Your kitchen is the most hard-working place in your home (if you don’t count the bathrooms). It is open for business 24×7 and is probably the place that gets messy the fastest. Whether you cook three meals a day, with snacks and special eats in between, or your kitchen is rarely used, the main issue is keeping it clean, hygienic, and safe. If you work full-time or part-time, have kids, or don’t, whether you’re single or not, the kitchen is the heart of your home. It’s also the happy hunting ground for a variety of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and allergens. You may turn out MasterChef-level cuisine, but if it’s prepared in a grimy, greasy, and gunky environment, not all your artistic skills can prevent your food from being a health hazard. Though cleaning is a chore you’d rather avoid, here are our 10 Tips to Make Cleaning Your Kitchen Easier. These will inspire you to get creative with your cleaning and, hopefully, share some of your tips with us.
What Makes Kitchens So Dirty?
Spills, stains, and splatters are common by-products of cooking. Add dirty dishes, fruit and veg peels, boiled-over milk, coffee grounds, tea leaves, and more. If you have an open kitchen, you’re more pressurized to keep it spotless, especially when you have people over. Guests tend to gather around the kitchen island to chat and sip their drinks. This means you simply cannot have a sink full of dishes, a cluttered counter, or a splashback full of greasy stains.
To get to the really scary part, research shows that your kitchen could be dirtier than your toilet! Dr. Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona says we spend much thought, time, effort, and money keeping our bathrooms clean. But we’re hardly aware that we must do as much in our kitchens as possible.
Sinks: Being a wet and warm place, sinks allow a variety of bacteria, including the dreaded E.coli, to thrive in them. Food waste clings to the insides of waste pipes, and dirty dishes in the sink are the ideal growing place for fungi.
Cutting Boards: If you use the same cutting board for meat and vegetables, it’s time to stop! Raw meat and poultry contain more than 200 varieties of bacteria that could transfer into your salads or other uncooked foods if you don’t sanitize your cutting board properly.
Refrigerator: The bottom shelf of your fridge contains a larger number of bacteria. Cross-contamination happens between defrosting meat, stored food, and fresh fruit and veg here because the condensation drips down to the lower parts of the fridge.
Work-tops: These are dirtiest around the sink because you give them a final wipe down with a sponge or napkin that you’ve used to clean other parts of the kitchen. You end up spreading the germs all over the kitchen too.
Food Handling: Many diseases are spread by hand-to-food-to-hand contact. Foods like raw meats and poultry, seafood, and unpasteurized milk and cheeses contain dangerous strains of parasites and bacteria. It’s important to maintain strict hygiene while handling these items.
Gadgets: Can openers, garbage disposal, egg-beaters, food processors, and more could transfer germs and cross-contaminate other foods.
Apart from the risks of disease, a messy and dirty kitchen makes you, your family, and your visitors feel uncomfortable and stressed. Is there an easier way to clean your kitchen? Of course, there is! All you need is a few tips and tricks that do really work. They help you get the best results in the easiest possible way and in the shortest time.
10 Tips to Make Cleaning Your Kitchen Easier
1. Juice Up Your Dishwasher: If you get the feeling that your dishwasher is not at peak efficiency, try Tang! Empty your dishwasher completely, including the racks. Add a pack of Tang (preferably Lemon flavor) to the soap dispenser. Let the dishwasher run a complete cycle. When it’s done, run another cycle to remove all traces of the Tang. You’ll find the insides of your dishwasher sparkling clean, free of limescale. Leave it open till it dries out completely before you run it again with dirty dishes.
2. Clean Your Cabinets: Dirt, bacteria, and fungi lurk in the dark corners of your kitchen cabinets. Vacuum them thoroughly and wipe them with a microfiber cloth dipped in vinegar. Wipe again with a clean, damp microfiber and let dry before use.
3. Unclog Drains: Once a week, before you shut down the kitchen for the night, pour a kettle full of boiling water down the sink. Mix one cup of vinegar with one cup of baking soda and pour down the drain. Follow with one more kettle of boiling water.
4. Oven: Make a thick paste of baking soda and vinegar and apply it all over the inside of the oven. Leave overnight and wipe off with a damp microfiber cloth. Soak the racks overnight in hot water mixed with 2-3 dishwasher tablets. Scrub and dry before use.
5. Fridge: Vacuum inside, outside, sides, and underneath before you wipe. Wipe the cords, handles, and doors with a microfiber cloth dipped in liquid dishwashing soap. Wipe dry with a fresh cloth.
6. Clear Your Counters: Remove appliances, condiment jars, and other things so that your counters remain tidy and easier to clean. You get more space for prep work.
7. Start only When It’s Clean: Keep this in mind so that you don’t add to the mess, making cleaning even more difficult. You’ll be more motivated and less stressed when you start with a fresh, tidy kitchen.
8. Multi-Task: Waiting for the kettle to boil? Load your dishwasher. Waiting for a cake to bake? Tidy the counters. And so on. Get into the habit of multi-tasking so that you don’t waste time and you can get out of the kitchen faster.
9. Clean as you Work: Put things away immediately after you use them. Lay down a sheet of newspaper to catch vegetable and fruit peels. You can wrap them up and toss them into the trash instantly. Keep a large bowl handy to keep spoons and ladles while cooking, so you don’t dirty the counters.
10. Deodorize your Trash: Soak a cotton ball in citrus essential oil and keep it under your garbage liner. It prevents nasty odors from spreading through the kitchen. You can also sprinkle baking soda on the trash if you’ve tossed cooked food, dairy, or fruit into the garbage bin.
Kitchen cleaning isn’t the most pleasant of jobs. Having a regular schedule helps, but using some smart hacks makes the work go more efficiently, faster, and more easily.