Kitchen Boot Camp
Though your kitchen may appear to be the portrait of healthy perfection, you may want to take a closer look. Studies have shown that kitchen sinks, refrigerators, cutting boards and even dish towels contain germs that can lead to colds, flu and even food poisoning. So what's a busy mom to do? The cleaning experts at professional cleaning company Merry Maids weigh in on how you can win the battle against kitchen grime.
Go for the fridge
- Daily: Before placing containers in the refrigerator, wipe their exteriors and securely cover them. This will help avoid spills and reduce odors.
- Weekly: Dispose of leftover items that haven't been eaten or have expired. This allows room for new items. Ideally, make an effort not to refrigerate leftovers that your family isn't likely to eat.
- Monthly: Remove all items and clean each shelf and bin one at a time, moving from top to bottom. Don't forget to also wash the walls of the fridge. Use warm, soapy water for this monthly process, and be sure to dry thoroughly.
Rid your sink of dirt and grime
For stainless steel or ceramic sinks, rinse the sink after each use and wipe with a clean, dry cloth. Drying the sink will prevent mineral deposits from building up on the surface.
- Each week, scour the sink, rubbing with the grain of the sink. When scouring, use a non-abrasive cleaner, such as an all-purpose cleanser or glass and surface cleaner. Do not use steel wool, wire brushes or abrasive sponges.
- Use a stainless steel cleaner or a small amount of olive oil to add shine to a stainless steel sink.
Don't forget your small appliances
- To freshen your disposal, fill it with ice cubes and slices of lime or lemon. Then, run cold water while the disposal is on for about 30 seconds. The ice will sharpen and clean the blades, and the citrus will release a fresh scent -- yum!
- If you have stuck-on foods in the microwave, fill a two-cup glass measuring cup with one cup of water and the juice from one lemon. Microwave for about 30 seconds or until the water boils. This should create steam in the microwave that will loosen stuck-on foods so you can wipe the microwave clean. The lemon juice will also provide a fresh scent.
Before you get started on your kitchen cleaning spree, check out these helpful hints from nationally syndicated home columnist and author Marni Jameson:
- Harmful bacteria and viruses can live on a sponge up to 24 hours -- gross! Clean sponges after each use by rinsing them with clean water and microwaving them for a couple minutes, running them through the dishwasher, or saturating them with dishwashing liquid. Toss them when they start to break down or smell. You also can use a dish cloth or cleaning cloth instead.
- Open the windows. Fresh air (and clean air-vent filters) can move germs on. Believe it or not, sunshine is also a great disinfectant; the sun's ultraviolet rays kill many micro-organisms.
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