Now that we’re all stuck inside, you might as well take advantage of it and get a little spring cleaning done. Even if you think your kitchen is already clean enough, you’d be surprised what a few simple additions or changes can make you feel about your space. Between organization tips and cleaning hacks, here are a few expert-recommended kitchen cleaning tips.
Use a can rack
Need to utilize more space in your fridge? Dr. Rachel Paul, PhD, RD from CollegeNutritionist.com likes to use a can rack for her fridge to organize seltzers and diet soda.
Get some clear organizers
Is your pantry overwhelming you? Snag a few clear organizers to section off your pantry—and fridge!
Add a lazy susan
“Lazy susans are not only for your pantry, but they also work great in your fridge, so you can see what you have & food doesn’t go bad,” says Dr. Paul.
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Group like-items in your pantry
Dr. Paul says it’s easier to find things when you have all the same types of foods in one place. For example, put all carbohydrate snacks together, all nuts and seed snacks together, etc.
Group like-items in your fridge
Do the same for your fridge! Put all of your leftovers on one shelf (so you can always see them) and other items in different sections as well, so you can easily scan and know what you have.
Set a time to clean your kitchen
You’ll never actually get around to implementing these tips if you keep putting off cleaning. Fitting an exact time to clean your kitchen into your schedule will help you to make sure this chore doesn’t fall by the wayside.
Go through your fridge
Take some time to go through your fridge and get rid of any of the food that’s going bad. Dr. Paul recommends once a week is a good time to do so. “When your fridge is too full it’s actually easier to let food go to waste.”
Clean as you go
Katie Boyd, Nutritionist, M.S. says it saves her a lot of time to simply clean as she goes. “When you go through your cooking measures place each bowl, spoon whisk or spatula right in the dishwasher as you cook,” says Boyd. “If you don’t have a dishwasher full up your sink with warm soapy water and soak the utensils, bowls, and pans so that when it comes time to wash up that there is no scrubbing like a maniac and things move [quickly] so it feels like less of a chore.”
Have an empty dishwasher
While it seems easy to just leave your clean dishes in the dishwasher to grab, unloading it really is the way to go. It leaves you feeling less stressed when it’s time to do the dishes and you find yourself with an empty dishwasher instead of a full one.
Have a garbage bowl
“Instead of walking back and forth to the garbage all the scraps go into one bowl and are thrown out at the end which means less to clean off your counters, cutting board and floor,” Boyd says.
Use a splatter screen
“I love to saute and sear [and] I always have a splatter screen,” says Boyd. “When fat flies all over your range, counters, and backsplash it can really create a difficult mess to clean once the fat cools. Placing a splatter screen over your pans when you are rendering fat or shallow-frying really ensures clean up to be a breeze.”
Don’t go to bed with a messy kitchen
“Clean up in between all cooking sessions and vow to yourself to never go to bed with a messy kitchen,” says Boyd. “In my opinion, nothing starts the morning off on the wrong foot like coming out to last night’s kitchen explosion.”
Organize your herbs and spices
“I bet over the years your spice cabinet has become a place for disorganization and chaos,” says Crystal Cascio, RDN and Health Coach for the Anticancer Lifestyle Program. “Take some time to organize your herbs and spices! Herbs and spices have many nutritional benefits including having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, so organizing your spice cabinet may make you more inclined to use these beneficial herbs and spices in more of your home-cooked dishes. Herbs and spices will also add a ton of flavor to your meals!”
Wipe off your stove
“There is nothing less motivating to cook a nourishing meal than to walk into your kitchen when it’s messy,” says Cascio. “You’ll be much more inclined to use your stove if it’s clean and inviting. Use this time to deep clean your stovetop! Remove all of the crumbs and food particles to motivate yourself to cook more home-cooked meals. Your health will thank you!”
Go through your food and pantry items
“As you’re cleaning your kitchen and going through food and pantry items be sure to organize your food based on the first-in, first-out (FIFO) method,” says Cascio. “The FIFO method refers to placing the older foods near the front or top of the fridge and pantry (assuming they’re not expired!), and the newer items behind or below the older ones. This system will allow you to use food more efficiently and limit food waste by making sure you’re using up the foods that will expire first.”
