HomeWorks: Getting Ready for Spring - A Good Kitchen Cleaning Paves the Way

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As one of the most used rooms in the house, the kitchen is a good starting point for a thorough spring cleaning.

Before the invention of central heat and electricity, houses were warmed by wood, coal, or oil and light was provided by candles. When the cold winter months gave way to the first warm days of spring, the opportunity to air out the house and clean ashes and soot from the furnishings, walls, and floors was most welcome. Today, the tradition is carried on in the form of spring cleaning.

One of the most used rooms in the home, the kitchen requires its own kind of special cleaning. Old and expired containers of food need to be removed from the refrigerator, appliances need to be cleaned, windows washed, floors mopped, and cupboards uncluttered. This can be a daunting and time consuming task but, with a few shortcuts, it doesnít have to be an all day event.

Getting Started

Before tackling the major clean-up, itís best to begin with a quick basic cleaning. This should take approximately fifteen minutes and is a good foundation for a more thorough job.

- Go through the kitchen and throw away anything that might be classified as trash.
- Wash the dishes, either by hand or using the dishwasher. If by hand, dry the dishes and put them away as well.
- Put anything that does not belong in the kitchen in a basket to be put away later.
- Put anything that does belong in the kitchen but is not in its proper place where it belongs.
- Empty the trash.

Once the basic clean-up is completed, gather all necessary cleaning supplies before getting started on the main event. These supplies might include:

- Gloves
- Sponge
- Mop and bucket
- All purpose cleaner
- Kitchen wipes
- Scrubber
- Paper towels
- Dust mop
- Vacuum with attachment

The Real Cleaning Begins

A good place to start is with the walls and ceiling. A microfiber-type dust mop with an extension handle ought to reach upper corners and will attract dust and cobwebs. Also, if there are photographs or artwork on the walls, dampen a cloth with cleaner and wipe them down, taking care that the liquid does not seep under the glass and damage the pictures.

If the room has a ceiling fan, clean and dust the blades and remove any light fixtures which should then be carefully washed, dried, and replaced. Take down curtains and drapes and either wash or have dry cleaned and dust and wash blinds if needed. Wash the windows, inside and out, and vacuum windowsills.

Now itís time to move on to the biggest parts of the project:

- Spray oven cleaner inside the oven and let it set. Itís a good idea to open doors and/or windows so the smell does not become overpowering.
- If possible, move the refrigerator out in order to sweep and mop beneath and vacuum the coils in the back of the refrigerator.
- Go through the freezer and refrigerator and throw out anything that is expired, never used, or nearly empty. Clean drawers and shelves and wipe down the interior of the freezer and refrigerator. Replace drawers and shelves and put back food that is being kept.
- Using a sponge and gloves, wipe out the inside of the oven. If all burnt food residue does not come off, a second application may be necessary.
- Remove all knobs, electric coils or burners, and drip pans from the cooktop and soak them in hot soapy water or use whatever method of cleaning is recommended by the manufacturer. If the cooktop lifts up, spills beneath it can be cleaned up and crumbs vacuumed out. Wipe off stove and wash, dry, and replace everything that was removed.
- Clean all small appliances such as the toaster, blender, and microwave. Heat a microwave-safe bowl to boiling in the microwave to loosen any stuck on food. Drop a few slices of lemon in the water to freshen the inside.
- Remove everything from the cupboards. If they need to be relined, do that now. Toss out anything that hasnít been used in the past year or is mismatched and reorganize what is left. Clean the inside and outside of the cupboards.
- Clean the countertops and backsplash.
- Clean out and reorganize all the drawers. Wipe down the insides and outsides.
- Toss a few lemon peels down the garbage disposal, turn it on, and run water down the drain. Clean the inside of the sink using a recommended cleanser for the type of sink.
- Sweep and mop the entire kitchen floor.

The entire process should take between one and two hours, depending on the size of the kitchen and when it last received a thorough cleaning.

A Clean Kitchen

Now that the kitchen is spotless, the rest of the house beckons. One way to make sure spring cleaning doesnít take too long is to choose a different room each month and give it a good cleaning, top to bottom, year round. Not only will this help keep the house clean and dust-free, but it will help keep the air inside from getting stale, even during the cold fall and winter months.