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Spring Cleaning Part 1

Spring cleaning is a tradition that allows us to freshen up our homes and get a head start on the hectic seasons of spring and summer. Cluttered cabinets, a dusty refrigerator top, and an oven that smokes every time you bake are not the components of an ideal kitchen. Of all the rooms in your home, the kitchen is the one that needs attention every day. These cleaning tips will help you tidy up your kitchen.

  1. For everyday cleaning, train your family members to clear and rinse their own plates after each meal and run a sink of hot soapy water before food preparation begins. Then, as mixing bowls, cutting boards, knives, etc, become dirty, quickly wash them to prevent food from drying and sticking. If you have a double sink with a garbage disposal on one side, use the disposal-free side. Keeping the disposal side free will allow you to scrape leftovers down the drain quickly while you work. Place dishes that need to soak into the water. Choose the dishes that are going to give you or your dishwasher the most trouble to get clean. Fill large dishes like pans and bowls with hot soapy water and set them on the counter to soak.

  2. While the dishes are soaking, go through the kitchen clearing out trash from your floor, countertop and cabinets. Gather all items that do not belong in the kitchen. Put these items into a basket that you can clean out on a weekly basis. If you have a helper, send him off to put away these items.

  3. Put away all of the items that belong in the kitchen, but are not in their proper places.

  4. Load the dishwasher or wash by hand.

  5. Wash down your countertop, appliances, and sink.

  6. Rinse out sponges and rags.

  7. Sweep and mop, or vacuum.

  8. Take out the trash. If the trash is full, or tomorrow is trash day, take the trash outside and reline the trash container so that it is ready for tomorrow's trash.

For deeper kitchen cleaning:

  1. Replace old kitchen sponges and rubber gloves.

  2. Wash down the countertops in your kitchen. Don't forget back splashes.

  3. Wash down the sink. If you have a garbage disposal now is the time to pour baking soda with warm water and/or a lemon peel down the disposal to freshen the drain. Put ice cubes through the disposal to sharpen the blades.

  4. To unclog a drain with baking soda, you'll need baking soda and white vinegar. Follow these steps:

  5. Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain followed by 1 cup of vinegar. Don't be surprised by the audible reaction that occurs. Baking soda is an alkaline substance and vinegar is a mild acetic acid. When the two are mixed, they react somewhat dramatically to neutralize one another and the fizzing action you hear is the reaction that will often dislodge clogs in your drain.

  6. After the fizzing subsides, wait 5 minutes before flushing the drain with 2 quarts of hot water. You can repeat this process several times if it is necessary.

  7. If this doesn't work, try pouring 1 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of salt down the drain. Let this mixture sit in the drain for several hours—overnight is best—before flushing the drain with 2 cups of boiling water. This works best if you do it right before bedtime since the drain won't be used until morning.

  8. Both the baking-soda-and-vinegar and the baking-soda-and-salt methods can be used to clean and freshen your garbage disposal. To remove odors in a disposal, reduce the required amounts of baking soda, water, vinegar, and salt by half and follow the directions above.

  9. Wipe down and clean the toaster, blender, and other small appliances. Wipe down and clean the microwave. If the spills in the microwave are fossilized, try bringing a water-filled glass cup to boiling in the microwave. The steam should help loosen the gunk. If the microwave smells, boil lemon juice. Unplug all appliances first. Don't forget the turntable.

  10. Check the backs of kitchen cabinets for any old food that can be thrown out.

  11. Line the cabinets if needed.

  12. Remove mismatched lids and bowls. Take out anything that isn't being used on a regular basis.

  13. Reorganize and wash down the inside and outside of cabinets.

  14. Wipe down and clean out any drawers.

  15. Organize your flatware.

  16. Clean out the cabinets under your sink. Take everything out, clean the backs, sides and bottom of the cabinet. Throw out expired or questionable food in your pantry, cabinets and drawers.

  17. Run the dishwasher empty. Try adding vinegar or baking soda to the empty dishwasher before running it. If your dishwasher has a food trap in the bottom, clean it out. Wash down the outside of the dishwasher.

  18. Clean the trash can. While changing the bag and washing the trash can with soap and water are good smart first steps in eliminating the odor, they only get you so far. Here are some solutions that will save your trash can from bad stenches.

  19. If your can is made out of plastic, just sprinkle a light layer of baking soda on the bottom before you put the bag in. For a metal can, you need to take one extra step to prevent corrosion: Pour a good amount of baking soda into a coffee filter and secure it with a twist tie before placing it in the bottom of the can.

  20. The fresh-smelling sheets that you use with clothes in the dryer can also work their magic on nasty trash can odors. When you take out the trash, just put one or two dryer sheets underneath the new bag. The sheets will absorb bad odors and leave a pleasant scent behind. Change the sheet each time you take out the trash.

  21. Vanilla extract is a fresh smelling extract you can use to rid your trash can of odor. After you take out the trash, put a couple drops on a few cotton balls, leave them in the bottom of your empty trash can and close the lid. Let them sit overnight for the vanilla smell to seep in.

  22. Charcoal is proven to filter out odors. A basic bag of charcoal will do. Smash it up a bit and put the bits into the trash. Let it sit overnight to absorb the odors.

  23. Zest from lemons, limes, and oranges, are adept at masking odors from trash. Use dry peels only.

  24. Before you can begin cleaning your oven, find out what type you have to prevent damage. Determine if your oven is a self-cleaning model, a textured model or a regular non-self-cleaning oven. Always follow manufacturer's instructions for maintaining your oven.

  25. Sort through the freezer and refrigerator. Throw out any expired food and items that you bought and never used. Take out the refrigerator shelves and drawers. Wash them down, being careful with glass shelves. Wipe down the entire inside of the refrigerator and freezer before replacing shelves and food.

  26. Take the knobs, burners, burner covers, and spill catchers off of the stove. Follow your stove/oven owner's manual for information on proper cleaning methods for your model. Wipe down the entire stove. Wiping your cooktop down each time it's used will do wonders for keeping it looking shiny and new. A mild detergent and water works best.

  27. Dust down the ceiling, baseboards, and corners of walls.

  28. Determine if the walls need washed in dirty spots. Spot wash, remembering air vents, doorknobs, doors, and switch plates. Walls will likely need to be washed more often in this room than in others. Take time to clean the grease, grime, and spilled food from your walls.

  29. Dust and clean all art and photographs along the wall. Be careful when cleaning framed art and photographs. Lightly wet a clean cloth to wipe the frame and glass.

  30. Take down any light fixtures and gently wash and dry them before replacing.

  31. Sweep and mop.




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