterioration in the other if kept together. Restock your fridge now with the foods you took out pre cleaning but keep that beer out! Cheers! You’ve almost fulfilled your New Year Resolution! Photo Credit: Thinkstock_iStockPhoto
  • Cleaning Supplies
    Click Here to see The Complete List of Ways to Clean Your Kitchen Yes, I’m serious. You just spent precious time and energy cleaning your kitchen. You don’t want to negate your hard work and turn your kitchen back into a Sci Fi blockbuster complete with foreign pathogens and critters just because you didn’t take care of your cleaning items properly. Place your sponge in your (newly cleaned and scented!) microwave for two minutes on the highest setting. What you’re doing is letting the high heat kill off bacteria. Once heated and dry, place sponge(s) in a dry, cool place so bacteria doesn’t proliferate. Discard your sponges every two weeks. To thoroughly clean your kitchen towels, add two cups of white vinegar to your washer and run a cycle with hot water. Add your towels after the cycle has begun and the water has mixed with the vinegar. Make sure to fully dry towels so as to dissuade mildew and mold from growing. Photo Credit: Thinkstock_iStockPhoto

-Soni Satpathy, The Daily Meal

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