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Spring clean the kitchen  Smart Choices Archive

Spring clean the kitchen

Cleaning one appliance at a time makes spring cleaning a bit easier to tackle. Photo: Fotolia

Your Efficient, Comfortable, Safe Home

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home. Consequently, it is typically the busiest – and messiest – room in the house. Finding the time and patience to clean and organize this high-traffic hub is tough, and becoming motivated can be difficult, too. 

When you are in the kitchen waiting for dinner to cook or a cake to bake, clean one appliance at a time. By doing a little bit each week, by the end of the month you’ll have a clean kitchen.

For all appliances, check your owner’s manual for any instructions and how-tos.


  • Check the spray arms to make sure they aren’t clogged. If there is a plugged hole, use a toothpick or tweezers to pull out any gunk. If it’s possible to remove the arms in your model and if they appear to be clogged, you can soak them in a mixture of vinegar and water.
  • Check the rubber seal, and clean with dishwasher soap and water (dish soap is too sudsy and should not be used to clean the dishwasher). This area can catch bits of food, and produce mold and fungus over time. Notice the inside and outside edges that don’t get sanitized during the wash cycle. If necessary, use an old toothbrush to scrape away the gunk.
  • Check your manual to discover how to clean the filter. If your dishes aren’t getting clean, it may be because your filter is clogged.
  • Good Housekeeping magazine suggests wiping up any debris inside the dishwasher with a paper towel, then filling a cup with white vinegar. Place the cup on the top rack, then run a full cycle. Another trick for deodorizing: sprinkle a cup of baking soda on the bottom of the dishwasher, then run a full cycle.


  • Along with freshening and killing germs, this is a good time to get rid of expired condiments, old and moldy leftovers, and anything else lurking in the back of the refrigerator. Toss anything past its use-by date or that you are unsure of.
  • After all foods are removed, remove shelves, drawers, and racks. These can be washed in the sink using hot water and detergent. A rinse of a tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of warm water sanitizes these units. Allow to dry.
  • To clean the inside surfaces, mix vinegar and water in equal parts. Wipe down all inside and outside surfaces, including the gaskets along with inside and outside edges. Use an old toothbrush to scrub out cracks and crevices. Sprinkle a little baking soda on any stains or stuck-on bits. Scrub it in with a rag or toothbrush dipped in the vinegar and water mixture.
  • Follow the same directions to clean your freezer. And don’t forget your ice maker, especially if you’ve noticed the ice has an “off” taste. Dump the ice and clean the bin in the sink. Inside the freezer, either lift the arm or shut off the unit (if you don’t know how to shut it off, unplug the fridge). Clean the unit with vinegar and water, then wipe it thoroughly with a dry rag.


Put a cup of water, or a mixture of vinegar and water, in the microwave, let boil for 3-4 minutes to create moisture on the cavity walls. This should loosen anything that has been caked on. Scrub out with soapy water or baking soda (which also helps deodorize).

Stove and oven

  • Clean greasy residue from the stovetop (as well as other appliances and kitchen cabinets) trying one of these remedies: spritzing on straight vinegar, making a baking soda paste to scrub onto the greasy spots, or applying degreaser dish detergent with a wet rag.
  • To clean the oven, you may be able to wipe out a layer of baked-on spills using a wet rag and a bit of baking soda. For more intense cleaning, follow the manufacturer’s directions.


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