..........Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com.........

Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Monday, May 07, 2007

Spring Cleaning, Part V

Spring Cleaning Kitchen

Go into your kitchen with a pen and paper. It's time to be honest and really look at things. We're not focusing on decorating now -- just cleaning and making sure that what we have is functional.
Make a list of cleaning products you will need that you do not have on hand: Window cleaner, general-purpose cleaner (Mean Green), fiberglass cleaner, floor wax, floor wax stripper, metal polish, CLR, or other heavy-duty cleaner, Murphy's Oil Soap for wooden cabinets, bleach, etc.?

Check the grout around your tile if you have tile. Is it in need of repair? If so, do you have caulking on hand?

Is your sink functioning properly? Do you need a new sink nozzle? Should the faucet be replaced? Will you need to replace any water filters?

Cabinet shelves need relining?

Door hinges on all doors and cabinets operating properly? Blinds working okay?

Go through your linens. What needs to be tossed or replaced? Are your potholders in good shape? Do you have too many? Are yours stained, etc.? Throw away, buy new, wash, etc.

Are your window latches working? Screen okay?

Really focus on what needs to be done. Maybe a wall needs patching or a light switch needs replacing, a light fixed?

Most importantly, be sure you have plenty of your favorite beverage and your favorite music available for cleaning day. You will need very comfortable clothing too.

We are going to make our kitchens immaculate. It will be an all-week affair, so try to prepare easy meals in advance, or if you can do take-out -- do it!

Now take your lists and write up one for shopping and one for doing.

You will need a stepstool or stepladder too. Remember you will go from top to bottom...

Cooking (especially frying) Puts a greasy film in the air. It’s best to use your stove vent and keep the kitchen door closed to keep it from traveling into your other rooms. This greasy film leaves a residue on all surfaces including curtains, cabinets, appliances, kitchen decorative items. This means you need to clean the kitchen thoroughly more often than once a year. I usually do it 3 times a year or more.

1. Washables
Gather curtains, rugs, table linens -- all fabric washables -- and start doing laundry.

2. Windows
Clean windows inside and out. Use a degreaser type cleanser for the window sill, window molding. Rinse thoroughly. If you wash down your kitchen regularly then just a little bit of degreaser in a lot of warm water is sufficient. You DON'T want to leave the degreaser residue on the surface because it will attract dirt. Use window cleaner for the glass. Use paper towels and change your paper towel regularly so as no to smear the greasy buildup from one window pane onto the next.

3. Ceiling Fixtures
You'll need your step ladder or stool now. Clean any ceiling fixtures -- lamps and ceiling fans. I get dear husband to take whatever needs to be take down and then I wash it in the sink with dish detergent and dry it and hand it back up to him to put back.

4. Cabinet Tops
Remove any items stored there and put on counter to be cleaned in the next step. You might want to use a vacuum first and then wash. You can leave old beach towels, cut to the width of your cabinets, laid across the top of them. They are invisible if you're under 7 feet tall, and all you have to do is pull them off and throw them in the wash when you're ready to clean. I know of others that use brown paper or extra gift wrap to do the same thing. The point is to reduce the amount of cleaning. While you're up in the air, use degreaser mixed in water and sponge to wash down your walls. I always use latex semi gloss or gloss paint so that wiping walls is easy. I never use flat paint because dirt, grime and grease are attracted to it’s matte surface and is hard to get rid of. Also remember to change your wash water regularly so you aren’t just smearing dirty water on your walls. If you do this regularly then a tad of degreaser is enough. But if you only do it once a year, you may need more and then you will have to rinse.

5. Kitchen Decorative Items
Wash the items that you removed from the cabinet tops, kitchen shelves, stuff hung on the walls, etc. and replace them. Before you do, though, really look at the item... do you use it? Do you need it? Or do you like it? If not, get rid of it. If you do this with each and every item you touch while cleaning your kitchen, you might be able to find a lot more space when you are through. Sharon…wash any decorative kitchen items in dish detergent, spritz degreaser on silk flowers and rinse and let drip dry (or replace with new, I replace with new on regular basis), do the same for baskets.

