11 Tips for Cleaning a Green Kitchen.
The sensationalist media would have us believe that our kitchens are going to be the cause of our deaths. There are all kinds of nasty things hiding in plain sight, just waiting to pounce, right? Salmonella, E. coli, and your everyday bacteria are just some of the examples. Wrong.
You do not have to give in to this type of worry by developing a routine of constantly washing and sanitizing everything you come into contact with. Your kitchen may be as clean and glossy as it needs to be with only a little bit of reasonable daily care and attention, along with a few very simple components for cleaning. Additionally, the planet will express its gratitude to you since you will be reducing your usage of strong disinfectants and cleansers. Always keep in mind that little is more.
The most effective approach to fill your green cleaning kit is to get a box of baking soda in a size appropriate for economy, a bottle of vinegar in a gallon size, and as much standard table salt in bulk as you are able to locate. Baking soda is an effective and environmentally friendly cleaning agent that can be used all throughout the house, but particularly in the kitchen.
In addition to that, there is no smell to it at all. Even while baking soda has a little abrasive quality, it will not scratch or otherwise damage your surfaces, regardless of whether they are made of linoleum or pricey imported Italian marble.
For several of the chores that are outlined further down, you should also consider keeping lemons and lemon juice on hand. Lemon has a considerably more pleasant aroma than vinegar does, despite the fact that the two are often used for the same thing.
It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get things going, so get ready! The first thing on the agenda is the sink.
- Sink Drains
First, a tutorial on what you should not utilize. A professional drain cleaner that is meant to unclog sinks is likely one of the most acidic household goods that you own and keep in your home. If your sink has ever been blocked, there is a good chance that you have made use of one of these very corrosive cleansers. The standard acidic drain cleaner works by effectively burning the crud that has accumulated in your pipes, which then removes it. Although the activity of enzymes in certain drain cleaners may seem preferable to that of acid, the truth is that enzymes may slowly corrode your pipes over time. You would probably be better off looking for goods that inject air or carbon dioxide into the drain since doing so is less hazardous. Treatments with high-pressure water are another method that may be used. In many cases, though, clearing a clogged drain just requires pouring a lot of hot water down it. To get started, you should give that approach a go before moving on to the more complex ways.
After you have removed a stubborn clog, you should make it a point to do routine preventive maintenance in your kitchen sink. Make sure that nothing solid ends up going down the drain in the first place, this is particularly important if you do not have a trash disposal. Place a tiny compost bin or pail next to the faucet as a visual reminder to scrape the food off of the plates before placing them in the sink or dishwasher. Once a week, pour a quarter cup of baking soda and a half cup of vinegar down each of your kitchen drains. Do this once a week. Allow this combination to stay in the drain undisturbed for at least twenty minutes before proceeding with the rest of the process. While this is resting, bring some water to a boil in a separate pot. Last but not least, pour the hot water down the drains to clear them.
If a large number of dishes that were covered in grease have been rinsed in the recent past, you may need to give the procedure a little more vigor. If that is the case, combine one half cup of baking soda with one half cup of salt, pour the mixture down the drain, and then flush with hot water from the faucet.
The Problem with Disinfectants
Doing things like washing your hands with antibacterial soaps and cleaning the home with disinfectant wipes seems like they should go without saying, don’t they? Herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides are the active ingredients that give soap and other products their antibacterial properties and enable them to “disinfect.” These active ingredients work by destroying the germs and bacteria that are responsible for unpleasant odors. Because they are effective at eliminating microorganisms, 275 of the antibacterial components included in cleansers have been designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as pesticides. Some, like triclosan, are known to stimulate the creation of chloroform, which is thought to be cancer-causing.
In point of fact, some of the “active ingredients” in antibacterial products have been linked to a wide range of serious health issues. These issues include damage to the liver, kidneys, and digestive tract; behavioral issues in children; damage to the nervous system; and defects in brain development and reproduction. In addition, using too much of these products might hinder the body’s capacity to defend itself against everyday illnesses and viruses.
Rather of using antibacterial soaps and wipes, consider using natural germ-fighters such as vinegar, baking soda, and lavender oil. These may be used either directly, as a solution, or suspended in an inert oil such as mineral or apricot oil.