Microwave your sponge
This may sound strange, but trust us! By microwaving your sponge for 90 seconds with full power, you’ll actually reduce the bacteria by 99 percent, according to the Journal of Environmental Health.
Clean the microwave using a lemon
Yep, that’s right—all you need is a lemon, microwave-safe bowl and some water and you could have a clean microwave in minutes. Once you give this a shot, you’ll never use chemical-filled cleaning supplies to clean your microwave again.
Also, clean your cutting boards with lemon
And while you’re at it, you might as well clean off your cutting boards with lemon as well. Cut a lemon in half, then sprinkle some salt onto your cutting board. Scrub the board with that half of lemon (cut side facing down). It’ll leave your cutting boards smelling and looking fresh and clean.
Unscratch your plate with baking soda
It’s inevitable that your plates will start to get scratches from everyday use, but now you can get rid of those with baking soda. A mixture of baking soda and water will make this paste that’s honestly like magic. You’ll be shocked how quickly they’ll look good as new.
Sprinkle baking soda at the bottom of your trash can
If you can’t deal with the smell that’s starting to come from your trash can, all you have to do is sprinkle some baking soda at the bottom of your can before putting in a new bag, and that smell will absolutely vanish. It’s that easy.
Clean glass stains with vinegar
Vinegar is another one of those natural remedies that will surprise you. Cleaning your glass products with vinegar will make them shine like no other.
Clean surfaces with a DIY vinegar spray
Bring that vinegar back around when it comes to cleaning the rest of the surfaces in your kitchen, not just glass. Mix together water, distilled white vinegar, and a few drops of essential oils for an easy DIY all-purpose cleaner.
Add water, baking soda, and dish soap to your blender
How many times have you looked at your blender and thought to yourself how much it needs a deep clean? Well if you never actually brought yourself to clean it, now’s the time. All you need is water, baking soda, and dish soap for your blender to be clean as a whistle.
Don’t overload your dishwasher
It’s easy when you don’t want to run your dishwasher too much to wait for it to get filled to the absolute brim before actually doing the dishes. But when it’s packed like that, the dishes often don’t get cleaned nearly as well. So make sure that you’re giving everything room to breathe, so your dishes actually come out clean.
Magically clean your burnt pots
If you have a pot that always refuses to get all the way clean because of it’s burnt insides, we’ve got a few tricks that will be a big help. Start out by trying the boiling water trick, but if that doesn’t clean it off, the baking soda and vinegar trick is sure to be a game-changer.
End each day with a clean sink
There’s nothing worse than coming into your kitchen in the morning and seeing all the food bits in the sink from the night before. Make sure to clean out your sink each night, so that you can start each day with a clean sink.
Use baking soda and vinegar to clean out a drain
Bet you never really think about all the things that are going down your drain—now it’s time to start. To make sure that everything stays as clean as possible and nothing gets the drain stopped up, clean it with baking soda and vinegar.
Clean a cast-iron skillet with a potato
Since you’ve got all those potatoes stocked up in your pantry, now’s the time to put one to good use by using it to clean a cast-iron skillet. It sounds weird, but just trust us on this one. But the potato in half, and wipe the inside of your skillet with it, flat-side down. You’ll have to put in some elbow grease, but it will start to clean nicely.
Soak your stove-top grates overnight with ammonia
Stove-top grates are another place in the kitchen where food residue can stick and stay for weeks without getting a proper cleaning. Soaking them overnight in ammonia will make them so much easier to clean, so you can give those grates a fresh, clean start.
Wash your kitchen curtains
Another thing you probably don’t often think about cleaning is kitchen curtains. How many times have they been exposed to heavily greasy cooking and kitchen disasters? Throw those in the washing machine ASAP.
Wipe the hood above your stove
Just because you probably can’t reach the hood above your stove, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean it. In fact, it’s probably covered with grease, so this is an area to definitely try to hit on your next cleaning day.
