Kitchen spring cleaning – part 1

Where to start?

Are you one of the lucky ones who started your spring cleaning early this year? No? Well, I haven’t either! It can be quite easy to procrastinate and save these jobs for another day, but if not now, when? The kitchen can be a problem area when it comes to dirt and bacteria – cooking can create greasy areas for dirt to hide and bacteria to grow.

So, where do you start?

If your counter is a mess, start with clearing it off, wiping away mess along the way. You’ll be using this method to organize, also.

Organize your pantry and food cupboards first. Check for expiration dates. Have boxes set aside for either donations or trash. Throw out anything that is too old and donate anything you no longer will use. Move products to bins so the temptation to keep things isn’t there. Dust and clean the shelves before putting anything back into the cupboard or pantry. When dry, arrange your foods with oldest in front, so you will use up the oldest box of macaroni before the ones you bought this week.

Clean out your pot and pan drawer/cupboard. Take everything out and make sure all is clean. Clean the shelves or drawer, making sure to clean the sides as well. Organize your pots and pans with their covers in a way that will make it easy for you to find what you need.

Organize your baking cupboard. If you have flours and baking supplies there, go through the same procedure you did with your pantry, donating or tossing. Clean your shelves and make sure they are dry before putting supplies or pans back. Again, practice the first in, first out rule for supplies. Arrange the pans in a way to make it easy for you to work.

Clean your storage cupboards and drawers. Empty one cupboard or drawer at a time, throwing away anything that is broken. Clean any organizing bins you may have and clean out the cupboard/drawer. If you have shelf paper, this is a good time to replace it and start fresh. When the cupboard/drawer is clean and dry, replace your things, storing like items together.

Clean your cupboard doors and door fronts. Now that the things you can’t see in your kitchen are all clean and organized, it’s time to tackle what you can see! Use a product safe for the type of material your kitchen has, and clean. Make sure to clean both the fronts and backs of your doors, getting into any grooves. Grease tends to congregate in the hinges and grooves of wood cupboards. The knobs on cabinets should be cleaned as well. They can be taken off and soaked if they are especially dirty, and put back on when dry.

Clean and sanitize your backsplash, counter and garbage/recycle bins. Michigan State University Extension recommends that garbage and/or recycle containers should be cleaned outside so as not to spread bacteria. A good sanitizing solution is one tablespoon regular, unscented bleach to one gallon water. Use this as the final spray or application and let air dry.

Now that your cupboards and drawers are in tip top condition, it’s time to clean the floor. Sweep first then mop or steam clean. Your kitchen is almost finished with spring cleaning; we’ll talk about cleaning your appliances in part two of this spring cleaning series.

If you would like information about keeping your family safe from foodborne illness, contact your local MSU Extension office, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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