- Ovens Using an aerosol oven cleaner is another kind of home cleaning product that should be avoided. It is so potent that the directions for the product may as well be shouting, “Open all windows and doors, spray the stuff into your oven, take the children, and flee for your life!”
Let’s take it as a sign that maybe you should try something else instead of what you were going to utilize.
Ovens that can clean themselves are a marvel of contemporary technology; if you can get your hands on one, consider yourself fortunate. Try not to grab for the can of spray-on oven cleaning if you don’t have an oven that is equipped with that function (or if yours has recently stopped working), since it will not be effective.
To manually clean an oven, sprinkle a coating of baking soda measuring approximately a quarter of an inch thick over the whole bottom of the oven. To moisten the baking soda with water, you should make use of a clean spray bottle. Spray the baking soda repeatedly with water over the course of the next several hours to keep it wet. The next step is to let the baking soda mixture rest for a whole day. Cleaning the oven in the morning involves using a moist sponge to scrape and scoop the dried baking soda and dirt out of the oven. Clean the residue off with water.
Cleaning the inside of your oven is easiest when you practice preventive maintenance, much as you should do with your sink in the kitchen. If you keep up with the oil and dirt a small bit at a time, you won’t have to undertake a major cleaning event as often as you would otherwise have to. After you have completed the primary cleaning tasks, you can conclude the job by using a sponge to wipe down the whole surface with a solution that is comprised of equal parts vinegar and water. This will assist in preventing the accumulation of grease. You should make it a habit to give the whole inside a clean down once a week using a sponge that has been soaked in pure vinegar.
When you are cooking anything in the oven that has the potential to overflow, such as an overloaded lasagna or a blueberry pie, it is a good idea to line the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil as a precautionary measure. As soon as it is safe to do so (make sure the oven isn’t hot! ), cover the mess with salt and let it sit for a while. This should be done in the event that anything spills inside the oven and onto the exposed bottom of the oven. It should get firm and crisp to the point where you can peel it off the surface of the cool oven with a plastic spatula or any other tool that won’t touch the inside of the oven.
If your oven has vents above it, you should inspect them for grease accumulation about once every six months. To clean the vents, use a sponge that has been soaked in pure vinegar to wipe them down. You may remove any filth that has accumulated in tiny cracks or other spots that are difficult to access by using an old toothbrush that has been soaked in vinegar. If the filter is made of metal and can be removed, soak it in a solution that contains vinegar.
Now that you’ve completed some of the most challenging tasks in your house, it’s time to examine some more commonplace kitchen cleanups from a more eco-friendly perspective.
Have you overdone it with the baking time for the cookies?
It is possible to erase burned-on stains from a cookie sheet by covering it with baking soda and boiling water and letting it to soak. Following the soaking, scrub the area with baking soda that has been directly applied to a scrubber, sponge, or cloth. After years of usage, the appearance of other types of aluminum pans may get rather dirty as well. To remove stains, bring the dirty pans to a boil on the burner while they are nestled within other pans that are big enough to contain them. After adding two teaspoons of vinegar to water that is sufficient to cover the vegetables, just let them to boil.
If salt is sprinkled over any spills that occur on the cooktop, they will be much simpler to clean up. In addition to performing the role of an absorbent, salt also has a little abrasive characteristic that is harmless to the surface. If you have anything that has spilled into the burner pans of your electric stove, you may clean it up by sprinkling it with salt and cinnamon and then wiping it away. When you use the burner again, the cinnamon will cover up the scent of anything that has been burnt on.
A solution containing baking soda is an effective way to clean any cooktop, even ceramic and glass surfaces. Make your way into any hard-to-reach areas with the use of a toothbrush soaked in baking soda. Then, give everything a very thorough washing in order to prevent a white residue from being left behind.
- Microwave ovens
Now, some of us have an innate talent for blowing things up in the microwave, and it typically has something to do with a red sauce that leaves stains. Mix one-fourth cup of vinegar with one cup of water in a glass measuring cup. This will make it simple to remove any oily buildup or splatter that may have occurred. Bring the mixture to a boil in the microwave for a total of three minutes. However, hold off on opening the door for the time being and let it to stay in the microwave for around ten more minutes. As soon as possible, everything must to be properly loosened up.
