Kitchen Disasters Solved With Ease
It Doesn't Have To Be So Hard...
So, you want to know how to clean your kitchen efficently and keep it under control? Today, most families have very little time to do the cleaning that they would really like because of busy work schedules, our messy children and pets as well as extra curricular activities. The thought of the task can also be part of the reason families prefer to order take-out, eat out more, or even avoid cooking more complete meals. There is no reason why you can't cook the meals you like, the way you want and make clean up a breeze as well. For many however, the damage is already done and it seems like everyday you are facing a cleaning diema. Here we will discuss some easy fixes when the mess gets out of hand, the proper order to ensure things get done efficently, keeping your mess under control while you cook, and the problems that can come about when letting things get out of hand.
Now, before you head out to your local grocery store to stock up on tons of the most expensive cleaning products, know that you can solve most of your concerns with things you may already have laying around. Some things that will always be helpful to keep around are:
- Vinegar - Plain white (The jug works well)
- Anti bacterial dish soap
- Lemon Juice
- Baking soda
- Table Salt (Large cylinder type container)
- Dish Towel
- An old T-shirt that can be ripped up into useable pieces (optional)
- A mop ( Pref. a Swiffer Wet Jet)
- Broom and dust pan
- A bucket
- Bowl (You don't mind cleaning with) (optional)
- Small box or basket
Now that we have our supplies, we need to understand the order.
- We always work from the top down no matter what room you are cleaning so as not to create double work. For instance, if you clean the kitchen floor and then wipe down the counters, chances are you are going to have another little mess on your hands soon.
- You also want to make sure you "pre-treat". Things that need to be pre-treated are, the stove, microwave, refrigerator shelves that have spills, and dishes with baked on or hard to remove food.
Step 1: When entering your kitchen the first thing you want to do is take your garbage can and do a clean sweep of ANYTHING and everything that needs to be thrown away. Don't discriminate!!! Often messy kitchens are nothing more than a ton of little messes. Throw away old napkins, paper, juice boxes from the kids, old food in the fridge etc. Let it all go! While you are making your rounds take pots and pans off the stove and dishes laying around and put them in the sink or dishwasher.
Step 2: Make sure anything that shouldn't be out isn't. If you find items that shouldn't be in the kitchen throw them in your box or basket to be re-distributed later. If you have recycables a nice trick is to reserve a space under your sink.
- You can use an old cardboard box with a garbage bag inside to hold them until garbage day.
Looks a little easier to work with now that you have a clean pallet doesn't it?
Step 3: Now you pre-treat and here's how. You will need your lemon juice, baking soda and salt. Remove the burner grates and sprinkle a liberal amount of salt and baking soda on the stove top concentrating mostly on any stains. Be sure to avoid the actual burners themselves. Next pour lemon juice wherever you have the salt and baking soda. Now let it sit and move on.
Step 4: Next move on to the Microwave and do the same thing inside you can also form a paste with the three and on the rough side of the sponge apply it to the inner sides just enough to coat any splattered stains and let it sit. Do the same inside the fridge.
- If you use a George Forman or other table top grill a nice trick for getting this clean is simple vinegar. Turn it on and once it heats up, pour a liberal amount of vinegar over the grill area. The vinegar will cut the grease and cooked on food and it will slide off much easier. (For better results, let the grill hang over the side of the empty sink. This will cut down on cleanup.
Step 5: Now you are ready to tackle the dishes. If you have a dishwasher, count your blessings and load it up. If you don't, tackle the dishes letting them drain off to the side. Adding a little vinegar to your dish water can help cut the grease as well. Be sure to empty drain traps of food and debris into the garbage
- If you have baking dishes that seem to be bringing tears to your eyes, a neat little trick (but one that takes a few hours) is to take a fabric softner sheet; like the one you would use in the dryer - the stronger the smell the faster it seems to work. Fill your dish or pan with HOT water and add the sheet to the water and set it aside. The softening agent in the fabric softener sheet will soften the baked and cooked on food and wipe off like a dream. This works best at night. After the dinner dishes have been done do this before bed time and the next day the dish will be a breeze to clean.
Step 6: Now that you have finished the dishes it might be a good idea to diffuse any odors that may be coming from the drain. When food gets caught down there, the odors can truly clear your sinuses so a great way to get rid of this is with salt, baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle the salt and baking soda around your drain as well as in your drain. Next pour the vinegar in the sink letting it flow freely down the drain. You only need about a cup or so. You will notice things will get a little bubbly but there is nothing to worry about. Next use a sponge to clean the sink and follow up with hot water. It's very important to rinse with hot water especially if you have a stainless steel sink. The salt can cause corroding if it is allowed to sit over time. This takes only a couple of minutes to do.
Step 7: Now go back to the areas you pre-treated following the same order that you started. It is helpful to have a nice big bowl or bucket of slightly soapy or vinegar water for rinsing. You will notice that your stove is much easier to clean. There may be some spots that will require a little scrubbing, but it will be minimal. Be sure to use your water to "rinse wipe" after. Do the same in the microwave and the fridge. (Note if you make a little mess on the floor... LEAVE IT! don't get caught doing other tasks while you are in the middle of one.)
