HR-032016-Joanne-2Something about the star t of spring makes me want to clear out and clean up. Every year, I make it a goal to do a deep, thorough spring cleaning, emptying my closets and getting the house spick and span. This year, I’m starting with the kitchen. If you want to do a deep spring cleaning in your kitchen, too, start by following these steps:

Pare down. Cut down on anything in excess. Reusable food containers, for instance, should be limited to about 10 to 12 pieces. Limit plastic bags (and even reusable bags) to 10. Donate the extras and toss the unusables. Remove everything from your pantry, and only keep the essentials. Donate the food you know you won’t consume within the next three months. Vacuum the shelving and then wipe it down.

Tackle the oven. Remove the racks and soak them in warm, soapy water. If you have a self-cleaning oven, start it after removing the racks. The process can take several hours. When the cycle is done, wipe down the inside with a damp rag. Remove stove knobs and wash them with warm water and mild soap.

Clear out. Remove everything from the counter-tops, and wipe the surfaces down with mild dish soap and rinse with water. Wipe down other surfaces, too, like the backsplash, appliances and vent hood. If you have a natural stone counter top that needs regular treatment, consider adding that to your list as well.
Clean the cabinetry. Empty the insides, and vacuum any debris with a hand vacuum. Then, mix one gallon of hot water and one-fourth cup of vinegar. Wipe down the shelving and doors, inside and out, with this solution and a sponge or rag, scrubbing when necessary. Leave the doors open to dry for a few hours before restocking.

Raid the fridge. Empty it completely, and toss out anything expired or anything you know you will not eat. Remove crisper drawers, and wash them thoroughly with soap and water. Vacuum the condenser coils.

Maintain your clean kitchen. Decide what sponges, brushes and rags you will use for what and stick to it to avoid cross-contamination. Make sure all of your household members know the rules. Microwave your sponge for one minute from time to time to sterilize it, or throw it in the dishwasher along with any dish brushes. Make it a habit to clear the counters and wipe them down each day.

Email if you have a comment or question for Joanne.