Utilizing a moist sponge or gentle cloth, thoroughly clean the whole of the inside of the microwave. Wipe the inside of the microwave from the top down, collecting any debris that falls to the floor and placing it in your compost bin when you are through.
Alternately, you might utilize lemons for this purpose. After cleaning the oven, heat a bowl of water with lemon slices in the microwave for 30 to 60 seconds, then remove the bowl from the microwave. It will be simpler to clean stains, and any lingering smells of old food will be eliminated.
When heating food in a microwave, be sure you choose containers that can withstand the heat. When heated in a microwave, many types of plastic and even paper towels decompose, producing toxic chemicals that may seep into food.
Simmer and Froth Together
A pot of vinegar brought to a boil in the microwave is an effective technique to get rid of (and freshen up) the lingering stench of burnt popcorn.
- Dishes and Beverage Containers
Because baking soda is able to absorb oil, any object that has an oily residue, such as a salad dressing cruet, may be quickly cleaned by shaking some baking soda within the container, followed by washing the container with warm water.
Kitchen utensils made of plastic, silicone, and rubber are susceptible to staining. To get rid of these stains, mix together some baking soda and water to form a paste. Then, using a scouring pad, sponge, or cloth, apply the paste to the affected areas. Use the same procedure if you have plastic food containers that are soiled from keeping leftovers even if they are not dirty. Either water or lemon juice may be used to form a paste out of baking soda, and either option will result in an odor that is clean and refreshing.
If you have a thermos or lunchbox that is starting to smell a bit weird, throw a quarter of a cup of salt inside it, shut it up for the night, and leave it in a dry place. In the morning, give it a good rinsing and wipe it off, and it should have that new scent again.
Allow It to Soak in
If you let the pot, pan, rack, or whatever else caused the mess soak in some hot water, you should be able to clean up the majority of the problems in the kitchen more simply. If you are going to clean an object, you should first apply the cleaning agent to it and then let it rest for a while. This prevents the use of an excessive amount of cleaning chemical at any one moment, and it also helps you to use less physical effort.
- Wood and Other Things Made of Wood
Use some soap and a little amount of water to clean a wooden cutting board. After this, wipe the surface off with a moist towel that has been soaked in salt. The salt will provide a new appearance and a revitalizing aroma to the wood. Because wood has a natural tendency to absorb oil and aromas, you should sometimes clean your wooden cutting board, breadbox, or salad bowls with a sponge that has been soaked in vinegar. This will eliminate any accumulation of filth and odor that may have occurred. Another option available for accomplishing this goal is to utilize a solution of baking soda. Lemon juice is yet another excellent cleanser for cutting boards. Simply work some into the cutting board, and then let it alone for the night. First thing in the morning, give it a good rinsing.
Do not get rid of your wooden utensils or cutting boards even if they show signs of wear and tear such as cracking, fading, or becoming brittle. Instead, massage a substantial quantity of olive oil into the wood by following the grain of the wood and applying the oil in a circular motion. It may take two or three treatments until they are restored to a healthy condition, but the number of applications will depend on how dry and cracked they are. If any oil seems to “pool” or if the utensils or cutting boards are still quite greasy to the touch even after allowing them to rest for some time, remove any excess using a towel that is absorbent and lint-free by gently dabbing it up.
Shake It Up
After you have finished using a shaker can of Parmesan cheese or another product of a similar kind, you should wash the can and then let it to dry. After that, you should fill it with baking soda from your supplies. Keep the can top flipped open and store it in your refrigerator so that the baking soda can deodorize your refrigerator and be easily accessible when you need some for a cleaning project. This will allow the baking soda to serve a dual purpose and save you money. A word to the wise: the next time you go to the grocery store, rather than buying a can of processed cheese, choose to buy a fresh block of Parmesan cheese instead. You just have to grate off of the block what you need at that particular moment. You’ll be able to avoid some of the less nutritious preservatives present in commercially processed foods and cut down on the amount of waste you produce as a result of doing this.