Step 8: If you have washed dishes by hand, go back and dry them stacking them as you go to be put away quicker. If you used a dishwasher (not your child) make sure to put the dishes away as soon as they are finished.
Step 9: Once you have finished it's time to wipe down the counters, table and appliance surfaces. This includes the outside of the fridge, microwave, sides of the stove etc... Don't be afraid to wipe things off to the floor. (Especially since you haven't cleaned the floor yet.) There is no need to take extra time trying to scoop up the mess in your hands, but if it bothers you, bring the garbage can right under the counter top and wipe your mess into it.
Step 10: Now sweep up the entire floor; paying attention to areas near the kick plate of the cabinets and under, behind and on the sides of stoves and fridges where you can reach. Don't neglect under the table if you have one as this is were a lot of food is forgotten. Once you've put the last bit of into the garbage, remove the garbage bag but don't replace it yet. Sprinkle a little baking soda in the bottom. (You'll see why in a moment.)
- Now it's time to mop! The Swiffer Wet Jet can be your best friend, but you can also do just as good with some vinegar water. If you want to use a floor cleaner... by all means, but if you don't have one a bucket of hot slightly soapy vinegar water works wonders. (When you are finished with this water, don't toss it, put it into the garbage can that just removed the bag from and let it sit!)
- Be sure to rinse with either plain water or hot vinegar water without the soap.
- Once you have finished this, go back and using an old rag (an old T-shirt works well) Wipe out the garbage can. Because of the vinegar, you won't need to do much scrubbing. Empty all old dirty water into a nearby toilet if available and use another rag to do a quick dry of the inside. (Don't worry it does not need to be perfect.) Now replace your bag.
Final Step: Take the time to replace napkins and paper towels, hang oven mitts and dish towels in their proper place. Using a dish towl or old clean rag, shine up your faucets or other stainless steel handles and don't forget to return the lost items you put into the box or basket to their proper rooms and owners.
Now step back and take a glance. You should be proud of yourself!
There are some things you can do to help avoid the kitchen getting out of control.
Keep a small bag under the counter for your lost items - things that don't need to be in the kitchen. Every night solicit the help of a family member to return them to their rightful owners or.
Always clean as you go! If you make a point of washing a dish here, or a bowl there, you won't feel overwhelmed after you finished preparing dinner.
Clean dishes every night before bed. Never allow dishes to sit over night unless you are TRULY soaking a dish that you can't get clean. (Standing dish water is a magnet for bugs especially fruit flies. Ever wonder why you have a ton of fruit flies in the kitchen, but have no fruit? This is usually why. If not, also avoid having potted plants in the kitchen. This is another attractor of fruit flies and possibly other bugs looking for a water source.
- A quick tip on how to trap these nasty fruit flies is fill a small dish with a little fruit juice mixed with dish soap. If you have an over the counter night-light, put your dish right near this. (Be sure to put it out of the reach of little ones) Leave out overnight and you'll be surprised at how many you've caught by morning.
Make sure you keep a lid on the garbage can. This helps with odors, bugs, and will help with the overall clean look of your kitchen.
Try not to let empty cans or bottles gather on the counter tops or on top of the fridge. By keeping a homemade recycling box under your sink you help keep the kitchen clutter free and make it easier for yourself on garbage day. Rinse your bottles and cans before tossing them in, and when it's time to take the weekly gargage out, it can be easily transported to your recycling bin outside. Reuse the bag you lined it with
Don't let spills go untouched. If anyone spills, even the slightest bit make sure to clean it up quickly before it sets and becomes a scrubbing mission.
Keep your counter tops as clear as possible. Don't let personal belongings, knick knacks (no matter how cute you believe they are) mail, papers, and other items crowd the counter tops. Your kitchen may be a lot messier than it really needs to be because of the things you keep on the counter.
Try keeping toasters and other appliances stored away unless needed. This is especially important if you have very little counter space.
To avoid a smelly garbage, you can throw smaller food items in the toilet which can be flushed away. Some smelly examples are:
- Raw chicken or fish scraps
- Lima Beans
- Greens or Cabbage
Just to name a few. We all can remember a time where we smelled a piece of spoiled raw food... Brings back bad memories doesn't it?
Never throw away spoiled fruit, fruit cores, or peels directly into the garbage. This will defeat the purpose of your efforts to rid yourself of fruit flies. Even with a cover, you will notice that once you open it up (especially in the Summertime) that they will fly right out. Putting your old fruit into a small old grocery store bag and tying it up before putting it into the main garbage bag can help tremendously.
By following these simple tips, you will not only cut down on your cleaning time, but you will also find that you are able to spend more time with your family. Dinnertime can be more delightful and your whole family can feel better about their surroundings. You can use many of these tips for other rooms as well remembering to customize it according to your needs. Now it's time to sit back and relax and enjoy your new found freedom because cleanup doesn't have to feel like a chore and your once kitchen disaster no longer has to apply to you.
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