It’s been a few weeks since Spring Equinox or otherwise known as the first day of spring. If you haven’t done any spring cleaning yet, you should seriously start thinking about it. Yes, you can do some general cleaning whenever you want but there are benefits to doing it during spring. If you think cleaning the whole house and yard is too daunting, start with one place that really needs some thorough cleaning. Below are some spring cleaning kitchen tips to make your tasks a lot easier.
Origin of Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning has become a tradition of sorts for many families. Most, however, are unaware that this simple activity is actually part of the tradition in some cultures or religion. In fact, spring cleaning is believed to have started as a way to commemorate the time Jewish slaves fled from their Egyptian masters to finally gain their freedom.
Since then, the ancient Jews thoroughly cleaned their homes before Passover, a springtime festival. They did so to get rid of leftover yeast, which they used to make leavened bread. The Jews were prohibited from consuming anything leavened and were told to remove any trace of yeast in their homes.
In Iran, the whole house is meticulously cleaned just before Nowruz, the Persian new year. The holiday falls on the first day of spring. Catholics, meanwhile, clean their homes particularly their altars before the Lenten season.
Benefits of Spring Cleaning
The most obvious reason why you need to do general cleaning every now and then is that a clean home is a healthier and nicer place to live in. But other than tradition, why do it in spring. The answer is pretty simple, really.
For one, the days are longer in spring. That means more time to clean up before it gets dark. The sunlight also provides the body with energy making you physically and mentally capable of performing the task. Perhaps most importantly, the weather isn’t too hot or too cold.
Spring Cleaning Kitchen Tips
Keeping the kitchen spic and span even if it’s not time for spring cleaning yet is a no-brainer. The kitchen is where you prepare and cook your food. You want this area to be squeaky clean so your food won’t get contaminated with the nasty stuff like E. coli and salmonella.
Kitchen Sink and Countertop
The kitchen needs to be regularly cleaned thoroughly since you handle your raw meat, dirty dishes and food scarps here. Microbes have likely set up camp on your kitchen sink and counter. If you have a microscope, you can probably see these nasty organisms residing in crevices and other places.
A combination of baking soda and rubbing alcohol or water will help clean your sink. Just mix the two to make a paste then spread it over your sink. Polish your sink with a sponge ad be amazed with the shiny results.
Make your own all-purpose cleaner using citrus fruits and vinegar. Collect the peels of oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruits. Fill half of a Mason jar with the rinds then add vinegar. Cover the jar and let it sit for about two weeks. Strain and pour the liquid into a spray bottle. Use it to clean surfaces.
Obviously, the garbage disposal is something you need to clean regularly. Admit it though. You’re not too keen on doing it, especially when a horrid odor starts to develop. Fortunately, there are easy ways to clean your garbage disposal.
One is to use ice cubes, lemon, baking soda and bleach. Drop around six ice cubes into the garbage disposal along with a few slices of lemon, a tablespoon of baking soda, and one teaspoon of bleach.
The ice cubes are meant to break up or dislodge the food buildup in the unit. The lemon slices will counter the stinky smell while the baking soda and bleach will disinfect the garbage disposal.
As you can imagine, this kitchen cleaning tip is pretty easy. All you have to do is dump everything into the disposal before turning it on. You don’t need running water at this stage. Just wait until the grinding stops and then flush it with cold water for half a minute.
This simple spring cleaning hack is also very safe and affordable since you likely already have what you will need. There’s no need to buy any of those expensive chemical-laced garbage disposal cleaners.
The secret to a clean microwave oven is to never use it. Just kidding. Keeping your microwave clean is actually a tad troublesome since you have to do it every few days. That is, if you regularly use it.
Remove those unsightly splatters with a few simple cleaning hacks. First, combine a few tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and a cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl. You can also use a combination of one cup water and some slices of lemon, orange or lime for your DIY microwave cleanser.
Place the bowl in the microwave and turn it on at high. Take as many minutes as needed to boil the solution. The steam will loosen the gunk making it easier to clean it up. Once done, let the microwave cool for about 5 minutes. Take the bowl out then use a sponge to wipe the inside.
Pots, Pans and Baking Sheets
Don’t you just hate burnt pots and pans? Once you burn or scratch a Teflon pan, you should just throw it out. Don’t bother cleaning it since it’s not safe to use anymore. The bonding agent used in the non-stick pan is not ideal for human consumption.
A burnt stainless steel pan, however, can still be used for cooking or boiling. However, the black residue is unappetizing. To get rid of the burnt parts, you will need baking soda, vinegar and water.
Pour one cup each of vinegar and water in the burnt pan or pot. Bring it to a boil then remove from the heat. Add two tablespoons of baking soda and wait for the fizz to be over. Pour the vinegar solution into the sink then start scrubbing with a scouring pad. In case you don’t get everything out, add more baking soda. Keep scrubbing until the pan is clean.
For baking sheets, clean them with a mixture of baking soda and water. Combine half a cup each and spread it over your baking sheet. Wait for 30 minutes then scrub the gunk off. Rinse and dry.
Don’t wait for spring to clean your cutting boards. They’re some of the dirtiest things in your home. Bacteria thrive on its surface, particularly in those tiny cuts you make each time you use your board. Wash your cutting board in hot and soapy water after using it.