Wipe off your cabinets
If you’re looking to find more hidden grease around your kitchen, the next place to look would be the cabinets. These definitely don’t get the attention they deserve when it comes to cleaning, given their prominence in the kitchen.
Dust all of your counters
There’s nothing easier and faster than a dusting. Going around and dusting your countertops is super important—who wants dust in their food? Not us.
Go through your freezer
Every once in a while, you should definitely make a point of going through your freezer. Take advantage of the time you have and do a freezer inventory! You may be shocked by what you have in there. So take stock and throw out anything that’s gone bad or freezer burnt.
Combine any duplicates in your pantry
When you start to have duplicates in your pantry, everything can start getting messy and disorganized. By combining duplicates into one container, you’ll help to keep everything organized and make sure nothing gets lost in the back before getting to eat it.
Clean your oven with baking soda
Yet another appliance that you can clean with the magic of baking soda. Just because the oven doors mostly stay shut doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean what’s on the inside. And a little baking soda will do the trick for that.
Throw those dish towels in the laundry
Dish towels are something you use day in and day out, but how often do you wash them? Definitely throw these in the laundry as soon as possible to make sure you’re not contaminating other things with old stuck-on foods.
Clean your dish rack
Just because you’re putting clean dishes in the dish rack, doesn’t mean it doesn’t ever need to be cleaned. It’s actually just the opposite. You should always make sure your dish rack is clean, so you’re not putting clean dishes in a dirty dish rack.
Replace old sponges
Sponges hold a whole lot of bacteria, especially over long periods of time. So make sure you’re replacing your sponges often—the last thing you want is to be cleaning your dishes with bacteria-filled sponges. Gross.
Clean out your garbage disposal with a toothbrush
There’s probably a whole lot of junk sticking inside the rubber guard of your garbage disposal. Carefully lift it up wearing a pair of gloves, and wipe off the grime using an old toothbrush.
Polish your sink with flour
There’s nothing more satisfying than a shiny, clean kitchen sink. To make it extra shiny, clean and dry it off, then sprinkle in 1/4 cup of flour. Scrub it down with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth, moving in a circular motion. Buff it until it’s shiny!
Clean your appliances
Now with some time on your hands, give your appliances the deep clean they deserve. This includes your Instant Pot, slow cooker, waffle iron, and more.
Empty the bottom of the toaster
When’s the last time you emptied out the bottom of your toaster? Yeah, we thought so. Remove those extra crumbs.
Check for expired food
Not sure if your food has expired or not? Take a look through all of your good and check the expiration date.
Wipe the inside of your fridge
Remove all of the items from your fridge and give it a deep clean. But do this quickly! If you can have someone help you with this task, have them help you take items out, so those refrigerated items don’t sit out on the counter for too long.
Properly organize your fridge as you put items back in
As you put those items back in your fridge, evaluate what you have! Organize your fridge properly, and look through those containers of leftovers. Have something that’s been in there over a week? Maybe a bag of wilted lettuce? Time to discard!
Wipe off the shelves in the cabinet
Even though the cabinet doors are usually closed, it is best to wipe down the shelves that are collecting any dust. And if you have open shelving in your kitchen, you’ll want to dust off those shelves often.
Organize whatever you have stored on under the sink
Do you have a pile of cleaning supplies under the sink that overwhelms you? Take some time to reorganize it! Look for any duplicate bottles that you can combine to free up some space down there.
Add a bowl of vinegar to the dishwasher
Do your glasses ever come out with some hard washing stains that you can’t seem to scrub out? A little bowl of vinegar can help with that! Yes, we’re serious. Next time you run the dishwasher, add a small dishwasher-safe bowl with a little vinegar in it and run the dishwasher. Your glasses will come out shiny and stain-free!
Polish tarnished silver with a DIY mix
Looking to easily clean your tarnished silver? Place some boiling water in a shallow aluminum pan, then add some baking soda and vinegar. Place the silver pieces in the pan and leave them in there for a minute or so, then remove the pieces and clean them off with a microfiber cloth. Just be careful, a chemical reaction will occur! You can place the silver pieces and lift them up using a pair of tongs to avoid any kind of chemical burns.