FORT WORTH, Texas — 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, you can 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, always start your holiday cleaning plan with the kitchen. Don’t forget the bathrooms, either. But today’s focus is on the kitchen.
You will need the following.
- bleach spray or liquid scrubbing cleanser with bleach
- cleaning rags and dusting rags
- window cleaner
- floor cleaner
- furniture polish
- household degreaser spray for vent-a-hood and glass stovetop cleaner
- paper towels, trash bags
- small canister vacuum or broom
Note: Products and brands listed here have performed the best for me. I receive no compensation for mentioning them.
Before you start your holiday cleaning plan in earnest, 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.
If you have one or more ceiling fans, start with those, using a ceiling fan brush. Use 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 towels to brush crumbs from stovetop onto the floor. Next wipe down and dust the dining table and chairs. Then move chairs to alternate location.
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.
Your stove top is a key task in your holiday cleaning plan. 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.)
Next, 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®.
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.
Also, consider decalcifying your coffee machine at least every month. 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.
Another key focus for your holiday cleaning plan. 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.
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.
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.
Whether you’re implementing your holiday cleaning plan or your weekly cleaning routine, clean floors are a must. For starters, 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. Then 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.
Join me next time for more cleaning tips.