Sometimes, it can be hard to know how often we’re supposed to clean something. While we most often use our sense of smell and sight to decide if something needs cleaning, there are other triggers and indicators out there that you should clean something. So, let’s take a look at the kitchen and identify some things that you should be cleaning, and ask ourselves: How often should I clean it?!
Sponges should be cleaned at least once a day, or after any vigorous use. Simply give your sponge a good rinse with soap and water to remove bacteria, or, throw it on the top rack of your dishwasher when running a load to further disinfect them. The bottom line is that there’s no hard and fast rule on when to replace your sponge, but a dirty sponge isn’t doing anyone any favors, so you shouldn’t be afraid to replace it frequently—essentially whenever they look scummy.
Cleaning a floor with a dirty mop is a waste of time, period. All you’re doing is spreading the dirt and bacteria around and never really getting the surface clean. In terms of frequency, just like the sponge mentioned earlier, the easiest way to make sure your mop head is clean before every use is to clean it after every use.
When you finish your mopping throw the dirty mop head in the wash alongside any other cleaning cloths you’ve used. This works for every detachable mop head whether it’s a flat head or string style. If you don’t have a washing machine at home or your mop head is not detachable, simply fill a basin with hot water and dish soap. While wearing rubber gloves manually scrub your mop head clean, rinse it, and hang to dry.
Garbage, Recycling & Compost Bins
Over time plastic starts to absorb odors, and even if you’re super diligent about spills and messes, eventually these bins are going to start to smell. These receptacles need to be cleaned once every three months unless there’s been a bag breach, in which case you need to do it ASAP! After you’ve taken out your garbage, preferably on garbage day, take your bins outside. Rinse out the interior of the bin then sprinkle borax (or baking soda) inside of the containers and let that sit for 20 minutes. Then give it a good scrub with an appropriate brush. Finally, rinse it out and let it air dry (ideally in the sun which further reduces odors). Check out our video on how to clean your garbage cans.
The fridge is another important kitchen appliance to keep an eye on. While the fridge’s main function of keeping food cold prevents odors, it doesn’t prevent spills, leaks and other messes which can lead to your fridge becoming dirty and food contaminated.
To maintain your fridge give it a cursory clean once a month. That means removing anything expired, off, or unused things—like sauces, dips, or anything you likely won’t use in the near future (decluttering FTW!). Make sure to get in the crisper drawers to remove old produce and cast-off leaves stems etc. Finish it off by giving any exposed areas a wipe down with an all-purpose cleaner.
Once every three months it’s time for a serious clean:
- Pull out everything (I mean everything!) from the fridge, including shelves and drawers.
- Give the interior a thorough spray (give it some dwell time), then wipe and dry.
- Handwash all the shelves and drawers in the sink with soap and warm water. Dry well and replace.
- Put everything back in the fridge, giving each item a quick wipe as it goes back in.
- Finally… replace your baking soda!
Oven mitts are often overlooked when cleaning the kitchen, despite the fact that they go near, and often come in contact with, food. Throwing your oven mitts in the wash can get rid of food debris, stains and any ashy residue from ovens. I recommend doing this once every three months or on demand when they just look nasty! If your mitts are looking especially worn out or thin (and may not be protecting your hands from the heat as much as they used to) it may be time to get a new pair.
Dish towels, microfiber cleaning cloths, and hand towels serve a great purpose in the kitchen. They keep your hands dry between cooking, they’re used for drying fruits, veggies, and dishes, and they can help clean up once you’ve finished cooking. In short, they are vital and need to be kept clean and sanitary. Clean your tea towels or replace them with fresh ones every 24 to 48 hours depending on how frequently you use them. This is easiest if you have a plethora of towels waiting in the wings. Keep one pile of fresh towels and a bin of used ones—just be sure they’re dry before tossing them into the “used” pile or they’ll get even riper. When the used bin is full, or the fresh pile is empty, run a load of laundry to keep the cycle going.
While the oven is often thought of as the most difficult part of the kitchen to clean, if you stay on top of it and spot clean it often, it won’t be nearly as much of a challenge. In terms of a deep clean, you want to get in there two to four times a year, depending on how frequently you cook and how responsible you are when cooking. If you’re a messy cook and food debris falls all over the oven floor, you may want to clean it more frequently.
Let’s not forget the actual oven racks, these can also get pretty gunky if left untreated for an extended period of time. Check out this article on how to clean oven racks for some easy tips and tricks.
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What is the best way to clean my oven? And with what product?
Always check your owner’s manual for best cleaning practices, as each oven is different. If you have a self-cleaning option that is the best way to get your oven clean with minimal effort. If not, use a good degreaser and some elbow grease to remove any build-up.