April 7, 2015

Spring clean your kitchen with these tips

Open up your fridge and see what items you don't need or that have passed their expiration date. Throw them out so you'll have more room for items that are edible.

Open up your fridge and see what items you don’t need or that have passed their expiration date. Throw them out so you’ll have more room for items that are edible.

When spring arrives, many people open the windows of their homes and do a major cleaning to get rid of all the dust and dirt that has accumulated over the winter. Your kitchen is one of the most used rooms in your house, so you’ll definitely want to give it a deep clean while you’re in the spring cleaning mode. Here are some tips:

Clear the counters
It’s kind of amazing how quickly items clutter up the counters. From the hot sauce bottle to the salt and pepper shakers and boxes of cereal, it’s easy to start piling things onto the counter and forget about them. These items will not only make your kitchen look smaller, but they can also collect dust and take away valuable counter space. Instead, stash everything away in cabinets. It’s just as easy to reach into the cupboard to grab your morning cereal as it is to get it when it’s on the counter. Teach every member of your household to follow this rule so that you aren’t the one constantly putting things away.

Take care of your oven
Many ovens have a self-clean function. Simply press the button or turn the knob to the right setting and leave your oven to do its thing for a few hours. If you have an older oven or don’t have the time to hang around your house while yours superheats and then cools back down, you can take care of it yourself with some elbow grease. One helpful way to make this process easier is to use the power of steam. Place a pan with some water in it on the middle rack of your oven and turn the temp to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the water heat up as the temperature rises so it creates steam. This will help loosen up any caked-on food particles that have been burnt in your oven. After 10 minutes, turn the oven off and let it sit for five minutes. When you go to open the oven door, be sure to stay far away from it so the steam can escape without hurting you. Leave the door open for a bit so the inside cools enough that you can touch it. Once it has cooled, use a scrub brush and oven cleaning solution to remove any gunk that has coated the inside. Take special care on the bottom and racks as these are the places that tend to see the most drip?s.

Tackle the fridge
We often place groceries in the fridge week after week without much thought. Some items spill a bit, others may even mold, and all of this traffic leaves dirt and grime coating the fridge. Remove every item in your refrigerator and check all the expiration dates. Toss anything that is questionable or that you haven’t used in a while. Take note if any items are frozen or frosty. Adjust the temperature settings based on what you find. You may be unaware that your fridge temperature is set incorrectly and it is causing your food to go bad too quickly. Set it to a lower temp if you find items that are too cold and keep an eye on it for a few days so you can make further changes if necessary. Use disinfectant wipes to sanitize all the fridge shelves and the walls. Clean out the drawers and also the door compartments. Do the same with your freezer. Replace the foods once the inside of your fridge has dried. You may be surprised just how much better the fridge smells and the extra room you have after cleaning it out.

Go through the cabinets
Chances are you have a few items in your cabinets that could be tossed. Many people stash boxes and bags of food items in their pantry without any thought to where they are going. Take all the items out of your cupboards and wipe the insides down a wet rag or disinfectant solution. Let it dry and then reorganize your food items. Place like with like to make navigating the cabinets much easier when you are trying to find something. This will also help you to avoid purchasing things you already have.