- Cooking Utensils, Including Dishes, Pots, and Pans
Even while some of today’s high-end enamel cookware shouldn’t be cleaned with abrasives, it is perfectly OK to apply a baking soda paste to difficult places, and then scrub until the area is clear. You may clean a casserole dish that has food that is difficult to remove and has been cooked on by adding boiling water and around three teaspoons of salt. After the water has cooled to the normal temperature, you may proceed with the cleaning as usual.
There are several pans, including roasting pans and broiler pans, that are notoriously difficult to clean. Most of the time, they are too large to be cleaned in the dishwasher, and even if they are, the appliance does not perform an adequate job of sanitizing them. Filling the pan up with extremely hot water and letting it rest like that for a while can help you save time and prevent the need for numerous cleanings. Should it become necessary to take more extreme action, you should fill the pan with water and bring it to a boil over the burner for a few minutes. After that, wipe it off or scrub it with salt that has been put on a sponge. Salt may be sprinkled directly over problem areas and then scrubbed to remove even the most stubborn stains.
The easiest method to clean an extremely dirty broiler pan is to place the pan on the burner while it is still hot and fill the bottom drip pan with very hot water. This is one of the finest ways to clean a truly nasty broiler pan. Then on top of it, set the pan with the slots on the upper level, and cover it with paper towels. The hot water below generates steam, which assists in removing the filth from the surface. The filth is removed or maintained by the paper towels’ contribution of either moisture or absorption of it. After around half an hour, the residue will be simple to remove with a damp cloth, or at the very least, a scouring pad will have an easier time removing it. In the end, cover the whole surface with baking soda and give it a thorough inspection before moving on.
Regarding grease, if you want to clean a greasy frying pan, you may do it by bringing it to a simmer on the stovetop for approximately ten minutes with a quarter inch of water and half a cup of vinegar. After that, wash as you normally would.
Clay pots that are used for cooking may get discolored or develop smells over time. To remedy this issue, fill the pot with water and then add between one and four teaspoons of baking soda to the mixture. After setting the mixture aside for at least half an hour, you should properly rinse and dry it. Mold may sometimes start to develop on a clay pot that’s being used as a cooker. After baking soda and water have been mixed into a paste, it is brushed onto the mold, and then it is left to stand. If you have the opportunity, you should give it an additional boost by placing the cooker in the sun. After thirty minutes, wipe off the mixture and wash the container well.
Polishes that contain harmful chemicals should not be used to restore the shine to copper-bottomed pots and kettles. Polishes are at the top of the list of goods that should be avoided; instead of using them, you should get rid of the toxins and use salt and lemon juice. A paste that consists of salt and lemon juice may be used to restore the shine of copper-bottomed pots and kettles. To apply the paste, rub it in with a towel, and then wipe it off and completely rinse it off.
A similar paste technique may also be used to clean copper-bottomed pans, but in place of the lemon juice, you should use vinegar instead. You may also try filling a spray bottle with undiluted vinegar and directing the spray towards the bottoms of the pans, if that sounds more to your liking. If you give it some time to rest, you should see that the tarnish starts to disappear after a while. After that, scrub it with some salt and then rinse it off. Table salt is not as effective as coarser forms of salt, such as sea salt or kosher salt, for removing particularly stubborn stains. Another approach is to simply split a lemon in half, coat the cut surface of the fruit with salt by dipping it in salt or sprinkling it on top of the lemon, then massage the surface of the copper in a circular motion. After that, be sure to completely rinse and dry it.
Elegant China and Cut Crystal
If you have delicate crystal that has to be cleaned, put one cup of vinegar into a sink full of warm water, then wash, rinse, and dry the crystal very gently. It is expected that this will remove any stains or streaks.
A paste made of vinegar and salt may be used to remove stains off china; just apply the paste, let it to soak for a time, and then rinse it off. You may alternatively use a paste made of baking soda and water, or you could produce a paste by combining water and powdered dishwashing soap.
