Missing a Spot
Cleaning the Kitchen, the Right Way
By: Heather Vandevoorde, Ph.D.
Even if the kitchen is clean enough you could eat off the floor or you have an army of maids relentlessly scouring around, teeming bacteria and illness-causing germs are bound to be hiding in places you may have forgotten about. To ensure your kitchen is ready for your family, get your sponges and disinfectants and read on to target these little spots you have probably been missing:
- Fridge handles. Everybody keeps grabbing them all day long. When was the last time you wiped them down?
- Recycled bags for groceries. One week they carry chicken, the next produce. Can you imagine the opportunities for bacteria to grow? Reader’s Digest suggests turning them inside out and spraying them with a disinfectant. Allow to dry and you are ready for the next market run
- Dishwasher clean? The seals on the doors of dishwashers are perfectly suited for fungi. Clean with a small brush and cleaner. Run the machine through a cycle, empty, then spray with a cup of white vinegar. This eliminates germs and odours at the same time
- For a more efficient and effective effort, clean from top to bottom, rather than the opposite. Cabinets come first, followed by counters, handles and tables, with floors being the last to clean so you can ensure you get anything you drop
- Did you spill blueberry jam on the carpet? Woman’s Day warns us, avoid the natural reaction to rub at a stain. In addition to making the stain go deeper, rubbing actually untwists the fibres of the carpet. So, even if you remove the stain, the unravelled carpet would still look quite odd.
The best thing to do is to scoop up what you can with a spoon, then keep blotting the spot with a wet paper towel. Leave to dry, then treat the stain with carpet stain remover. Test your cleaner in an unseen area first just for safety
- Stove-top grills are a fiesta for germs. The Food Network recommends sealing them in a Ziploc bag with ¼ cup of ammonia overnight. Scrub them the next morning
- How clean is your cutting board? Think for a second about what you cut on it: cheese, bread, veggies, chicken? Make sure it is clean by rubbing salt with a half-lemon all over the board. This gets inside the nooks and crannies
- Microwave ovens need more than just wiping down. Put ¾ cup of water and three tablespoons of lemon juice inside, run until the substance boils, then turn off the oven and let it sit. Open the door after ten minutes and wipe down the grime left behind
- Always use lemon juice and white vinegar as substitutes for chemical-based cleaners for all of your cleaning. Chemicals can ruin the natural shine of counters and floors
- Kitchen sponges are the dirtiest items in the house. Do you regularly clean them? The best way to rid your sponges of unwanted bacteria is to microwave them for two minutes on High. It is fast and easy, but remember they are hot when you remove them. You can also run them through the dishwasher or soak them for five minutes in either bleach or white vinegar.
How did you do on our list? Chances are you keep a clean, safe and healthy kitchen already, but now you know enough to pass even the board of health’s most rigorous of tests.