Spring Cleaning Kitchen Tips and Ideas

The kitchen is the center of most homes, making it the most heavily trafficked room and a target for dust, grime and general buildup. Kick off spring cleaning by zeroing in on basic zones for a better kitchen.

The Sink: Fill your sink with hot soapy water and pour in 1 cup bleach. Let stand for about an hour, then empty and scrub clean using a paste made from water and baking soda. Rinse well.

The Countertops: Use a diluted solution of water and mild dish soap to wipe clean counters. For a natural disinfectant, fill a spray bottle with a solution of 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide to 1 cup water; spray down the surface and wipe clean. Different combinations of baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide can be used to make stain-removing cleaning solutions and pastes, but be sure to look into what works for your countertop as the acidic or abrasive nature of homemade cleaning solutions may damage some surfaces. Be aware that there will be a reaction between the vinegar and baking soda.

The Cabinets: Remove everything from inside and begin grouping like items on the kitchen floor. Discard any junk items, such as a lid without a matching container or pot. Set aside any unwanted or extra kitchen tools that may be donated. Use cleaning wipes for cabinet interiors and doors; use a skewer or toothpick with a cloth wrapped around one end to poke clean any corners and edges. Wash any items that need it. Assess your cabinet inventory and designate areas for storage, assigning spaces within reach for everyday items. Return all items to the cabinet.

The Refrigerator: Remove everything from inside and begin grouping like items on the kitchen floor. Discard any expired or suspect foods, like a condiment jar that has been untouched for years. Wash any removable parts, paying special attention to any wheels or grooves that may require an extra scrubbing using a small synthetic brush, such as a toothbrush. Wipe down the walls with a solution of 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 quart water. Pop open a new box of baking soda and place inside to remove odors. Rinse or wipe down any grimy jars or containers before returning all items to the refrigerator.

The Appliances: Clean every surface from the inside of the microwave to the stovetop range using an appropriate cleaner. Experiment with all-natural cleaning solutions made using baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Baking soda made into a paste with some water can be left overnight on tough oven stains and scraped away once dry. Both vinegar and hydrogen peroxide work well as disinfectants and mild all-purpose cleaners; when used together, their disinfecting power increases. Keep a toothbrush handy to scrub away at any tough spots without harming the surface.

The Pantry: Remove everything from inside and begin grouping like items on the kitchen floor. Discard any expired or suspect foods, like bulging canned goods or condiment packets from a forgotten era. Set aside any unwanted, unopened foods that may be donated to a food bank. Use cleaning wipes for shelves; use a skewer or toothpick with a cloth wrapped around one end to poke clean any corners and edges. Wipe down or rinse items with dirtied exteriors, such as honey jars. Assess your inventory and designate areas for storage, assigning spaces within reach for everyday items. Return all items to the pantry.

The Floors: Sweep the kitchen floors first, paying special attention to recessed areas such as the space beneath the stove. Follow by mopping using a solution of equal parts vinegar and hot water. The vinegar acts as a natural disinfectant and odor remover, and its scent will dissipate as it dries.

More help in the kitchen: