Before your guests arrive for the holidays, make sure your kitchen is in tip-top shape with this guide.
The holidays are almost upon us, and if you’re playing host this year, you’ll want to make sure your kitchen is ready for the festivities. So, gather your cleaning supplies, rope in the family, and get your hands dirty – then sit back and relax, knowing your work is done (for now!).
Note: Always unplug your appliances before cleaning them and never immerse them in water.
How to clean your coffee maker and grinder
Your coffee maker may have an alert function that lets you know when it needs to be descaled. Otherwise err on the side of caution and give it a thorough cleaning at least every two months. You can run special decalcifier through a complete cycle or use a ratio of half cold water to half white vinegar. Rinse it out with clean water through two more cycles. You can clean the rest of your coffee maker with hot water and dishwashing liquid.
Ideally, you should wipe your coffee grinder after each use, either with an old toothbrush or with paper towel. Every once in a while, you can also grind a small handful of uncooked white rice to pick up any additional debris.
How to clean your food processor
For a quick but intense clean of the bowl, use your garden hose. Yes, really – it acts like a high-powered kitchen sprayer! Then, clean each attachment part by part. The attachments that don’t have blades can go straight into the dishwasher. You’ll want to wash the blade attachments by hand with hot, soapy water, as they could become blunt if they rub up against other items in the dishwasher. You can also wash the bowl with hot, soapy water, as the plastic could become brittle and break if washed in the dishwasher.
How to clean your microwave
For routine cleaning, heat two cups of water for three to five minutes on High. Then wipe down the steam with a damp cloth. If your microwave has a smell to it, add bicarbonate of soda or lemon juice to the water, and let it stand for five to 10 minutes.
You can also apply a paste made from bicarbonate of soda mixed with water to stains. Leave it until the stain has completely disappeared, wipe off, and then rinse with a clean, water sponge.
How to clean your stove and oven
Wash the oven racks in warm, soapy water in the sink (or even the bath if your sink is too small). For tough marks, scrub with a gentle, non-metal scourer. The same method applies to removable parts of your stove, such as the stove knobs.
For baked-on remnants inside your oven, fill a glass bowl with half a cup of full-strength ammonia and leave that overnight in a cold oven. Remove the bowl the following day and use a cloth or sponge to wipe down the loosened deposits.
If there are still stubborn food deposits, some elbow grease is in order. Use a non-abrasive scourer dipped in a mixture of warm water and dishwashing liquid. If you still have no luck, you’ll need to rely on a store-bought oven cleaner.
For your stove top, use a mixture of half warm water to half vinegar. Remove the top, if possible, and clean beneath it with this mixture. Or clean the coils, plates or burner caps with this mixture. Tough food deposits on burner caps can also be removed using ammonia – place the burner caps into a plastic bag with a small bowl of ammonia and allow it to work its magic overnight. The next day, clean the burner caps with soapy water, then rinse with fresh water and air dry.
How to clean your fridge and freezer
Start by removing the drawers and cleaning them with warm water and dishwashing detergent in the sink (or bath). Leave them to soak for 10 minutes, before pouring the water out, rinsing with fresh water, and wiping dry with a towel.
You can clean your freezer with a sponge soaked in warm water. If there are frozen spills, scrape them off with a stiff plastic spatula (your fridge may have come with one).
Lastly, spray the inside of your fridge with disinfecting all-purpose cleaner to destroy germs, and vacuum the coils of your fridge and freezer.
How to clean your toaster
Use a clean, dry toothbrush or paintbrush to dislodge any crumbs that are stuck inside your toaster. Turn it upside down and gently shake it to remove the crumbs. You can wipe the outside with a cloth dabbed in water mixed with a dash of vinegar or dishwashing liquid.
Bredenberg, J. (2004) How to clean just about anything. Cape Town: Heritage Publishing (Pty) Ltd.