Kitchen Spring Cleaning
Deep cleaning a kitchen may sound easy, but when it comes to cleaning your oven, refrigerator, and stove, here are some great tips to follow.
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.
Run the self-cleaning cycle for your oven as often as you need to. It reduces nearly any spill to a powdery gray pile of ash that can easily be wiped away at the end of the oven's cleaning cycle. Just use a damp cloth to remove the ashy residue. Make sure you have a window open during the process to help keep smoke from sticking to the ceiling and walls.
You may need to wash down the oven door and frame with a gentle dish soap to remove oil residue. Don't scrub the rubber gasket that seals the oven door; just rinse it with dish soap and then water. Don't use abrasives or oven cleaners on the interior of the oven.
For self-cleaning ovens, consider removing plastic knobs for the duration of the cycle to avoid warped or melted plastic knobs once the oven is finished cleaning itself. When in doubt, check your manual.
Textured ovens are sometimes called continuous cleaning ovens. They have a special surface that has a rough porcelain layer that is supposed to burn off food gradually as you continue to use your oven. To clean this type of oven, you only need to wipe down the inside with a damp cloth when your oven is cool. Never use abrasive cleaners, scouring pads or oven cleaners.
Regular Non-Self-Cleaning Ovens. Each time the oven cools off, wipe up any spills with a hot, wet cloth. If you do this each time, food will not build up or burn onto the oven surfaces. Some people prefer to cover the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil, but you'll need to make sure that no vents are blocked if you choose this prevention trick.
For really stubborn stains or buildup, you'll need an oven cleaner and a plastic scrubbing pad or brush. Make sure you use good ventilation when using an oven cleaner. You can also use baking soda on regular non-self-cleaning ovens as a gentle abrasive that also soaks up grease and oily stains.
If your oven has a steam cleaning mode, this is a great option to clean the interior. Check your manufacturer's instructions for specifics, but generally, you'll need to pour a cup or so of water into the bottom of the oven before running the steam cleaning mode. The oven cycle lasts around 30 minutes and creates steam out of the water which loosens the food residue inside the oven. When the cycle ends, you can wipe out the leftover moisture and any food residue with a clean cloth.
Before you deep clean your refrigerator, sort through and throw out any expired food.
Remove the food that is still good into a cooler with ice to keep it safe and cold while you clean the remainder of the refrigerator.
Take out all removable drawers and shelves and set them aside. Drawers and shelves that are made of metal or plastic can actually be washed with hot water and dish soap right away, but glass and ceramic pieces need to gradually warm up to room temperature before being washed with hot water to prevent cracking and breaking.
Use a clean cloth with hot water and a mild detergent like dish soap to wipe down the interior of the refrigerator. Work from top to bottom to prevent dripping on surfaces that are already clean. Tough stuck on spills may need a plastic, non-abrasive scrubber. Another option is to lay a warm wet cloth over the spilled area for a few minutes. The spilled area will be softer and easier to wipe away. Rinse cloths thoroughly and/or use multiple cloths to ensure cleanliness. Pay special attention to the bottom crevices and back of the refrigerator where spills tend to migrate. Finally, wipe down the interior doors.
Use a clean dry cloth or towel to dry the interior.
Put the food back into the refrigerator. Now is also a good time to wipe off any jars or containers of food that may need it, like a sticky jelly jar or a crusty salad dressing lid.
The great thing about freezers is that they rarely have spills and need to be scrubbed out much less often. You may need to only check for and remove expired food. If the freezer does require more thorough cleaning, you can use the same methods used in the refrigerator.
Starting from the top, wipe down and clean the exterior of the refrigerator using hot/warm water and a mild dish soap. If you have a stainless steel refrigerator, you'll need to use a soft non-scratching rag, and vinegar or a window cleaner to keep the surface shiny. Don't forget to clean the rubber gasket seal around the edges of the door using dish soap and warm water. Dirt and grime can collect here and cause the seal to crack.
Seasonally: Check the Drip Pan. Some refrigerator models have a removable drip pan that collects the condensation from the refrigerator. Remove the grill from the bottom front of your refrigerator and use a flashlight to locate the drip pan. It will be on top of condenser coils. Drip pans can become moldy and gross over time, so wear gloves and be prepared. Remove the drip pan and clean thoroughly before replacing. You may need to use bleach. When in doubt refer to the manufacturer's instructions and follow them. Dry and replace the drip pan and front grill.
Seasonally: Vacuum the Refrigerator Coils. Unplug the refrigerator and move it out from the wall carefully and slowly. For models with the coils on the back of the refrigerator, use the brush attachment to vacuum the coils. Some side by side and built-in models may have coils located behind a vent on the top, bottom or back of the refrigerator. Some models even have vents screwed on over the coils. On these models, you'll need to use a long narrow crevice attachment for your vacuum cleaner. Refer to your owner's manual for assistance. Put the refrigerator back and plug it back in.
Adding a box of baking soda can work wonders for eliminating odors in the refrigerator and freezer.
Our cooktops are a highly visible part of our kitchen that we want to look nice. Know what type of cooktop you have. Is it a gas or electric coil range? Is your cooktop an enamel surface or a ceramic glass smooth top? Can your cooktop be raised up allowing you to clean crumbs and debris from below?
Wipe the cooktop down. Wiping your cooktop down each time it's used will do wonders for keeping it looking shiny and new. While you may still need an occasional thorough cleaning, grease and dirt won't stand a chance with a frequent wipe down.
To clean an enamel surface, use a plastic scrubber and mild detergent or dish soap and water. Don't use abrasive items that can scratch your enamel. Enamel can stain, so it's important to wipe up spills right away. Be especially careful of acidic spills like vinegar, tomato products, lemon juice, and other citrus products. Pull off the knobs and clean them and the area around them with dish soap and water. Raise the cooktop to wipe up spills that may have accumulated beneath the cooktop surface.
Clean the coils. Electric coils don't need to be cleaned because of their self-cleaning nature, but gas burners tend to accumulate layers of thick grease and spills that turn into burned on junk. You may need to soak the parts in hot water and dish soap or even scrub with a plastic scrubber. Occasionally only an abrasive cleaner will do the trick. Don't forget to wipe down the drip pans and bowls underneath the coils with a mild abrasive, or soak them to remove stubborn spills.
The great thing about a smooth cooktop is that there are no nooks and crannies for food and spills to accumulate in. Wiping down the top of a smooth cooktop is easy to do after each use. Smooth cooktops can be scratched, so it's important to use a spoon rest and wipe up spills right away. Be careful about placing foil, lids, or dirty pots on the surface because of scratching. For regular cleaning, wiping the cooktop down with a mild detergent and water works best. Occasionally you may want a more thorough cleaning. Use a specially formulated smooth cooktop cleaner for best results.
When cleaning control knobs and control panels on cooktops and ranges, be careful that you don't scrub off the markings. Treat these components and their markings gently.