- Cleaning of the Surfaces
Once a day, use undiluted vinegar to wipe down the countertops in your kitchen. This will make the countertops sparkle and will keep the kitchen smelling clean. In order to do the same thing with a lemon, you may split it in half, sprinkle it with baking soda, and then scrub the countertop with it. The use of lemons in this manner would require quite an investment if it were to be done on a daily basis, but the tip described here is applicable to any surface in the kitchen that requires cleaning, whether it be the stove, the dish, or the counter.
Taking on the challenge of cleaning the sink made of stainless steel may be an enjoyable activity. Before beginning the task, it is recommended to remove everything from the sink and put it somewhere else, since by the end of the week it may appear a bit dirty. Then all you need to do is sprinkle some baking soda over a sponge, and then get to work. Use a toothbrush that has been dipped in baking soda to clean the areas around the faucets and knobs. As long as you remember to rinse everything well, everything will come out gleaming. If you don’t get all of the baking soda out right away, a harmless white residue will be left behind from the baking soda. This treatment is beneficial for applying to any stainless steel surface that is found in the kitchen. Lemon juice may also be used to remove hard water deposits and soap scum from the area surrounding your sink.
Using a mix of baking soda and vinegar on a sponge is an effective way to remove tiny stains from a white porcelain sink. Because porcelain is so susceptible to absorbing stains, it is important to address any problem areas as soon as they arise.
If you have tile and grout in your kitchen, you should treat them on a regular basis with undiluted vinegar applied with a sponge in order to reduce the accumulation of grease that is inevitably going to occur. Vinegar may be used to scrub stains, then the area should be allowed to dry. After that, remove the vinegar with a dry cloth by rubbing it. If you want to get rid of the stains even more effectively, try cleaning them using a toothbrush that has been dipped in a paste made of baking soda and water. Afterward, rinse off.
It is possible for laminate countertops to get discolored from time to time with a substance that seems to be impossible to remove, such as blueberry juice, tomato sauce, or red wine. Apply a paste made of baking soda with care to the affected area, and then let it rest there until it dries completely. After that, remove the paste from the stained area using a dry towel, and the stain should be gone. Applying lemon juice in its purest form is another common method for removing these kinds of stains. Scrub, and then wash off the dirt and soap.
Find New Ways to Use Outdated Equipment
When you are through cleaning the kitchen, it is a good time to think about how you might extend the life of your utensils. By soaking used sponges, nylon scrubbers, and scrub brushes in a solution consisting of four teaspoons of baking soda combined with one cup of water for a whole night, you may revitalize and extend the life of these cleaning tools. Baking soda has the ability to neutralize smells as well as soften hard brushes and sponges. It will also soften brushes and sponges. The same method may be used to clean mops and cleaning rags; immersing them in a baking soda solution eliminates odors and residues left behind by the cleaning process.
The most effective method for cleaning tile floors is to combine one bucket of hot water with half a cup of baking soda. Simply wipe the floor with the mixture, then thoroughly rinse it off. To give the water a tangy flavor and a clean aroma, add some lemon juice. Baking soda applied to a sponge that has been dampened may be used to eliminate the black heel marks that appear when you are least expecting them.
If the flooring in your kitchen is ceramic, mop it with a solution consisting of one gallon of warm water and one cup of vinegar. There is no need for rinsing. The same cleaning solution may be used on linoleum as well as on vinyl flooring. The whole floor may be mopped with club soda if you feel like it needs a little bit of additional gloss.
- The Effects of Coffee and Tea Stains
A sponge that has been dampened and soaked in baking soda may be used to effectively remove coffee and tea stains from light-colored cups and mugs. If the stains are resistant to being removed, try scrubbing them with a little amount of salt.
If you have rust and mineral deposits on an antique stovetop-style coffee percolator or a teapot, you may remove them by filling the pot with water, adding two teaspoons of baking soda, and the juice from half a lemon. Do this until the rust and mineral deposits are gone. Boil on low heat for fifteen minutes, then drain and thoroughly rinse. Try this variant if you want to remove mineral deposits and coffee stains from the pot of your coffeemaker, which is made of glass or stainless steel: When the pot is cold, put one cup of crushed ice, one tablespoon of water, and four teaspoons of salt inside of it, stir it around, and then wash it as you normally would. Again, coarse salt should be used in place of conventional table salt for stains that are very difficult to remove.