6. Refrigerator and Freezer
Let's look inside. Take everything out of your freezer and refrigerator and put the items in coolers with frozen gel packs. Throw out stuff that is freezer burned, too old, combine stuff like 3 bottles of catsup, throw away stuff you aren’t going to use after all, etc. After you finish cleaning it out, wipe it out with an antibacterial cleaner. Then you are ready to put stuff back in, which is a good time to organize and sort. Remove all drawers and clean them with antibacterial dish detergent. Have husband pull the refrigerator out and clean the coils, if exposed. Have husband pull out the self-defrosting drip pan and scrub thoroughly. Also, if your unit has vents, vacuum them out and clean the cover. Get husband to check the tube to the ice machine to make sure it isn’t clogged up and is on tight. If this ever gets lose or breaks the water seepage can ruin a kitchen floor. Now wipe down the entire exterior and I use a little degreaser when I do this. Remove all magnets, etc., and wash. Polish any chrome or stainless steel. Before pushing the refrigerator back into place, clean the floor underneath and replace the filter unit and put down a new bug house. OK, replace the shelves or bins. Time for the old toothbrush: clean the rubber seal going around the door. Work on the hinges too! If you have to defrost your freezer, it can be started now. I loved having my Rainbow vacuum cleaner to do this with. I turned off the freezer and opened the doors. I let it sit about 30 minutes and then used the Rainbow vacuum cleaner to suck out the water that accumulates from thawing in the bottom of the freezer. You want to keep the water mopped up off the floor so you don’t damage your floor with water seepage. I would literally use the metal pipe on the vacuum hose to chip it off the coils and suck up the ice chips as they came loose. After all the ice is thawed, then wipe down the entire interior with antibacterial kitchen cleanser. If yours is a self-defrosting unit, then clean it out; again, be sure to clean the seals.

7. Walls
Next, is your choice... you can wash down your walls, wood work, and doors now while your ladder is out, or you can do it at the very end of the kitchen cleaning. For wood, use water with a little Murphy’s Oil Soap. Be sure to replace your bucket water regularly so you aren’t smearing dirty, greasy water on your cabinets. You want to keep the cleaning water clean. For painted surfaces use a little degreaser in water. If you don't do this regularly then you made need more degreaser and will have to rinse. DON'T leave the degreaser on your cabinets as it will attract dirt and grime. Rinse thoroughly. Remember, cooking creates a greasy smoke that settles on all surfaces. If you have a door in your kitchen then close it when frying so that it contains the greasy smoke in one room. Always use your stove vent while frying too. Have the best stove vent you can afford so that it reduces greasy smoke.

8. The Stove

Stove tops first. Remove all knobs, drip pans, etc. Give them all a good scrubbing. If you line your drip pans with foil or use inserts, replace them now. Open up your stove top and scrub underneath. When this area is clean, put the stove top back down and replace knobs and liners. Clean stove top. With a flat glass stove top you don’t have to do any of this. I recommend a black glass top and not a white one as white shows everything. To clean your glass stove top, you can use a straight razor to remove any burned on stuff that is raised up a little on the stovetop. Then use a ceramic stove top cleaner you can get at Lowe’s or Walmart. This removes any burned on residue and polishes the top too. I don’t recommend using steel wool pads because it can scratch the surface and those scratches collect stains. Clean the area behind the knobs before replacing them. Wash exterior of stove. If you have a drawer in the bottom of your stove, empty it out and scrub it clean. Be sure all items you replace are clean too. Be sure to really look at the stove. It may have ridges, little seams, etc., that require cleaning. A stove gets greasy easily and makes it harder to clean. I use Mean Green on my stove as a degreaser. But it also leaves a residue that dulls the stove. So only use a little degreaser in water. Then, using fresh sponge, wipe down with clear water to remove the last of the degreaser residue. Rinse, rinse, rinse.

