Spring is definitely on its way. Despite temperatures in the teens last week and forecast again for next week, it was a balmy 69°F today – delicious! Thoughts of spring crocuses, wicker porch furniture, and even thorough spring-cleanings begin to surface. Don’t forget the kitchen!
Here are some hints to get your kitchen ready for springtime, lighter meals, and lots of time outside:
A Little Preparation
Try to empty the room out as much as possible: remove the kitchen trashcan and fill it with a disinfecting cleaner outside; roll any kitchen islands out to the foyer or dining room and try and get the kitchen table and chairs out of the way.
Remove any area rugs to be washed in the washing machine or dropped by a cleaner’s shop if they’re too large for your machine. Collect all your cleaning supplies and materials.
Time to Get Started
Try to clean from the top down. Thus, as much as you are supremely disinterested in your kitchen ceiling and attachments, this is where you should begin. Well, almost. First, remove any ceiling curtains or window blinds. These will be cleaned separately and later.
Then, wrestle a canister vacuum up onto the counter or use a good hand-vac to clean up the dust, cobwebs and other weird stuff that ends up on top of your kitchen cabinets while these materials are still dry.
Finally, using a grease-cutting cleaner, wash your ceiling, light fixtures, and any ceiling or exhaust fans. Dump this rinse water and then wash the walls with an appropriate, but grease-cutting cleaner, from the ceiling to the top of cabinets, large appliances, or straight down blank walls.
Now, you get to repeat this process with the exterior of your above-counter kitchen cabinets. Don’t get started on the below-counter cabinets yet, as there’s still a lot of cleaning to be done and a bunch of dirt to be removed from above them yet. Be sure to clean the top of the refrigerator while you’re up there.
Beginning with cabinets that hold dishes, cups, and glassware, remove each item for washing, preferably in the hot cycle of an automatic dishwasher.
Vacuum each shelf and then wipe down the inside shelving of the cabinets with a non-toxic multipurpose cleaner, not forgetting to clean the inside of the cabinet door. Remove any old shelving paper and replace.
In place of paper, try that new plastic foam netting that is easily cut to shape, cleans up well, and protects breakable items from cracks and chips. If you worship Martha Stewart, be sure to put your “Spring” crockery in the most accessible cabinets and hide the “Santa Claus” plates behind all the floral stuff.
Moving on to the pantry cabinets that hold food items, remove all the boxes, cans, and canisters of food. For foodstuff stored in boxes, opened once, and not used in recent memory, toss it to avoid kitchen moth infestations.
For cans of cream of groundhog soup that no one in the household recalls purchasing – much less ever eating – toss those too.
Please don’t save these items to “donate” to local food banks – if you’re not interested in dining on something slightly nasty, why would they?
Remove the old shelf paper, vacuum the shelves, wipe down with the multipurpose, nontoxic cleaner such as vinegar or a citrus based product and cut new foam netting to serve as shelf paper. Replace your food items now with a much better idea of what your home inventory actually includes.
Remove your oven racks and set aside, preferably outside the kitchen sphere of action. Vacuum the bottom of your oven interior with a “dirty” attachment to remove dried ash and burned foot particles and then spray the interior with oven cleaner or set the self-cleaning timer to begin during the evening after you’re out of the room.
Remove the heating coils, if necessary, and wash/scrub or even replace the burner “dishes” – they’re relatively inexpensive for the clean and bright flash they’ll lend to your kitchen. Remove the oven and burner dials to be washed in hot water or, preferably, the dishwasher.
Remove all the small appliances and whatnot on your countertops and prepare for war. Clean the backsplash area with whatever cleaner is appropriate, clean each small appliance carefully to remove grease and grime, and clean the countertop thoroughly with a antibacterial cleaner or a vinegar solution if you want to go light on the chemicals.
Then clean it again.
Use this antibacterial cleaner to also clean the kitchen sink, the drains, the faucets and water taps.
Repeat the above-noted instructions for the under-the-counter cabinets, and all kitchen drawers. Don’t forget to disinfect and wash in hot water whatever cutlery holder you utilize to organize and hold your flatware.
Wash all the cutlery and kitchen utensils. Don’t become distracted by your necessary kitchen junk drawer – save that for another day. Keep moving because there’s still a lot to do.
Don’t skimp on cleaning out the dark corners of those under-counter cabinets. That black widow might be an urban myth in some circles, but I’m not taking any chances in my house.
Your oven is set to self-clean or the spray cleaner is working on the crud now. The microwave is easily cleaned by loosening dried food by boiling a cup of water in the appliance. Then use a soft scrub pad and a nontoxic cleaner to take care of the rest. Remove the rotating plate and plastic platter and pop those in the dishwasher.
The refrigerator is the last truly awful battle to fight. Seriously, try and plan this chore before a large necessary grocery store visit.
Remove all food items and trash those whose last use cannot be recalled.
Remove the shelves and drawers and clean as directed by the manufacturer. Wipe down all the interior shelves, walls, and any particularly sticky containers that will be returning to the refrigerator.
Lastly, remove the bottom louvre to be cleaned in the dishwasher and vacuum the bottom front. If you’re prepared and have a strong constitution, pull the refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum the back of the appliance as well as the floor.
This will help this appliance operate more efficiently.
After all the spring-cleaning dishwashing has been completed, pop an automatic dishwasher cleaning kit into this appliance to disinfect it and remove water stains.
Vacuum the kitchen floor and molding; then scrub, rinse, and or wax, as appropriate to your kitchen floor. As a final touch, wash your kitchen windows to let in all that gorgeous light.
Once your kitchen is spick and span clean, it takes a minimal amount of effort to keep it that way if you spend just a little bit each day working on one area.
A nice finishing touch? Sweetening the air with some natural homemade air fresheners!
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!