FORT WORTH, Texas, Nov. 12, 2019: Most of our kitchens will be extra busy in the next few weeks until after Dec. 31. It’s a labor of love for those of us who cook and bake a lot during the holidays. However, it is possible to make the labor part a bit easier if you have a plan to get and keep your kitchen clean between cooking sessions. When getting the whole house ready for the holidays start with the kitchen and bathrooms.
You will need window cleaner, bleach spray or liquid scrubbing cleanser with bleach, household degreaser spray for vent-a-hood and glass stovetop cleaner, furniture polish, floor cleaner, cleaning rags, dusting rag, Swiffer®, paper towels, trash bag and a small canister vacuum or broom.
Pick Up: Put away or throw away anything that sits atop the eating table or counters that doesn’t belong there. If you don’t have a place for kids’ backpacks, put them in their rooms. The same goes for shoes and boots; hang up coats and hats.
Dust: If there is a ceiling fan, start with that, using a ceiling fan brush. Utilize an extendable dusting device with disposable dusters on any blinds, tops of drapes, cobwebs in corners and behind doors, and bottom of eating table; dust blinds, wipe down windowsills. Use paper towel to brush crumbs from stovetop onto the floor. Next wipe down and dust eating table and chairs. Then move chairs to alternate location.
It is easier to get clean and organized for the holidays if you have a plan
Microwave: Take turntable out and put into sink to soak. Wipe out any loose old, stuck on food with a paper towel. Fill microwavable bowl with lemon juice (I use the bottled kind) and add a bit of water. Microwave for three minutes and let sit for 10-15 minutes to let the lemony steam do its work. Dunk cleaning cloth in soapy water in sink and wring out well. When ready clean inside, making sure to wipe walls, bottom and ceiling of microwave as well as inside door and its frame. Use glass cleaner on outside to get rid of smudges and fingerprints.
Stovetop: Wipe crumbs off stovetop and area around stove to floor with a paper towel. For glass top stoves apply cleaner and let sit a few minutes. Use sponge created for glass top stoves on stubborn stains. Wipe as much cleaner off with paper towel as you can, then finish with a wrung out clean washcloth. Do not use microfiber cloth with glass stove top cleaner! Cleaner sticks to microfiber even when you wash it. Then polish with clean cloth or paper towel. Soak grates, pans, and stove knobs in sink with Dawn® dishwashing liquid and hot water for 20-30 minutes. Scrub grates and stove pans with SOS® pad if necessary; use an old toothbrush to clean stove knobs. Rinse then dry items with a paper towel and replace on stove. For glass-top stoves I recommend Mrs. Meyer’s Baking Soda Cream Cleaner®.
Cleaning for the holidays need not be an overwhelming chore
Coffee maker: Wipe top and sides of machine with cloth dipped in soapy water, including hot plate when it is cool. For one-cup coffee makers pull out the bottom where cup sits, if possible, then clean underneath. The bottom usually comes apart – clean that by hand, dry and put back. To clean drip coffee makers internally, Good Housekeeping® recommends, “Fill the reservoir with equal parts vinegar and water, and place a paper filter into the machine’s empty basket. Position the pot in place, and “brew” the solution halfway. Turn off the machine, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, turn the coffee maker back on, finish the brewing, and dump the full pot of vinegar and water. Rinse everything out by putting in a new paper filter and brewing a full pot of clean water. Repeat once.” And for instructions to clean inside of one-cup coffee makers, click here.
Decalcify your coffee machine at least every month with vinegar
Appliances: Use stainless steel cleaner, mineral oil, WD-40®, or Scott’s Liquid Gold Furniture Polish® on all stainless-steel appliances with paper towel making large strokes – top to bottom, side to side. For black or white appliances, wipe down with cloth and soapy water, including the grate in water dispenser area of refrigerators as well as the handles. Wipe down and vacuum vent at bottom of refrigerator. While you’re at it, be sure to clean around the knobs and handles on cupboards close to appliances. Don’t forget doors and windowsills too.
Countertops: For natural stone, either use a dedicated cleaner made for it or soapy water. Formica® and Corian®: soapy water or mild household cleaner. For stubborn stains make a paste using baking soda and water. Let sit for a bit then wipe off with non-abrasive cloth. Lift or move appliances and jars out of the way, wiping crumbs to the floor and then slide back into place. Go from one end or the counter to the other.
Sinks: Wash dishes or load dishwasher*. Empty sink strainer, throwing contents in the trash. Use bleach spray, liquid scrubbing cleanser, or kitchen cleanser like Comet®, Ajax® or Barkeeper’s Friend®. Scrub with sponge or cloth, getting around and on knobs, faucet and sprayer. Rinse. An old toothbrush works well here too. Wipe dry with paper towels, including hand cleanser bottles and scrubby holder. If soap dispensers are sticky with soap place under running water while you clean the rest of sink. Run sponges, bottle brushes, sink strainers, and other cleaning implements through dishwasher to clean and disinfect.
Hot, soapy water covers a multitude of chores
Floor: Vacuum any rugs, set aside. Vacuum or sweep entire kitchen floor. My favorite way to “sweep” the floor is with a Bissell Zing® canister vacuum. If the laundry room is close to the kitchen, go ahead and do that floor too. Use the hose, Swiffer®, or tip of broom to get at base boards, ceiling corners, around table legs, under appliances if possible and especially where lower cabinets meet the floor. Mop and let dry. Replace items to eating area. Take out the trash.
And lastly, always clean a room top to bottom; side to side. It will make your cleaning routine a lot easier. And, as my grandmother used to tell me, once you get the first cleaning out of the way the subsequent ones will be a breeze. Now go enjoy your clean kitchen.
*During the holiday season take out any special dishes, plates and flatware you plan to use and run through dishwasher well ahead of when you need them.