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Your kitchen cleaning tips

I'm curious to hear how everyone goes about cleaning his/her kitchen. Any tips or tricks would be appreciated.

Some of my regular kitchen cleaning routine include:

- Nuking the sponge in the microwave especially when it has that not properly dry smell
- Disinfecting and cleaning out fridge very regularly, but somehow not sure how to tackle the freezer
- Grinding lemons in the insinknerator (does not really "clean" but I really think this cleanse the odor in the kitchen)
- Choosing only Dawn dish soap as i don't feel that other soaps have the same grease-cutting strengths

What are your cleaning routine/tips/tricks? Do you make your own cleaning solution to disinfect your countertops (if so, how do you make it?)? Do you arrange or organize your kitchen a certain way? Do you use zip lock bags to seal everything or must you foil wrap everything to make sure the food is sealed properly? Basically, anything goes.. I am really curious and hoping to learn something new. Thank you!

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  1. I recently started using facecloths instead of a sponge and I change them frequently and wash them in the washing machine.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ecclescake

      I gave up sponges years ago, couldn't trust DH not to odd things (like wipe dust off his shoes) with them.

      Now I use dish rags (4 to a pack from Target) and bar towels. Both are white and get changed out every day. Used ones get washed in a bleach load.

      1. re: cleobeach

        When I'm ready to swap out a sponge for a new one I boil the dirty one to kill germs (we don't have a microwave,) and cut a corner off. The man knows that sponges with the corners cut are no longer dish sponges and can be used for other things (and that they are never used for dishes!)

    2. Use natural dish detergents if you want to avoid that nasty sponge smell.

        1. My primary strategy is to volunteer to cook so that spouse and kids have to do cleanup.

          Other than that, cover stuff cooked in the microwave to avoid splatters, clean as I go to avoid dish pile-ups, use plastic containers to store leftovers, purge uneaten mystery foods from the fridge on Sundays for Mon garbage pickup, prohibit eating in other parts of the house to avoid dishes all over hell's halfacre (kids rooms).

          Dogs do a good job at gobbling food bits off the floor.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tcamp

            People forgetting to cover food in the microwave is also one of my pet peeve. Back in college (and also now in the office), I couldn't stand looking at the inside without wanting to clean it (tried, no use).

          2. I have a grocery bag holder/dispenser I re-purposed to hold rags. It lives under the kitchen sink, attached to the inside of the cabinet door. As my wash cloths near the end of the usable life in the bathroom, I add them to the rag bin. I use them to wash dishes, wipe down surfaces, clean up spills... Then just toss in the washing machine and they get washed with my regular laundry.

            I'm not big on disinfecting everything. I wash my hand well after handling raw meat or poultry, and wash the cutting board and knife with the hottest water I can bear. Otherwise, I use a water/vinegar solution when cleaning most surfaces in the kitchen. I keep the water/vinegar in a spray bottle under the sink.

            I use mason jars with reusable/nonsealing lids to store most things in the fridge, and plastic bags for most things in the freezer.

            I organize things so I can fit as much stuff as possible in my tiny apartment kitchen, with things I use daily on the lowest shelves of overhead cabinets, and work up/down from there.

            The dishwasher in my apartment is awful. It desperately needs a rinse agent, but doesn't have a rinse agent dispenser. Instead, I fill the detergent well mostly with detergent, then top off with white vinegar. My dishes come out much cleaner/shinier then I do this.

            3 Replies
            1. re: mpjmph

              I'm moving towards natural cleaning products wherever possible. I clean the sink with vinegar and baking soda and put juiced lime and lemon wedges through the garburator. I have a natural degreaser product for heavier jobs. I only go to the toxic big guns if I feel a situation warrants it. A diluted vinegar-water solution maintains counter tops and table tops, cleans the floors and microwave, though I may go full strength to get the sticky stuff off. Baking soda and vinegar, along with a scrub sponge, leave my stainless steel sink shinier than Fantastic or Vim ever did. I use vinegar on my teapot, kettle, pots and pans to shine them up. I still use Windex to clean glass, but if I find a more eco-friendly product that does the job without leaving streaks, I'll promptly make the switch.

              I dislike using sponges, but I have them for their abrasive sides, which are preferable to SOS pads. They have short lives and get baths regularly. I use rags for everything else. They get washed regularly.

              1. re: 1sweetpea

                I need to try this vinegar solution. I don't know anyone who does this. Since I left home for school early in life, I didn't get to learn basic cleanings skills from them.

                1. re: chocomel

                  Vinegar is my primary cleaning liquid. My family was "green" long before it became trendy because being green in the sense of homemade cleaning products was frugal and frugal could have been the family name.

                  I was always taught that the acid is what killed the germs, something to do with destroying the cell walls. I use it full strength on the toilet seats and surrounding area - spray a good dose on and let it sit while I do the mirrors and such and then go back and wipe everything down.

                  For the kitchen, I have a spray bottle with a mix of water and vinegar (I never measure, I just eye-ball it) with a good squirt of dish detergent in it for the sink area, stove and counter tops.

                  I make my own window cleaner with rubbing alcohol. I know it can be made with vinegar but I just don't like the results from my attempts.

                  My husband HATES the smell of my beloved vinegar but I just ignore him. He is rarely around when I use it. The smell can be masked by adding essential oils such as orange or any citrus.

                  I scrub the sinks out with a baking soda/dish detergent paste. If I have borax on hand, I will use that instead of baking soda.