9. The Oven
Notes: I made the mistake of leaving my oven racks in the oven while running the self-clean feature, and they were left with a dull finish and would not slide in and out easily. I called the stove manufacturers, who had in their instructions said to leave the racks in; they told me to simply rub waxed paper on the rack edges and they would slide easily. It worked. I'm still not happy with the dull finish, but I'm not unhappy enough to go out and buy new racks. My advice to anyone with a self-cleaning stove would be to remove the racks before cleaning.
Fortunately I have a self-cleaning oven. I will run it this evening, as it builds up heat in the kitchen and I don't want to work in an overheated room. For those with continuous clean ovens, wipe yours out. For those of you who need to use oven cleaner, use your favorite spray cleaner and let it soak while you continue working on the kitchen. You will want your oven clean before you clean your floor. Be sure to lay newspaper on the floor under the oven to catch drips of oven cleaner. This can stain your kitchen floor so protect it with newspapers. Follow the directions on the oven cleaner can. A drawer is the perfect place to store baking pans. They are out of the way, and I know where they are when I need them. My biggest complaint about baking pans is the various sizes and shapes make storage difficult. Under the stove works perfectly.

10. Microwaves
Put some water in a dish and microwave for 2 mins. The water vapor loosens up any stuff that is sort of baked on… Clean interior with a little baking soda and water paste. I wipe mine out with antibacterial kitchen cleaner. Be sure to clean glass door and get all the little corners and the top of the interior. Clean the exterior. A tip that will keep your microwave cleaner longer is to set your dish in and cover with a microwave cover or a paper towel. This keeps your food from splattering and keeps it clean a lot longer.

11. Over-the-Stove Exhaust Fans
Remove and clean filters. I run mine through the dishwasher or spritz with Mean Green and let sit before rinsing in hot water. Scrub the interior and exterior. Clean around the switches. A degreasing cleaner would probably work best for this unit.

12. Dishwasher
Remove racks from the dishwasher. Scrub out with baking soda. Be sure to clean the soap dispenser. Water and a toothbrush should work here. Clean the racks before replacing, including the silverware carrier. Clean exterior of the dishwasher, paying close attention to the knobs and the little groove around the front panel. Be sure to clean the area around the inside of the door and the rubber seal. Get husband to check out the rubber seal because a leak would ruin your kitchen floor.

13. Inside The Cabinets.
Now, you must readjust your perception and think of your kitchen as a laboratory, not the warm cozy room it is. If you were a scientist, how would you organize your equipment? Most of us already know to have the items we use most often in the easiest-to-reach locations. But now is the time to make some tough decisions.

* Cleaning
First and foremost, each cabinet will have to eventually be completely emptied and washed out and relined if necessary. Washing out the cabinet includes all the interior walls as well as the shelves. As each cabinet is re-filled, it will be time to clean the exterior of that cabinet. That way you are handling each cabinet only once.

* Organization
We all use different tools in our kitchen, so I can't give you a plan on how to lay out your items. I can give you some hints, though.

Dishes: Use a horizontal rack that stores your plates on their side. It takes up 18" of space and holds a service for 8. Another rack, vertical this time, holds your serving bowls and bread plates. Use cup hooks and store your coffee and tea cups on them over the plates, bread plates, saucers. This is 2 tiered. Mugs & Glasses: How many coffee cups do you really need? My dear husband is always coming home with coffee mugs covered with advertising. I really don't want to drink my morning coffee from a mug that advertises engine oil. The mug immediately goes into the garage where it will be used to store paint brushes, rulers, etc. -- his mug, his tool cabinet. Or take to charity or throw in a "Yard Sale" box. Only keep a certain amount of pretty mugs in the kitchen. The same with glasses. I know that those of you with small children perhaps need a lot more glasses, so each person has to consider her own situation. I keep a set of 12 matching glasses and that is all.