While spring cleaning, wash your boards thoroughly and pat them try with paper towel. Then take them out and place under direct sunlight for a couple of hours. It’s not as hot as summer so this is a good time to do some disinfecting. Don’t leave them out too long, though. Extreme heat or prolonged exposure may damage your boards, especially the wooden ones.
Sponges and Dishtowels
As a prepper, you should have ample supply of bleach stored at home or in a storage unit. There are plenty of survival uses of bleach but the most significant is that it can be used to sterilize water and make it safe to drink. Bleach can also be used to clean fruits and vegetables.
Bleach is also pretty useful during your spring cleaning adventure. You can dilute it in water and use the solution to clean practically anything. A solution of 3/4 cup bleach and one gallon water can kill bacteria in dirty sponges. Just soak your sponge for a few minutes before rinsing. You can also dry the sponge under the sun for extra measure.
Don’t be surprised but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention wants you to clean your refrigerator properly, particularly if you have recalled food stored in there. Yep, the CDC is the same government agency that is helping the country deal with the coronavirus and other dangerous viruses. That detail should convince you to take fridge cleaning seriously.
Empty your Fridge
Take everything out of your fridge so you can clean the inside thoroughly. Place your perishables, especially raw meat, in a cooler to keep them from spoiling in case it takes you too long to clean up.
Use Homemade Cleansers
You don’t want chemical-based cleaning products anywhere near your refrigerator and your food for that matter. To safely clean your fridge, use natural homemade cleansers. In a bowl, mix one part baking soda and 7 parts hot water then pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture all around your empty fridge. Let it settle for a while before wiping the surfaces clean with a dish towel. For crevices, you can use an old toothbrush to scrub them clean before wiping dry.
Check the Expiration Dates
Once you’re done cleaning, it’s time to put the contents back. Check the expiry or best before date of each item. Throw away those that have already expired. Foods that are past the best before date should still be safe to consume. Their taste may not be that good, though. If there are molds or a nasty odor, however, throw them away.
Disinfect the Handle
The coronavirus pandemic thought us that we can easily get sick if we touch something that a sick person touched before us. Suffice to say, high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, elevator buttons and phones are some of the filthiest things around.
In the kitchen, the refrigerator handle is one of the most oft-touched surfaces. Give it a thorough cleaning this spring using a vinegar and water solution. A paste made from baking powder and water will also do the job. Another spring cleaning kitchen hack is to soak the handle in anti-bacterial cleansing tablets or denture cleaners.
Vacuum the Coils
Unplug the fridge and vacuum those coils. You can also use a condenser coil brush. The dust and dirt that accumulate on the refrigerator coils keep it from running as efficiently as possible. They need to be cleaned at least once a year.
Organize your Fridge
One important tip to keep your fridge clean is to organize the contents. Aside from food items and beverages, most people stuff their fridge with condiments, medicines, and even makeup. If you don’t organize, you’ll likely end up with spoiled or expired food.
Keep the perishable contents in food storage bins or Ziploc bags and label them. You can also write down the date when you made the food or the expiry date if applicable. This way, you can easily know what you have in your fridge and when you need to consume or use them before they go bad. Use masking tape and marker for labeling. There are also removable freezer labels if you prefer something fancier.
Hard Water Stains
Those hard water stains on faucets and other fixtures are quite annoying. No matter how often you clean your faucets, they always end up looking dirty because of the stains. Luckily, there are a number of spring cleaning kitchen tips and hacks you can use. These hacks also work on shower glass doors and even toilet bowls.
Cleaning agents containing hydrochloric acid, phosphoric acid, or sulfuric acid are effective against hard water stains. However, these acid cleaners can be hazardous. You need to dilute them properly and ventilate the area to lessen the risks. Also, use proper protective gear such as gloves, safety glasses, and respirator. Wear old long-sleeved shirt and pants that you can afford to get dirty.
For those who prefer not to handle chemicals, there are natural spring cleaning kitchen tips and hacks you can use to deal with hard water stains. One is to use lemon or lime. Slice the fruit in half then rub it on the water marks then rinse after 10 minutes or so. Wipe the area clean afterwards. The citric acid from the juice works the same way as the acids in cleaning agents.
You’ll end up using too many lemons if you use them on shower doors and bath tubs. A cheaper cleaning hack is to use vinegar instead. Combine half a cup each of vinegar and water in a spray bottle then spray it on the glass door. Wait for several minutes before wiping the solution off with a clean, absorbent cloth.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
Make a paste out of vinegar and baking soda and spread it over the affected areas. Let the paste settle for at least 15 minutes. Scrub and rinse thoroughly then wipe dry immediately after.
For toilet bowls, use a solution of 1/4 baking soda or borax and 1 cup of water. Pour it into the toilet bowl and wait for at least a couple of hours. Use a toilet brush to scrub the bowl clean. Don’t forget to wear gloves, mask and eye protection. You don’t want any of that dirty water splashing all over you.
This is just a short list of spring cleaning kitchen tips and hacks that we have compiled. There are plenty more cleaning tips you can use to turn your kitchen into the best version it can be. Check out Gentleman Pirate Club for more of such tips.