It's Spring! How to clean your kitchen the green way.
The flowers are blooming, and the birds are singing - spring is here. To wash away the rainy, winter blues, it is time to tackle the task of spring cleaning. In the Bay area, many homeowners make a genuine effort to go green, and many of the products on the market are full of unnecessary and unhealthy chemicals. Use this guide to help you revive and freshen up your kitchen with a deep clean.
Kitchen ceiling, corners, baseboards and walls
Begin by dusting from top to bottom, left to right to remove any cobwebs, and then go back and spot wash any grease or grime with a mixture of Dawn dish soap and water. Use a clean, damp rag to wipe off any artwork and then return it to the walls.
Start cleaning out your cabinets and drawersby removing mismatched lids, bowls, and dishes, as well as any items you no longer use. Then, using a natural all-purpose cleaner, wipe out the interior and exterior of your cabinets and drawers using a microfiber cloth. If there is any stubborn grease remaining, use the mixture of Dawn and water to remove. Once the cabinets are clean, you may want to remove or replace any shelf lining, and then reorganize the contents of your cabinets.
Recipe for green all-purpose cleaner: Combine ½ cup of vinegar, ¼ cup of baking soda, and ½ gallon of warm water and shake. Add 20 drops of your favorite citrus based essential oil for a fresh smell.
Kitchen sinks, tile, and counter tops
Over time, you may find that your sinks, tile, or countertops have developed rusty spots or moldy buildup. Using the all-purpose cleaner, wipe down these areas and then inspect them. If needed, treat rust spots with rust remover and mildew with a spray.
Recipe for green rust remover: Put salt directly on the rust spot, squeeze fresh lime juice until the salt is soaked. Let it sit for 3 hours and scrub.
Recipe for green mold spray: In a spray-bottle, mix 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide and 2 cups of water. Spray directly on moldy areas, let it sit for 15 minutes, and then rinse.
The refrigerator and dishwasher
With the refrigerator unplugged, vacuum the coils, pull the refrigerator out, and clean behind it with a vacuum and a mop. Remove the contents, checking the dates of all items and removing those items that are no longer usable. Using the green all-purpose spray, wipe out the interior of the refrigerator and freezer. Pay particular attention to the crispers. This can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. Additionally, clean the crispers with a second scrub using the green mold spray. Return the contents of your refrigerator and freezer in an organized manner.
To clean the dishwasher, make sure it is empty and that any excess food or debris is removed from the drain. Spray the receptacle with the all-purpose cleaner and wipe off any buildup. Fill the detergent receptacle with either vinegar or baking soda, and then run the dishwasher while it is empty.
Kitchen rugs, drapes, and fabrics
First these items should be vacuumed and inspected. Drapes can be removed from the window and fluffed in the dryer with a damp towel for ten minutes to remove dust buildup. Stains should be treated with a stain remover and an odor neutralizing spray can be used to freshen up these items.
Recipe for green carpet stain remover: Mix 1 cup of vinegar with 1 cup of water in a spray-bottle. Spray it on any stains and let it sit for ten minutes. Lightly scrub with a sponge or brush.
Recipe for green odor neutralizing spray: Mix 1 ¾ cups of distilled water, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice in a spray bottle. Shake well before use.
Coffee pots and small appliances
Coffee pots can get nasty. For a traditional pot, mix ice, lemon juice, and salt in the carafe and shake it around to remove stains and then thoroughly rinse. Clean out the filter holder and machine with the green mold spray. For Keurig style coffee makers, remove the water basin and filters and clean the entire machine with the green mold spray. Follow the manufacturer’s instruction on cleaning and/or replacing the filters. Inspect and wipe down the toaster, blender, and microwave with the all-purpose cleaner.
Tackling these tasks will revive your kitchen and give you peace of mind for months to come.
The contributing author, Jeni C. Powell, is a freelance writer who specializes in blog posts, website content, summary and analysis, and editing. Her industry related strengths include Marketing, Education, Design, Construction, Legal, and Parenting. Her bio is available at http://jenifreelance.writerfolio.com.