            2. Because I have very little counter space, I employ the "clean as you go" method when cooking. Sink filled with hot soapy water means that each thing i use can either be washed and rinsed, or placed in the dishwasher immediately. Then, when I've finished with the stove the grates etc get placed in that water for a little soak.
              By the time I've finished wiping up counters and stovetop, they are ready to be rinsed. Sink gets scrubbed and all is well. :) This tidiness is the ONLY advantage to such an unworkable kitchen.

              The floor is another matter..I don't keep up as well as I should. Maybe if I attached a cordless sweeper to the inside of a door I'd be more inclined to grab it and clean up.

              I have a sponge and a scrubby for the dishes but use dish towels and wash cloths for counters, sink polishing, and as pot holders. I buy cheap washcloths and prefer them because they're not too soft, there's some texture. I have loads of them so there's never a shortage, even if I'm behind on laundry. sigh. The Queens of Clean would have my head.

              To clean the microwave, nuke a small dish of vinegar for a minute or so to soften everything up, then it wipes clean easily.

              The fridge gets cleaned before grocery shopping so I can see what's there and how much room I have!

              I, too, like Dawn liquid dish soap. Our dishwasher does a lousy job, I have good luck using Finish Glass Magic. I'll have to try vinegar now.

              1. I use sponges that have a scrubby side, and usually have 2 or 3 out at a time. Every night one or two of them go into the dishwasher with the dishes, and the clean one that just came out of this morning's load is the one I use.

                For the glass cooktop, I love my single edge razor blades to get the burnt stuff off, then I use a gadget that holds a scrubby pad to scrub it down. It's easier on my hands, using the handle gadget, kind of like using a sanding block instead of just sandpaper when you're woodworking.

                1. All of the above plus:

                  -Keep a sink sponge and a floor sponge of different colors and not storing them near each other
                  -Soak sponges with Clorox Cleanup before nuking
                  -Wipe down all counters and the whole sink with Clorox Cleanup/paper towels after all raw meat/fish prep
                  -Don't let mystery containers or wrapped items disappear into the bowels of the fridge til they grow stuff; two days untouched leftovers are OUT
                  -Freezer purge; put contents into a large cooler or into the sink covered with newspaper, toss everything older than your dog, your kids, or you... scrub out and organize and toss old stuff mercilissly... do mini purges every month
                  -Eureka Boss or other cordless stick vacuum ... so easy to use, always charged and ready to go, whether crumbs, dry cat food crumbs, cooking mishaps, whatever is on the floor. Best result for minimal effort

                  1. Drink a glass of glass of wine and forget about it ;-)

                    In all seriousness, I'm a big fan of using baking soda and white vinegar to clean off the stove. I have a white stovetop, but I'm able to clean it every week or so with very little effort. I do try to clean as I cook, which helps a lot.

                    The benefit of a small kitchen is that there's less counter to clean, and no microwave to deal with (how do people get microwaves so clean? When I had one, it was always a disaster!). I do stick to a schedule for mopping the floors and cleaning out the fridge, which is key for me. I dislike cleaning, and my vision is poor enough that I don't always notice tiny dirt particles (or maybe my head is just in the clouds). But, when I clean with the frequency that clean people tell me is ideal, I'm not embarrassed to invite people into my kitchen.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: caseyjo

                      WRT microwave cleanliness... mine pretty much never gets dirty unless I do something dumb, like not pierce a spaghetti squash enough before nuking it. Do NOT do this at home! I cover everything with a paper towel or wax paper when nuking, so no splatters. If anything is cooked on in there, I nuke a cup of water (make sure to break the surface tension with a non metal utensil, the superheated exploding boiled microwave water turned out NOT to be the urban myth I thought it was) to boiling. Softens everything and you just wipe it off with a paper towel easily.

                      1. re: mcf

                        Yep, I use the steam clean method for the microwave. Instead of a cup of water, I microwave a wet rag. I leave the microwave closed long enough for the rag to cool down to safe handling temps, and the steam softens the gunk, then I use the same rag to wipe the inside clean. As a bonus for those who microwave sponges to disinfect them - leave the sponge in the microwave for a few minutes after the buzzer. The steam from the sponge will help soften the gunk!

                        1. re: mpjmph

                          Nuking them really dries them out fast, I find... even if I get them very wet. I like the rag idea, a wash cloth can hold a lot of water.

                      2. re: caseyjo

                        I haven't been using vinegar and am intrigued. Well, as intrigued as you can be about cleaning.

                        How do you clean the stove top? Mix the vinegar and baking soda and then wipe down? Sprinkle the soda on and then wipe down with vinegar?

                        1. re: karykat

                          In the kitchen, I have a "good" spray bottle. By good I mean I bought it from a cleaning supply company for a couple bucks. It has a nice adjustable nozzle and I just spray it on and let it soak while I go about the rest of my clean up. Then I go back and wipe off the stove top.

                          I am a messy cook and I almost never need to use anything else. For burnt on stains, I use a bit of baking soda on a bar rag.

                          I don't mix baking soda and vinegar for no reason other than I never saw the need.

                      3. I have two sponges in the kitchen at all times. One is in the dishwasher, and gets switched with the other one when the dishwasher is emptied. I do this even if it's more than one load a day. It is a habit that works well in keeping mildew off the sponges.

                        1. +2 for the maid. Also I use a 10:1 water to 3% hydrogen peroxide for cutting boards, counter tops and sinks. This gets done after every use/meal. I love Method cleaning products and use the dishwasner pellets, the laundry soap, hand soap and bathroom cleaner. (Maid likes them, too) Other than that, I don't use many products for disinfectant...just wash out the fridge and freezer with a baking soda/water mix to keep out the "smells". Sponge gets tossed every 10 days or so.