Cleaning blenders and food processors may be accomplished with the help of a number of these techniques as well. Baking soda will assist in getting rid of any lingering odors that may be caused by foods such as peppers or garlic, and salt and ice will assist in cleaning the blades as they “chew” them up in the process. Perform a thorough washing of the blades, then let them to air dry or, if that is not feasible, put them through the dishwasher (and if possible).
Which Is Better: a Paper Towel, a Dishrag, or a Sponge?
Paper towels, dish rags, and sponges continue to be the subjects of heated discussion on which of these three cleaning tools is superior. It is up to you to select which one to use depending on your preferences, but you should also think about the effects on the environment.
Although paper towels decompose over time in a landfill, they nevertheless use a significant amount of paper and are perhaps the most wasteful of all paper products. Petroleum materials can be used to make sponges, but if you look hard enough, you may be able to locate some natural sponges that are biodegradable. Of course, dishrags are made of fabric and may be reused several times. There is some concern that rags and sponges contain germs and bacteria, but these things can readily be cleaned in the washing machine so there is no need for concern. You can also give sponges a thorough cleaning by attaching them to the racks of your dishwasher using clips. Thank goodness, a great deal of the more recent models of dishwashers not only have a “sanitize” capability, but they also comply with the government ratings for how efficiently they use energy.
On our list of the Worst Ten Home Cleaning Goods, you’ll also find drain cleaners, over cleaners, toilet cleaners, spot removers, furniture polishes, cleansers and powdered cleaners, window cleaners, bleach, and liquid cleaners. Silverware polish is one of the products on our list. The following is a polish that is better for the environment and will remove the tarnish off Grandma’s silverware: Rub the pieces carefully with a tiny bit of salt that has been poured onto a soft cloth. The silverware should next be washed by hand using dish detergent and hot water. Dry each component with caution. A paste made of two teaspoons of salt and half a cup of vinegar is an effective way to clean sterling silver. After working the paste in gently, rinse it off and pat it dry completely. In this method, you can also replace the salt with cream of tartar if you prefer.
- Waste Containers and Waste Management Devices
When you empty the trash can in the kitchen, sprinkle a little amount of baking soda in the bottom of the can to keep it smelling fresher between cleanings. Cleaning and deodorizing the can with a solution of baking soda and warm water should be done on a regular basis.
It is also a smart idea to give your waste disposal the royal treatment once every couple of weeks or so. After adding a quarter cup of salt, a quarter cup of baking soda, and a quarter cup of dishwashing detergent to the disposal, turn on the hot water while continuing to run the disposal. If you do this, the muck should be cleaned out, and any remaining scents should be eliminated. You may also use the disposal to dispose of the rind from citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, or grapefruits. Toss the rind in the disposal; not only will it give your kitchen a pleasant aroma, but it will also help clean the “teeth” of the disposal.
It’s possible that you already know that using a box of baking soda to deodorize your refrigerator is a good idea, but don’t forget that you can also sprinkle some baking soda onto a moist sponge and use it to clean the inner surfaces of your refrigerator. If you need a little bit of a scouring action on spills and drips, add some baking soda and salt in the same proportions. Try putting half of a lemon in an airtight container and placing it inside the refrigerator to see if that helps get rid of any odors.
Do the ice cubes that are being produced by the automated ice cube maker have a flavor that is a little bit off-putting? Baking soda and water may be used as a cleaning solution for the detachable pieces of the device.
- De-dirt Your Fruit
Are you concerned about the possibility that pesticides or other types of chemical residues may still be present on fresh fruits and vegetables? Cleaning your vegetables by scrubbing it with a small amount of baking soda helps remove any residues and grime that may be on it. Be careful to give everything a thorough washing and pat the produce dry before storing it for the longest possible shelf life; if you let fresh goods sit in their own moisture, their quality will suffer much more rapidly.
The gritty dirt that may occasionally be found hiding stubbornly in your lettuce, spinach, or leeks can be removed with the assistance of salt. Put the veggies in a basin, cover it with tepid water, add one tablespoon of salt, give it a little stir, and then set it aside for 20 to 30 minutes to soak. In a strainer, give it a thorough washing.