Spring is here at last! Or at least, for me, the spring weather is finally here to stay. So what does this mean? I can send the kids outside to play, and it’s time to get some Spring Cleaning done in the house!
When I think of spring cleaning, the two areas of the house that tend to need the most attention are always the kitchen and the bathrooms. And bathrooms are just gross, so I will stick to the kitchen and leave those for the guys to deal with!
I feel like there are some more apparent tasks when it comes to cleaning the kitchen: wipe down the counters, clean and put away the dishes, scrub the stovetop, etc. Those get the kitchen tidy and are things that we do every night (I can’t go to bed with a messy kitchen), but that doesn’t deep clean the kitchen.
There are so many reasons to keep your kitchen clean, most importantly so the area you prep your food in is safe and sanitary, but it also feels nice to step into a freshly cleaned kitchen. The lovely smell of lemon cleaner and feel of the smooth, clean counters… I can’t be the only one, right?
When it comes to deep cleaning the kitchen, there are a few places that are commonly missed (or purposely overlooked) because they aren’t always easy to see. Out of sight, out of mind.
Behind the Refrigerator
How long has your refrigerator been in place? Do you even know the last time it was pulled away from the wall? Now imagine how much dust, dirt, and grime has built up back there. Not to mention under the front of it from things that spill close to it that you can’t entirely clean up.
This is a two-person job; please don’t try to do it by yourself. You want to be quick as well because the power cord probably isn’t very long, so you will have to unplug it to move enough. Carefully roll the refrigerator away from the wall and grab a vacuum with a hose to clean behind it. Then use a washcloth with your preferred cleaning solution to wipe down the walls and floor. Make sure to towel dry the area before putting the refrigerator back.
Many refrigerators have coils in the back of them that also get dusty, so it’s a good time to dust those off as well. Make sure you check the manual for your refrigerator for the proper way to clean it, so you don’t do any damage.
Another place that tends to get grimy is the underside of the range hood (or microwave if it’s above your stove). Think about all the steam, oil, and everything else that rises out of your pots and pans. All of that has to go somewhere, and it usually gets caught under the microwave or range hood.
I find a mix of water and vinegar, or sometimes just really hot water is sufficient to get the grease off of it. Some will also have a removable filter or screen that you can soak in warm water and vinegar to scrub clean. I try to clean this with my monthly cleaning, and I am still amazed at how much has built up after that short amount of time.
Inside: Take everything out of the cabinets, one at a time, and wipe down the shelves and inside of the cabinet. Dust will gather in there and then that gets on your dishes. If you have food in any of the cabinets, it helps to clean out any crumbs to keep bugs from finding the food later.
Outside: The outside of the cabinets also start to get some grimy build-up, especially the ones near the stovetop. And the lower cabinets tend to get food spilled on them every so often. Use either a slightly damp rag, or a product called Murphys’s Oil that was recommended to us by our builder. If you use a cleaner, make sure to read the instructions and check that it’s ok to use on your cabinet material.
Above: If you have space above your cabinets, chances are it’s used for decorative and/or storage purposes, meaning you aren’t getting up there very often. Take a quick look at all the dust that gathers up there! You can either use a hand vacuum or a damp rag to clean the area. I’ve heard of people putting a layer of parchment or wax paper up there to remove instead of cleaning, but that just sounds like a lot of wasted paper to me.
Handles & Cabinet Pulls
Think about how often you are grabbing the handle to your pantry doors or the pulls for your silverware drawer. Are your hands clean every time? I’ve read that some of the dirtiest things we touch every day are things like door handles, phones, remotes, mouse and keyboard, etc. Those things we touch daily but hardly ever sanitize.
Get your favorite sanitizer and do a quick clean on all of the handles and cabinet pulls. I have a small spray bottle with some of my DoTerra OnGuard Essential Oil and water that I will spray on these surfaces, then wipe dry with a clean cloth. You can also use other cleaning products, whichever you prefer in your house.
You may have already looked at the underside of the microwave if it’s over the stove, but open it up and look inside! Even with the best intentions of keeping the food covered from popping, it always happens. If you don’t clean it as soon as that happens (and really, who does?) the food will start to get hardened and be difficult to clean.
Use a microwave-safe bowl or cup and fill it with about 1 cup of water. Add either some lemon or lime slices or a few tablespoons of vinegar and cook it on high for about 3-5 minutes. Leave the microwave closed for another 1-2 minutes. Use a rag and easily wipe off the inside walls of the microwave. The water should have steamed up which will soften the food stuck in there. I like to use that water to dip the edges of the rag in if I need a bit while cleaning. Just be careful, the water inside and the bowl it sits in will be extremely hot!
I know, cleaning the baseboards is never a fun job. I hate it, it’s so hard on my back, but it’s necessary, especially in the kitchen. When I do my weekly vacuuming, I try to get as close to the cabinets and baseboards as possible, but it’s not perfect. A couple of times per year I get out the hose on the vacuum and go along the baseboards in the entire house.
So many things collect in that small space below the cabinets and along the baseboards. If you have the time and ability, it’s even better to go back after you vacuum and use a wet rag with some soap on it to really clean everything. The vacuum will get crumbs, but it won’t clean spills.
Your dishwasher is always cleaning the dishes, so you would think it’s also clean inside, right? Well think about how often there is still moisture left in there after a cycle, and then you close it up again, and it seals. Again, I would assume the next cleaning cycle would clean that up, but after a while, the dishwasher starts to have a slight smell to it that just won’t go away.
I’ve found that this can be cleaned in a similar way to the inside of the microwave. I grab my large 2-cup glass measuring cup and fill it with 1 cup of vinegar. Place this on the top rack of your dishwasher when it’s otherwise empty and run a regular cycle. The vinegar will go around the dishwasher and help get rid of any grease and grime as well as that funky smell.
Even if you use a bag to line your trash can, they still tend to smell and get gross. About twice per year, we take the entire can outside and clean it out. Unless you have something stuck, it doesn’t usually take much. We put a few squirts of dish soap in the can and use the hose to wash it all down. Sometimes we grab a rag to wipe down the sides, then either towel dry the can or let it air dry. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to do this to all the trash cans in the house, including the big ones that go to the street.
Ahhhh, coffee. I know so many people who can’t function without it in the morning, my husband included. I personally don’t like the taste of coffee, but do have my afternoon caramel cappuccino! But again, similar to the dishwasher, think about all the water that is inside the machine at all times. It’s so easy for water to get trapped in little spots and become moldy.
I end up cleaning our Keurig out twice per year because I completely drain it if we are leaving for some time, and we tend to go on vacation in the summer and winter. Once we get home, I clean it out before we use it again.
Whether you have a Keurig or traditional coffee pot, you can do the same cleaning process with either one. Fill the water reservoir with a 50/50 water and vinegar mix. Run it through the machine until that water is completely used. On the Keurig, I set it for the largest cup I can and don’t have any k-cup in there, and keep doing that until it says to fill the water. I fill the container and do it once more to make sure all of the vinegar is out, so our coffee doesn’t have that flavor.