Keeping the Kitchen Clean

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Have you fallen behind in cleaning your kitchen? Do you find it difficult to keep your kitchen space clean? Does it feel like as soon as you clean you find it has gotten dirty within a matter of minutes?

Though the challenges of life will sometimes hit us over the head, our kitchens don’t have to be one of those challenges. N.C. Cooperative Extension has a few ways to help you keep your kitchen clean and organized.

Organization Tips

  • Keep “Mise Place” at the forefront not only for cooking but for keeping the kitchen organized. In most kitchens, everything usually has a place, but many of us don’t put things back while we are cooking. If we get in a habit of putting things back as we cook, it makes the kitchen a little easier to clean. You will also know exactly where things are which will prepare you for your next cooking venture.
  • Organize your cleaning methods by starting from the top and moving to the bottom. This method allows you to decrease your chances of contamination as well as save time by getting the debris and gunk off of the counters and cabinets first.
  • When spills and incidents occur, clean them up right away. If you wait, a stain may settle or the item may harden on the surface. Cleaning right away can prevent a headache later.
  • Organize your schedule so that you can clean those parts of your kitchen that may take more than just a wipe down. Plan a time to clean things such as the stove, oven, refrigerator, dishwasher, microwave, etc. Also, make sure to clean behind and below big and small appliances where dust and debris will usually build up.

Cleaning Tips

  • Know when to use natural or “green” cleaning products and when to use other types of cleaning products. A lot of green cleaning products such as white vinegar, baking soda, borax, lemon, and vegetable oil-based soap will go a long way when it comes to cleaning; but some of the heavier jobs may require a stronger cleaner. Some of these stronger cleaners include ammonia, bleach, window cleaners, and Lysol. Though they are stronger, they can create strong odors, irritate eyes, irritate the skin, and irritate sinuses. If used in the wrong way they could be harmful. Remember, even the “green” cleaning products are not 100% safe and they can be harmful if used the wrong way or in excess. Here are some cleaners that may be helpful in keeping your kitchen clean.
    • Vinegar: Used to clean surfaces and remove hard water deposits.
    • Lemon: Used to clean surfaces while adding a nice scent.
    • Baking Soda: Cuts grease, cleans oven spills, and absorbs odors.
    • Borax: good all-purpose cleaner.
    • Chlorine Bleach: Used to remove stains and disinfect surfaces.

Sanitizing Tips

Now that we’ve uncovered cleaning let’s talk a little bit about disinfecting and sanitizing. Sanitizing and cleaning are different. Cleaning usually involves removing dirt and debris while sanitizing involves disinfecting and killing microorganisms. The most effective cleaners for reducing microbial contamination in the kitchen were chlorine-based cleaner, vinegar, and pine disinfectant cleaner. So, to properly clean and sanitize surfaces in the kitchen you will need to follow these steps.

  1. Clean surfaces and appliances to remove dirt and debris. Allow surfaces and appliances to dry.
  2. Sanitize surfaces and appliances to kill microbes. All sanitizers and disinfectants have a contact time with surfaces, so make sure to read the label to find out how to properly apply the solution and how much time it needs to be on the surface. Allow the surface to dry.

Look at these recipes below if you would like to use more “green” recipes.

  • All-Purpose Cleaner: 3 tbsp. white vinegar, 1/2 tsp. washing soda, 1/2 tsp. vegetable oil-based liquid soap, 2 cups hot water.
  • Floor Cleaner: 1 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup washing soda, 1 tbsp. vegetable oil-based liquid soap, 2 gallons hot water.
  • Oven Cleaner: 2 tbsp. vegetable oil-based liquid soap, 2 tbsp. borax.
  • Refrigerator Cleaner: 2 tbsp. baking soda, 1-quart warm water.
  • Garbage Disposal Cleaner: 1 cup ice, lemon, or orange rind.

Sources: The University of Georgia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Pamela R. Turner, Ph.D, Associate Professor and Extension Housing Specialist. Sharon M.S. Gibson (Retired) Public Service Associate and extension Multicultural Specialist.

Georgia Healthy Housing