5 top tips for spring-cleaning your kitchen
Appliances such as washing machines, fridge freezers, ovens and microwaves are designed to make our lives easier.
But if we want to get the best from them we need to spend a bit of time keeping them in great condition - and what better time to make a start than spring!
Here are some tips to g...
If we want to get the best from them we need to spend a bit of time keeping them in great condition - and what better time to make a start than spring.
Here are some tips to give you the inspiration to get you going:
1) Washing your washing machine
Your washing machine is probably the hardest working appliance you own so it's worth giving it some TLC. For example if you use powder detergent the dispenser drawer will need taking out and cleaning as it can get clogged up with bits of residue soap. See the following Knowhow article for instructions on the best method.
You should also get into the habit of running a maintenance wash every month or so to avoid problems. For example if the inside of the drum becomes smelly, running your machine on a 60º programme with a biological detergent will do the trick. For more information see our Our Knowhow article for details.
You can find lots more information about cleaning maintaining your washing machine in the Knowledge Bank on Knowhow.
2) Green cleaning your oven
It's a drag, but is has to be done - a blog on the Jamie Oliver website titled great cooking starts with a clean oven explains the importance of tackling this much maligned dirty job.
The best way to tackle the task is to set aside some time to give the oven your undivided attention. Then arm yourself with a bowl of hot soapy water, a sponge, cleaning cloths and rubber gloves and get stuck in.
Tip: An old toothbrush is useful for removing baked on grime from difficult to reach nooks and crannies.
To avoid those choking fumes associated with chemical oven cleaners and be environmentally friendly, you can clean your oven with just a few household staples. It's cheaper too.
A tried and tested method is to use a mixture of baking soda and salt: set aside a time when you can leave the oven cleaning overnight.
- Remove the shelves and leave them to soak in some hot soapy water
- Mix together one cup of baking soda with 1/3 cup of table salt and make it into a paste with some water
- Spread the paste on the glass door and bottom of your oven (include the walls if they're not self cleaning. Leave overnight.
- Wipe off the baking powder mixture and grime with a damp sponge, rinsing frequently
- Dry with a soft cloth
Lemon juice and salt is also effective at removing stubborn grease and grime from your oven, while vinegar is excellent for cleaning glass surfaces.
3) Fridge freezer
Did you know that your fridge salad drawer can contain as much as 750 times the level of bacteria considered safe, including ecoli, salmonella and listeria? The best way to rid your fridge of germs is to make sure the temperature is set correctly (between 5°C to 3°C) and to regularly clean the interior, including all the storage areas, drawers and shelves.
- Take out all the food, throwing away anything past its sell-by-date
- Take out all the removable parts of the fridge such as shelves, racks, vegetable trays etc.
- Wash all the shelves and removable parts with warm soapy water.
- Using a clean sponge or soft cloth, clean the inside of the fridge, using either a mild non abrasive detergent or baking powder and water.
- Once the fridge is dry, replace all shelves and drawers
- Wash the outside of the refrigerator and the rubber molding around the door with warm soapy water. Dry with paper towels or a cloth
- Turn the temperature control knob inside the refrigerator back to the recommended setting and return the food to the refrigerator wiping any bottles or jars that are sticky, and store any uncovered food in sealed containers or freezer bags
4. Microwave oven
Just like your oven, your microwave will need a thorough cleaning from time to time, and it's often baked on food and drink splatters up the sides and top of the oven that create the mess. Unfortunately these are the most tricky to get off.
- Wipe away any loose crumbs with a damp cloth.
- Partially fill a bowel with plain water and half a lemon. Place it in the microwave and set it to high for about 2 minutes.
- Once the timer's pinged, remove the bowl from the microwave then dampen a clean cloth in the water (the water will be very hot so wear rubber gloves or wait for it to cool down). Use the cloth to wipe away the grime from the interior of the microwave. It should now come away easily.
- If you're still left with any stubborn marks, add a bit of plain white vinegar to your cloth.
- Leave the door of the oven open for a few minutes to air.
Tip:never use harsh chemicals or bleach to clean your microwave.
5) Cleaning stainless steel
Stainless steel has a special coating on it that protects it from rust, scratches and stains. If this coating wears away, the plain steel layer beneath is exposed to damage. It's become a really popular finish for appliances but it can be tricky to keep looking pristine. It's important not to use harsh chemicals or bleaching agents as they can eat away at the coating.
- Remove stubborn residues by dabbing them with a little white vinegar. If food or greasy deposits are tricky to shift, leave the vinegar for a few minutes
- Once the deposits have broken down, re-apply the anti-bacterial spray
- Wipe the area dry, wiping in the direction of the steel finish
Tip: Avoid wiping in circular motions. This will scrub away the protective film and spread stain residues across the stainless steel surface.
Olive oil is a good gentle cleanser - it removes surface stains by diluting them, and doesn't break down the protective coating on stainless steel appliances. You can also use baby oil.
- Dab a little oil onto a clean, dry cloth
- Wipe the oil over the stainless steel surface and leave for several minutes
- Remove the oily residue with a kitchen towel