I think the kitchen is one of the most complicated spaces in the home to clean and maintain. It can be time-consuming and it can be confusing. We all have different appliances, we cook differently, and we have different things in our cupboards and pantries, so there’s a lot to cover. All that said, there are some tips and tricks that you can employ to keep your kitchen sparkling, regardless of what’s happening in your unique circumstance. As a cleaning professional, I’ve amassed a lot of these little cleaning secrets over the years, so here are 10 kitchen cleaning secrets that will make cleaning and maintaining your kitchen a snap!
The Eye-Level Test
The eye-level test is truly a pro tip, it’s a game-changer for keeping a clean space. I had no idea about it before I got into cleaning professionally but now use it at home all the time as well. To employ the eye-level test you need to get down to the same level as the surface that you’re cleaning. Once you’re down there, use light—whether it’s from a window or from an actual overhead light source—and maneuver it so you get an almost reflective view of the surface. Viewing a surface at eye-level with the light just so you’ll find all the little bits that you’ve missed.
Removing Dinnerware Scratches
Over time your dishes will eventually end up with scratches and marks on them from regular use of forks and knives. Although it’s unsightly, it’s a pretty easy problem to fix. Get yourself some cream of tartar, which you can pick up in the spice aisle at your local grocery store. Simply make a paste with a little water and the cream of tartar. You want it to be a pudding-like consistency, so be liberal with the cream of tartar. Apply the paste onto the scratched surface and rub it in a circular motion with your finger or a cloth. Apply a few drops of vinegar or lemon juice for particularly stubborn scratches. Keep rubbing to buff away the scuffs, and then rinse and wipe clean. This will work inside mugs as well.
Natural Stone Stain Remover
Just this morning I got a DM on Instagram with someone asking:
How do I remove a coffee stain from a granite countertop?
This happens all the time, whether it’s turmeric, tomato sauce, coffee, or wine, we all get stains on these finicky countertops. An easy way to remove that stain is by simply applying equal parts rubbing alcohol and dish soap onto the surface. Mix it together with your fingers to cover the stain and let it sit. Come back 10 minutes later and give it a quick wipe and what you’ll likely notice is that the stain is gone. Now, on that note, I can’t stress enough the importance of sealing your natural stone. I know it’s one of those jobs that you don’t really think about, but at the end of the day, you’ve spent a lot of money on these countertops, and sealing them actually provides a protective barrier so stains don’t set in.
Hard Water Deposits
When you see this in the kitchen, you can’t unsee it: hard water deposits on and around the faucet. This is not a big deal, it’s just unsightly, and once you clean it your faucet and the whole sink area just looks so much more fresh and clean. The way to remove the hard water stains is to get yourself some vinegar and fill a plastic bag with it. Put the faucet head right in there, and affix it with an elastic band. Let it sit overnight and the next morning take off the vinegar bag and the hard water deposits will be gone (this works for your shower head too!). Now, if the area around your faucet has any of that build-up as well, you can just take a cloth or paper towel soaked in vinegar and affix it to the area. Again, let it sit for several hours then remove it to find the hard water stains gone.
Cleaning Glass Cooktops
I’ve had a glass cooktop for the last 11 years. So, it’s not a stretch to say I’ve got some experience cleaning glass cooktops. I hear so many comments about people saying that it’s really challenging—it’s a pain to clean, and it looks unsightly. And, it’s true! If you think about it, you have a hot surface, you have something that’s bubbled over and baked on, and glass is a delicate surface! If you use something super abrasive it can also scratch the surface, which can lead to cracking—you’ve got to be careful with these things! So the challenge is, how do you clean a glass cooktop properly? I’ve tested a number of things over the years and I’ve recently found these cooktop wands made specifically for cleaning glass cooktops. They work really well with just water (just let water sit on the mess for a few minutes and then scrub), and they don’t scratch the surface. Win!
The Kitchen Sink
It’s hard to be poetic about cleaning, but I will tell you this: I really believe that the kitchen sink is like the bed of the kitchen—If you walk into a bedroom and a bed is beautifully made, the rest of the bedroom just feels clean. It feels organized and beautiful. The same thing goes with the kitchen sink. If you walk into a kitchen and it looks pretty good and the sink is sparkling, all of a sudden that elevates the kitchen. The rest of the kitchen feels great. On the flip side, if you walk in and you see a grungy sink with dishes in it, the kitchen kind of feels gross. So, the habit that we’ve tried to get into is keeping the kitchen sink empty, and giving it a quick clean after every meal. What that looks like for us is making sure there are no dishes left behind, followed by a quick scrub with baking soda and a bit of dish soap, a rinse, and a quick buff with a microfiber cloth. The whole thing takes under a minute and it makes all the difference.
There’s no doubt that vinegar is a powerful cleaner. However, the smell of vinegar is a polarizing subject. So many people don’t want to clean with it because they simply cannot handle the smell. An easy way to make your vinegar smell better for cleaning is to get yourself a mason jar and fill it with citrus peels. Whatever you have on hand will do—lemon, orange, lime. Top it up with plain white vinegar and let it sit for at least 3 days. When that time has passed, grab a strainer and filter out your freshly infused vinegar to be used in all of your DIY cleaning recipes.
Cleaning your oven is one of the more daunting kitchen cleaning tasks, although a self-cleaning oven it does lighten the load significantly. But—did you know that when you self-clean your oven you can’t leave your oven racks in there? So that begs the question, how do you clean oven racks? Well, it involves a bathtub, a towel, and your oven racks, and I have a whole video on just this topic which you can watch here!
Keep On Top of The Fridge
If you pay more attention to what’s going on in your fridge it keeps you accountable. It helps you eat the food that you have in there, and know what you have so you can cook through it. This helps reduce waste, and of course, it also helps your fridge look and feel cleaner. I know when I let my fridge go it gets a little gross. So here’s what I suggest—give your fridge a good cleaning once every 30 days. What that means is taking everything out, giving the shelves and drawers a wipe down, replacing paper towels in crispers, checking the expiration dates on things as you put them back in, and getting rid of anything past due. Also, consider making a short-term menu to cook through things that have been hanging around. Rather than putting it in the back of the fridge for another month, find a way to use it up. The other thing to note is that the more frequently you do these little cleans, the less work it takes in the long run.
Coffee & Tea Stains
If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, you know the drama of looking into your cup, or your favorite travel mug, and seeing all the nasty tannin rings and stains. Whether it’s a stainless steel coffee mug, or just a regular ceramic mug, those rings are very easy to clean. All you need is some baking soda… you guys know me, I’m obsessed with baking soda! Just take a pinch of baking soda, get it a little bit wet with a couple of drops of water and apply it with your finger or a cleaning toothbrush. Rub the stains, rinse, wipe, and repeat until they’re gone.