Plastic storage containers: Over the years I have just the Tupperware and Rubbermaid that I use and I regularly reassess my needs in this area. I use a lot for storage in my cabinets for flour, sugar, cornstarch, popcorn, etc. The bowls are stacked according to size. The storage containers for taking food for lunches or putting in fridge are stored there too. I have 2 sizes square baskets and I set them on their sides. One is for big Tupperware lids and the smaller is for the med lids. Tiny lids are stored in a bowl.

Pots and pans: Well, I keep things to a minimum. One complete set of 18/10 stainless steel cooking pots with encapsulated bottoms. Nothing extra, but a couple of good Griswold, seasoned frying pans for frying in oil. I keep several sizes of corningware and/or pyrex. But just what I need on a regular basis. I got rid of all the rest a long time ago. There is no use keeping stuff for “one day” uses. You could buy a throwaway casserole for those times you need real big ones for church casseroles.

Appliances: You could put the waffle iron in the garage, if you only use it a few times a year, wrapped in a plastic grocery bag and taped shut. Only keep what you absolutely need in your kitchen. That big fruit punch bowl that gets used once a year really doesn't need to eat up your kitchen space. If you have the room, set up an area in your cabinets for an appliance bay. Where all appliances are located. Your husband might be able to put drawers in these cabinets or a pull up shelf and run you a new outlet so that you don't have to physically move the heaviest appliances from the cabinet to the countertop.

Utensils: Again, the soup ladle used when you serve 20 people chili doesn't have to be in your drawer, unless you happen to do this on a weekly basis. I'd store it with the grilling equipment (in the garage). 5 rubber spatulas -- hmmm... and 3 of them are torn? That one's not hard to call! Oyster knives, shrimp peelers, etc., can all be stored in one plastic shoebox and tucked away in a cabinet or pantry shelf, rather than using up drawer space. Or, better yet, get rid of it! I keep 2 utensil containers on my cabinet top and they are only for the utensils I use daily. The rest are in a drawer. I only keep those that I need and use. All others are gone.

Spices: Here we go -- total disaster area. One of the best way to store spices is in small, square plastic containers. Label them and they stack neatly. If you only use about 8 spices regularly but, Christmastime requires special spices that I don't use again for the rest of the year, then give them to a neighbor who uses them throughout the year. I don't want to cook with old spices. I also arrange mine alphabetically so that I don’t miss something and buy duplicates. Use a medium-sized plastic square container for storing bay leaves and other bulky items. Even transfer salt to a square container so it will stack with the rest of my supplies. Your spices now take up only part of what they did before! I know that a lot of people like spice racks, but I found myself putting some spices in the racks and then having to store the rest of the container in a cabinet. If you do use spice racks then keep them updated and clean. Arrange them alphabetically.

Table Linens: You can hand your table linens from the back of the pantry door by using a clip-style skirt hanger. Place mats get hung together as well as table toppers. Or use a deep drawer in your cabinets. If you have a round table, how about putting a round base tablecloth on your table and then keep 45" fabric squares over it to provide color. I only need to wash the white cloth every few weeks as it is never exposed to food. Throw a plastic cloth over it when kids use the table. By hanging the table toppers (which require ironing), you save yourself a lot of work. If you don't have a pantry door, how about your coat closet? Or a Lane cedar chest

The Catch-All Drawer:
Almost all of us have one. I suggest it be gone through on a weekly basis. Use drawer dividers to help you organize this space better.

14. OK, it's time to do the outside of the cabinets.
I know you have all thought out where everything should go and that you will really look at each item and make a decision on it. Not only will you really look at it, in the case of small appliances you will look at it, make a decision regarding it, and clean it before putting it back. I clean my wood kitchen cabinets with Murphy’s Oil soap and water. I use Mean Green over the stove to be sure and get all the greasy film off the cabinets there. Then I rinse and wash with the Murphy’s Oil Soap and water. Change your cleaning water regularly so you won’t be just smearing dirty water on your cabinets. Wash all surfaces not just the cabinet doors. If you have knobs that are gunky, use a toothbrush on them.

