After the holiday company leaves and life’s pace gets back to normal, the last thing most of us want to do is a deep-clean the kitchen. Here it is March (almost spring) and the post-holiday mess still lingers.
Since we’re on the spring-cleaning doorstep, this is the ideal time to bust out the rubber gloves and cleaning supplies and roll up your sleeves. Like eating an elephant, take this project one bite at a time.
We suggest starting in the center of your kitchen’s greasy universe – the stove.
Start at the top
Professional house cleaners know to start at the top of a room and work down as they clean. This avoids having the “muck” from the upper surfaces end up on freshly-cleaned areas below.
For instance, clean the range hood before cleaning the stove (unless the built-in microwave is above the exhaust vent. If it is, start there – we explain how, below). This is most likely the greasiest area of the kitchen, so you’ll need heavy-duty-type cleaners for this task.
Start with the filter. If you have a metal filter, remove it and place it in a sink or bin full of degreasing solution – either commercial or homemade.
“Using degreasing dish soap and hot water, by itself, is as effective in cleaning stuck-on grease as anything sold in the aftermarket,” suggests the experts with Gold Star Maids. They go on to recommend boiling water and a long-handled scrub brush to avoid being burned by the water.
Personally, we’ve tried that solution, to no avail. If you don’t mind using ammonia, substitute the smelly stuff for the dish soap in that boiling water.
After scrubbing, rinse the filter in warm water and allow it to dry before replacing it in the hood.
Next, tackle the range hood. Never use abrasive materials on stainless steel. Wipe it down with soap and water, dry it and then use your shine product. Try WD-40® on a soft cloth, rubbing in the direction of the grain.
Microwave and stove
Microwave cleaning isn’t as daunting as it may appear, regardless of how dirty it is.
Slice a lemon in half and place it in a large bowl of water. Place the bowl in the microwave oven and allow the water to boil for about five minutes.
This will create a lemony steam to loosen dried bits of food on the walls and ceiling of the oven. The bonus is that it also creates a much more pleasant scent than last week’s dried up food.
Wear heavy waterproof gloves and use a plastic scrubby dipped into the hot lemon water to wipe down the interior of the oven.
Next, remove the burner grates, drip pans and knobs from the stove. Danny Lipford with Today’s Homeowner suggests using a solution of dish soap and baking soda for the grates and drip pans, allowing them to sit in the solution. Then, use a citrus-based cleaner on the stove.
Ew, the oven
Self-cleaning ovens. They seem heaven-sent, don’t they? Unless you’re one of the unfortunate who has experienced a blown fuse or other damage caused by the self-cleaning process.
The “science” behind the reasons that ovens often fail after the self-cleaning cycle is a bit complicated, but Faith Durand, at TheKitchn.com does a brilliant job explaining it.
If you’re among those of us who refuse to use the self-cleaning function of our ovens, or Durand has talked you out of it, it’s time to get back to the old-school ways of cleaning.
This might include the use of a commercial oven-cleaning product, but it doesn’t have to. The experts at FamilyHandyman.com give instructions on how to clean the oven without chemicals.
- Use a scrub brush to remove burned-on debris.
- Combine baking soda, a squirt of dishwashing liquid and enough water to create a paste.
- Use a sponge to apply the paste, covering all areas of the oven (except for the vents).
- Allow the paste to remain on the surfaces overnight.
- Spray the paste-applied areas with a mixture of equal parts of water and vinegar, allow it to remain for 15 minutes and then wipe clean.
There you go – one spring cleaning chore out of the way.