With a focus on food safety these days, it is becoming more and more important to properly clean one’s kitchen and food prep areas. While basic clean-up after preparation and eating is important, there are some basic guidelines and schedule one should follow to keep the kitchen clean and avoid contamination.
One good tip is to keep a spray bottle with a solution of one part bleach and four parts water handy. This is an ideal cleaner and kills germs. It is especially important if handling poultry and meat on the counter top to clean up properly so the liquids do not spread to other foods. A quick spritz with the solution makes sure things are completely clean.
Get rid of the sponge! The dishwashing sponge is a germ magnet. While it’s fine for washing pots and pans, many think of it as a clean all. For wiping counters, use kitchen paper so you can toss after you are done. If you are wed to the sponge, run it through the dishwasher, spray your bleach and water solution on nightly or zap it in the microwave for a minute or two. Change it often even it doesn’t look dirty.
For regular cleaning, here’s a list of daily, weekly, monthly and occasional tasks. These are of course simply rules of thumb. Some may want to do some chores more or less often.
• Use multipurpose cleaner to clean counters, range and vent hoods.
• Scrub out the sink and dry thoroughly.
• Sweep up with special care around baseboards.
• Damp mop the floor.
• Wipe down counter appliances.
• Clean appliance exterior with appropriate spray cleaner.
• Clean and disinfect the sink and counter tops.
• Check refrigerator for spoiled or expired food.
• Wipe down cabinets exteriors.
• Clean the oven and vents.
• Clean and disinfect the refrigerator.
• Dump out ice tray and wash thoroughly.
• Wipe down pantry shelves.
• Pull utensils from drawers and wipe down.
Few Times a Year
1. Clean kitchen drain. A half cup of baking soda followed by equal amount of white vinegar is a good cleaner and disinfectant.
2. Clean the microwave. Put a bowl of water with a few tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar inside. Turn the microwave on high for two or three minutes and then remove. Wipe out the inside right after. The steam will have loosened any dirt.
3. Clean the dishwasher. Scrub around the door and get in crevices and the rubber seal (a toothbrush is a good tool). Check the drain basket and clean if necessary. Put a bowl with a cup of white vinegar on the top rack and run on the hottest cycle.
4. Take out all dishes, glasses, bowls, etc. from cabinets and wipe down insides with a multipurpose cleaner. A vinegar and water solution also makes a good cleaner and deodorizer.
5. If possible, pull the refrigerator away from the wall and vacuum and wipe down the floor. Also clean off the coils in the back. This will make the refrigerator run more efficiently.
Armed with these tips and schedule, one can be assured of a clean and safe kitchen. Keeping a kitchen looking its best is a lot of work. Some people have a professional cleaner come in once or twice a year to clean.