15. Table and Chairs
Let's pull our chairs away from the table and remove all table coverings. Get down on the floor and clean under the table. Make sure the leaf hinges are working properly. Make sure there are no dust ladders collecting. Then, take each chair and turn it upside down to clean underneath. Get those chair rails -- clean the chairs completely! If you need new pads on the bottom of your chairs, now is the time to replace them. Get husband to work on it. These pads keep your floors in good shape. Check for seams, grooves, etc. and make sure they haven't collected kitchen grease.

16. Walls
Do your walls need washing? I wash my kitchen walls with a little Mean Green and water, changing the water regularly. Just use a little bit of Mean Green. Then wipe down with rinse water. Wash all surfaces around windows, doors, wall over the cabinet and between the cabinet, the pantry, etc.

17. Sink
Scrub, scrub, scrub. Get the drain plugs, get the faucet, get BEHIND the faucet, pour hot water and vinegar down the garbage disposal. If you have a lemon on hand, cut it in fourths and run it through the disposal. On my white sink, I use Tide with Bleach to scrub the sink then rinse. For bad times, I fill the sink with water and pour some Clorox on it and let it sit awhile. If you have a stainless steel sink Barkeepers Friend (tm) does a wonderful polishing job. Check your faucet nozzle and be sure it is clear of hard water deposits. It can be soaked in vinegar. Nozzles can be replaced for under a dollar if yours is nasty looking. Sometimes it turns green just replace it. If you use a dish rack scrub it thoroughly. No evidence of dishes any place.

18. Floors
We are down to the floors. Follow the same procedure as the bathroom.

19. Finishing Touches
Rehang those curtains! Put a fresh cloth on the table and a nice centerpiece, maybe even light a candle. Be sure all your decorative items are washed, dried and put back. Clean any pictures. Your kitchen should be gleaming! Order dinner out again -- you deserve it -- and you deserve at least one day of sparkle!

Cleaning Windows
*Use liquid Woolite. One capful to about half a bucket of warm water...use a washcloth or similar type rag to wash the window and dry with paper towels (leave the rag fairly wet and sudsy) you can also use lemon joy dish soap if you are saving pennies.

*Use windshield washing fluid works great and its cheap

*Try one of the auto window products, e.g., Rain Shield, Auto Clean, etc. Follow directions on product. Dirt build-up will roll right off with a spray of water and a quick squeegee.

*Use 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water and dry them off with crumpled up newspaper.

*Basic window cleaning: Ingredients: 2 quarts warm water 1/2 cup cornstarch

Mix together. Apply with a sponge and wipe dry. Use Microfiber cloths for applying and drying. If you have white trim don't use the old newspaper trick to clean them as newspaper can smear ink on the trim.

*For dirty windows: Ingredients: 1 pint rubbing alcohol 2 Tbs. clear ammonia 2 Tbs. liquid dishwashing soap
Mix this small amount and use it only for difficult things like mineral deposits on the window. Use nylon scrubbing sponge to clean the window. Rinse it real well. Note: This is also fabulous for cleaning windshields on your car.

Price Book: You can buy a very small day planner at WalMart that uses 5.5"x8.5" sheets. Use Word or Excel to make a simple form. I print it out regularly to keep in binders. If you want to keep in the day planner print and fold a standard 8.5x11" sheet in half, punch holes in it, & stick it in the binder. You can also get several little zip-top binder pockets for the planner to keep your coupons in. Put in a calculator, pen, & notepad. You can also just type up the basic ingredients to your favorite recipes and keep that inside. That way, if you stumble across something on sale & decide to use it to make an old favorite, you won't have to stand in the middle of the store wondering if you've remembered all the correct ingredients to buy. I can make my list on the notepad, head in the store with my little planner, and know that I've got everything covered. A lot of women use electronic PDA's and you can keep your menu plan, grocery list in that.

No comments:

My Most Popular Posts

Total Pageviews

Contact Me

To contact me, email me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com