Our kitchens are the centers of our lives. We cook, talk, and even eat in our kitchens. Maybe that's why getting yourself motivated to clean your kitchen is 99% of the battle (and having to use elbow grease is the other 1%).
The reason for this is simple: Of all the rooms in a house, the kitchen has the most traffic, use, and just plain dirt!
To begin with, it can be very helpful to have a simple checklist handy of all the things you need to do so that you can mark them off as you go. You should also have a distraction to make the time go by faster. Listen to music, a book on tape, or have a TV program playing in the background.
When cleaning your kitchen, always start at the top of the room and work your way down, which saves a lot of time. But when washing the walls, work from the bottom up to avoid streaking.
Let's start at the highest points. Each kitchen is arranged differently, so be sure to adjust these hints to suit yours:
Begin with the tops of your cabinets and the top of the refrigerator, followed by any other "higher ups" that you see (except the walls - save those for next to last).
Next concentrate on the hardest things to clean, including the oven, dishes, sink, countertops, etc.
Sometimes it's easiest to start in one corner of the room and work your way around in a circle. It will make things go by faster and easier if you do the hardest things first, and save the easiest for last.
Using a good all-purpose cleaner, wipe down the top of the range. If you have a gas range, take the burner grates off and soak them in a solution of water and oven cleaner before rinsing and replacing them.
If you have a self-cleaning oven, now is the time to turn it on and let it clean itself while you skip to the next item. If you are not so lucky, then the best cleaner to use is either a commercial oven cleaner, or a paste of baking soda, borax, comet, and water.
Rub this paste into the walls of the oven, and then wipe them clean with a damp rag. It may take a bit of elbow grease in some places, but it will be worth it in the end. Don't forget to clean the window if your oven has one. Finally, wipe down the outside with an all-purpose cleaner.
Next, move on to the refrigerator. Begin by wiping down the sides and the door. Then remove everything from inside. Yes, I did say everything!
Using an all-purpose cleaner (or a mixture of water and baking soda), clean the sides, shelves, and veggie drawers! If the drawers are really messy or something is caked on, the easiest way to clean them is to fill them with hot water, add a spot of bleach, and set them aside for an hour or so while you clean something else. Later, empty the drawers and wipe them clean. Finally, replace everything in the refrigerator, adding a small dish with baking soda in it to eliminate any odors.
Next, do the cabinets. Many people avoid cleaning out their cabinets because they assume it to be difficult, when in reality it isn't that hard at all. To keep your cabinets clean, it helps to buy low-cost non-slip rolls of cabinet liners. They come in tons of attractive colors. And they not only keep the shelves clean, but they also extend the life of your glasses, china, and fragile dishes.
To begin cleaning your cabinets, work on one at a time. Start by removing everything from the cabinet. Once you have everything out, wipe down the inside and lay down your matting if you opted to use it, or simply place everything back in the cabinet.
If there are any dirty dishes, tackle them next. Wash the smaller items first, followed by the mid-sized. Save the large and greasy items for last. If your kitchen is equipped with a double sink, fill one side with water and soap and use the other for rinsing. It saves a lot of time to do things this way instead of washing each dish separately.
Next, clean the countertops and everything on them separately. For kitchen countertops, an all-purpose cleaner with an added de-greaser is a plus. I like to use diluted Pine-Sol in a spray bottle.
Clean your microwave by placing water in a microwave safe bowl, bringing it to a boil, and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then remove the bowl and simply wipe the inside of the microwave clean.
After everything on the mid-level is finished, clean the walls by using a solution of 1/2 cup bleach to 1 gallon of water. Using a sponge or soft rag, wipe the walls down, starting at the bottom and working your way to the top. That way, if any water runs down, it won't leave those pesky streaks!
Now we're ready to clean the floors. If you have a wood floor, use your usual method. For vinyl flooring, I highly recommend using the Mop-and-Glo two-step method. They sell two bottles for the two steps. One step cleans the floor, and the other waxes and shines it.
If you wish to use a cheaper method, you can skip the first step by mopping the floor using a solution of 1 part ammonia to 2 parts water to remove old wax and residue. Then use a mop-n-glo style floor polisher.
That's it, you're finished! Your kitchen is now spotless! See how easy it was?
The beauty of cleaning your kitchen using this step-by-step process is that you can do it faster and easier than you could if you just jump around from task to task. Establish a sensible routine and your kitchen will always look great with a minimal amount of sweat!
Article courtesy of Stephanie Davies.
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