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the haas machine: Creating Clean #3: Kitchen Cleaning

Monday, April 15, 2013

Creating Clean #3: Kitchen Cleaning

Welcome back to my mini series on creating clean! If you haven't read the first post on planning, preparing & cleaning recipes or the second post on kitchen organization, make sure you get yourself caught up. Today we're going to get down to business & talk about my system for cleaning our kitchen.

Cleaning is really a lot of work. I will never understand people who really love to clean (contrary to what you’re reading, I would still way rather spend my quality alone time doing something else). I just really enjoy being in clean spaces. I find that I’m more productive, creative, & sane when I’m surrounded by clean, so I try to shoot for a clean-ish house whenever possible. Obviously, my definition of clean has changed since having a busy toddler around, but I still am determined to do my best at getting things clean enough.

Some of these things I do daily or weekly, others I do every month or every couple of months. As discussed in my first post on planning, it really helps me to put these things on my google calendar & set it up to repeat so I won’t have to think about when the last time I cleaned the fridge. Plus, it allows me to ignore the charred on mess in the oven because I know that I have a scheduled time to work on it later. It’s a win-win for me.

If you’re not a scheduling kind of person, you’ll just have to work out a system that helps you the best (I’m not sure what that would be since I find I’m most productive when things are scheduled). Some people clean a little bit every day so that they don't spend one whole day cleaning, others don't clean until they absolutely have to. The key is finding a sustem that works for you.

Make sure you check my first post on all of the recipes I use for cleaning. Here is basically what I clean, how often, & how:

Oven (daily wipe down, actual cleaning once a month)
  • Remove racks. Sprinkle about a ½ cup of baking soda on the bottom of the oven & spray with white vinegar (it will foam). Let sit over night & then wipe out in the morning with a few clean rags & water.
  • We have a glass top oven, so to the best way to keep it clean is to wipe it immediately when there are any spills. If you have a life, you will forget to do this & need to do some more heavy duty cleaning. I don’t use any of the creams that the company suggests (too expensive, too many chemicals), & instead also use baking soda & vinegar. I sprinkle just enough baking soda to cover the spots, then spray white vinegar on top & place a wet rag over the entire area & let it sit for about 30 minutes. Then I wipe it clean with a fresh rag & water. You may need to repeat depending on the amount of stains. 

Sprinkle baking soda on nasty spots
 Spray white vinegar enough to wet the baking soda
 Cover with wet rags & let it sit at least 15-30 minutes
Wipe clean!
  • For non-glass top ovens, simply soak the grill grates with baking soda & hot, hot water. You may need to use steel wool to scrape off the stuck on food (make sure you get plain steel wool though—nothing that contains cleaners in them like SOS pads). You can find steel wool at hardware stores. 
  • For the front door, I wipe it down with a spray bottle of white vinegar & a clean, dry rag. 
Dishwasher (every 2-3 months)
  • I first remove any chunks of food that I can see & then run a hot, sanitize cycle (with no dishes) with a cup of white vinegar. When that’s done, I sprinkle a cup of baking soda on the bottom & then run it through a short, hot cycle. 
  • For the front door, I wipe it down with a spray bottle of white vinegar & a clean, dry rag. 
Microwave (once a month)
  • I put 1 cup of white vinegar in a bowl & turn the microwave on for 5 minutes on high. Once it shuts off, I carefully remove the bowl of vinegar & take a clean, lightly damp rag & rinse out the insides of the microwave. The vinegar loosens all the stuck on food chunks so they are easy to wipe away.
Refrigerator (once a month)
  • I remove everything (everything!) from my fridge out onto my kitchen table. I toss any food that is old & expired. I make note of any condiments or staples that we are running low of or things I need to make. 
  • I wipe down the inside of the fridge by using a spray bottle of white vinegar & then using a clean, dry rag, wipe all the surfaces. I remove the drawers & give them a good rinsing in the sink & dry them off with a clean towel. 
  • Once everything is cleaned & dry, I put the food back. 
  • I also take off all of the magnets & things on the front of the fridge & wipe it down with a spray bottle of white vinegar & a clean, dry rag. 
Sink (porcelain sink) (once a week)
  • I am a big fan of Bon Ami. It’s the one cleaner I actually buy. I remove all dishes & the dry rack & any visible food & then I sprinkle a little onto the sink. I spray a little bit of white vinegar on it & let it sit for 10-15 minutes & then scrub with either a scrubby sponge or for more heavy duty cleanings, some steel wool & then rinse. 
  • The best way to keep your sink clean is to not let dirty, wet dishes pile in there for days on end. Either pile your dishes in stacks on your counter, next to the sink, or immediately put them in your dishwasher. It also helps to wash the dishes every night. My husband & I take turns doing this so they don’t pile up. 
Counter tops (daily wipe down, once a week more intense cleaning)
  • I use the disinfectant cleaning spray on all the surfaces in the kitchen—countertops, table, Ruby’s highchair, door knobs, microwave, etc. 
  • For more intense cleanings, I move all of the appliances & other items that have gathered on the counters & give everything an official scrub down. 
Floors (kitchen floor gets swept daily & washed weekly, all other floors get swept & washed weekly)
  • I move everything off of the floor that’s possible to move & isn’t ridiculous (i.e. I don’t move the huge bookshelf in our kitchen, but I do move our kitchen table & stools out of the way) & then sweep everything after I’ve cleaned the sink & counter tops. 
  • I use the floor cleaner mixture in a bucket, along with 3-4 clean rags. I dip the rag into the cleaner, ring it out, & get on my hands & knees & scrub away (invest in some nice rubber gloves). I use a fresh rag when I need more water to keep the soapy water clean (I used to use one rag per room, but would need to change the water bucket several times because it got dirty). Then I hang all of the rags to dry on a drying rack when I’m done (I typically use 4 rags for my kitchen floor alone). 
Garbage bin (once a month or as needed)
  • I remove the bag of garbage & then give the bin a good rinsing (outdoors is preferable, but in the winter, we do this in the basement). After it’s rinsed, put one cup of white vinegar & a few squirts of dish soap in it & then fill it with hot, hot water. Let it sit for 30 or so minutes & then dump, rinse,  & let it air dry. Make sure it’s completely dry before you put a new bag in, or it will get nasty real fast. 
Kitchen towels (once a week)
  • I wash all of our rags, dish cloths, & towels in a separate load. I wash them all on hot & then put white vinegar in the rinse cycle to keep them from getting musty. In the summer, I dry them for about 20 minutes in the dryer & then stick them on the clothes rack outside to finish drying (only because I don't like "crunchy" towels). In the winter, I dry them all the way inside. 
*Most of my cleaning methods have come from the book, "Organic Housekeeping" by Ellen Sandbeck (an incredible resource from a lovely Duluth native!), but also from these fine sources:
That’s it! That is my basic cleaning methods for the kitchen. How do you keep your kitchen clean? I'd love to hear, so please comment below!

If you haven't checked out my master spring/fall cleaning list, it's available for you here. Stay tuned for the last post in the series: Bedroom & Bathroom Cleaning!

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