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August 25, 2014

Spring Cleaning 360°: The Kitchen

Doing dishes, wiping spills, and sweeping crumbs –– this busy space needs daily attention, as well as routine maintenance.

springcleaning-kitchen-mld110961.jpg Photography by: Annie Schlechter
Enamel canisters, in Grey, from $42 each, brookfarmgeneralstore.com. Rosemary olive oil, from $22.50, thenewgeneralstore.com.

Clean 101

Counters & Backsplash

Your approach depends entirely on the material.

  • Engineered Stone (such as Silestone)

Spray it with all-purpose cleaner; wipe with a microfiber cloth. 

  • Granite

Wipe it with a cloth dampened in a mixture of warm water and pH-neutral stone cleaner.

  • Soapstone or Laminate 

Wipe it with a soft cloth dampened in a mixture of mild dishwashing liquid and warm water. Spot-treat stained laminate with a thick paste of baking soda and water.

  • Stainless Steel

Use a mild abrasive, such as Bon Ami, and warm water. Fully dry; buff with a clean, dry cloth.

  • Tile

Wipe tiles with a soft cloth dampened in a mixture of mild dishwashing liquid and warm water. Clean grout with a thick paste of baking soda mixed with water. 

  • Unfinished Butcher Block

Wipe it with a soft cloth dampened in a mixture of mild dishwashing liquid and warm water. Spot-treat stains with fresh lemon juice or vinegar. Lightly wipe on mineral oil.

Floors

Vacuum or sweep away all crumbs and small particles. In a bucket, mix a cleaning solution: If you have glazed-tile floors, mix warm water with a squirt or two of all-purpose cleaner. For sealed wood floors, use ¼ cup of white vinegar for every quart of warm water. Working from the far corner of the room toward the entrance, mop, wringing out the mop head very well after resoaking it in the mixture. Too much water will simply spread the dirt around; properly mopped areas should look dry almost immediately. Move the mop back and forth two times: once to wash, then again to remove any residual cleaning solution.

Stainless Steel or Enamelware Sink 

Sprinkle it with a mild abrasive, such as Bon Ami, and scrub with a soft cloth. (You can also try a thick paste of baking soda and water.) Avoid scouring powders containing chlorine bleach, ammonia, or hydrofluoric acid.  

meyers-dish-soap-11-mld110972.jpg Photography by: Bryan Gardner
Liquid dish soap, by Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, in Lavender, $10 for two 16-oz. bottles, soap.com.

TIP: A mild dishwashing liquid like Mrs. Meyer’s can be mixed with water and used as a cleaner all over the house.

coil-brush-mld110972.jpg Photography by: Bryan Gardner
Universal appliance brush, by GE, $10 for 2, homedepot.com. (This is 28 inches.)

Don’t forget the...

Refrigerator Coils

Clean coils will let the refrigerator use less electricity. The coils are usually found behind a grill near the floor: Unplug or turn off the unit, remove the grill, and clean them with an appliance brush, or vacuum them with the crevice tool.

TIP: Clean and de­scale the inside of the dishwasher by filling a cup with white vinegar, placing it on the top rack, and running the otherwise empty machine at its hottest setting (e.g., “high-temperature,” “heavy,” or “sanitize”).

Coffeemaker

Wipe the exterior with soapy water; dry. Fill the carafe with equal parts white vinegar and water and run the machine: When a few cups have filled the carafe, turn it off and let sit for one hour. Then turn it back on and “rinse” with a few cycles of water.

oven-knobs-soaking-mld110972.jpg Photography by: Bryan Gardner

Stove Knobs

Remove them from the cooktop or range and wash them in a mixture of mild dishwashing liquid and warm water. Thoroughly dry before refitting.

TIP: Take off the stove top’s grates and reflector bowls and soak them in a mixture of hot water and mild dishwashing liquid. Clear any clogged gas ports by inserting a wire into each hole.

Trash Can

Outside, rinse it with a hose; use a long-handled brush to scrub the inside with a mixture of white vinegar and warm water. Rinse and let dry. 

TIP: Cabinet knobs can get grimy. If they’re easy to remove, unscrew them, then scrub with a cloth dampened in a mixture of mild dishwashing liquid and warm water; dry. (If they’re tricky to remove, just wipe them with a cloth dampened in the same solution, then dry.)

The Speedy Three

When you’re in a rush, try these steps.

1. Sweep the floor, paying special attention in the corners and along the toe kicks of lower cabinets.

2. Clear the counters of any dishes, clutter, and incidental items (like small appliances). Thoroughly wipe the counters with a damp cloth.  

3. With a damp cloth, wipe the faucet and sink hardware to give it a quick polish, then wipe the inside of the sink. Clean any splatters or smudges off the stove top and refrigerator door.

muji-sponges-mld110972.jpg Photography by: Bryan Gardner
Cellulose sponges, $2.50 for 2, muji.us.

I love my...

White Sponges

“Martha introduced me to these sponges when I was lucky enough to go to Japan with her, and I’ve used them ever since. The scrubby side is not too abrasive, and they’re easy to wash –– I put them in the laundry once a week.” –– Eric Pike, editor-in-chief

 

Created by Rory Evans, Jenn McManus, and Ayesha Patel

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