The kitchen is the hardest-working room in your house, and you probably tidy it up and wipe it down daily, if not hourly.
Follow this guide to deep-cleaning the toughest areas. With some earth-friendly formulas and elbow grease, your kitchen will shine.
To get the trickiest spots in your kitchen squeaky-clean, grab a few handy tools and some highly effective all-natural, homemade or store-bought solutions.
Doors: Fill a 24-ounce spray bottle with a mixture of hot water, 3 tablespoons of Castile soap and 20 drops of tea-tree oil, then spray it on a microfiber cloth and wipe the doors, says Toni Hammersley, author of The Complete Book of Home Cleaning (Weldon Owen, April). Rinse with a separate damp microfiber cloth, and finish with a dry cloth.
Interiors: Empty cabinets and vacuum inside, says Miguel Taveras, a supervisor for Managed by Q cleaning service, in New York City. Then wipe down with a mixture of cold water and vinegar.
What you need: CASTILE SOAP + MICROFIBER CLOTHS
Clean them: Every few months
Pro tip: Wipe greasy doors with a solution of one part vinegar to two parts water, says Hammersley. “Vinegar cuts through grease.”
SINK & DISPOSAL
Sink: For stainless steel, Taveras whips up a mildly abrasive paste from an 8-ounce box of baking soda and the juice of 10 limes. He uses a sponge to scrub the inside of the sink with it, following the steel’s grain. If you have an enamel sink, wipe it with a gentle scrub, such as Bon Ami ($8, amazon.com), and a microfiber cloth.
Disposal: Taveras pours vinegar over a loaf of bread until it is sopping and stuffs it in the canister. He lets it sit for 15 minutes, then turns on the disposal and flushes it with cold water. He follows with frozen citrus rinds.
What you need: BAKING SODA + LIMES
Clean them: Weekly
Pro tip: Polish chrome fixtures with a mixture of one part white vinegar to two parts water on a microfiber cloth or soft sponge.
Hardwood: Sweep or vacuum, then mop. Since wood can warp if exposed to too much water, Hammersley mixes 1 teaspoon of castile soap into a 24-ounce spray bottle of hot water, then adds 10 drops of lemon or rosemary essential oil. She lightly spritzes the floor and wipes it with a microfiber mop. Her favorite non-do-it-yourself cleanser is Method Almond Squirt + Mop wood floor cleaner ($5, target.com).
Tile: Mop with warm water and an all-purpose cleaner. Avoid acidic ingredients like ammonia, which can discolor grout. Rinse; repeat with plain warm water.
What you need: CASTILE SOAP + MICROFIBER MOP
Clean it: Weekly
Pro tip: Start in a corner and back your way out of the room, using arcing, overlapping mop strokes.
STOVE & HOOD
Stove top: Dampen a sponge with warm water and dishwashing liquid, wipe, then thoroughly dry with a cotton cloth. For stuck-on splotches, wet a few paper towels with hot water, place them on top for a few minutes, then scrape with a rubber spatula.
Hood: Spritz it with an all-purpose cleaner (like the Honest Co. multisurface cleaner; $6, honest.com) and wipe — and keep wiping — with a microfiber cloth. Next, remove the filters, place them in the bathtub and sprinkle them with 1⁄2 cup of baking soda. Soak them in scalding water for a few minutes before scrubbing lightly with a soft-bristled brush. Let dry completely before replacing.
What you need: RUBBER SPATULA + SOFT-BRISTLED BRUSH
Clean them: Range daily; hood monthly
Pro tip: To clean the fan, cut the power to the unit, then wipe the blades with a microfiber cloth dampened with warm soapy water.
Racks: Take them out and soak them in cola (yes, cola! — it contains phosphoric and citric acids, which remove rust, stains and mineral buildup) for up to 15 minutes, Taveras says. “Then gently rub them with a scouring pad to get all the grease stains and baked-on chunks off, and rinse with warm water. Your jaw will drop at how clean they get.”
Interior: Mix baking soda and water until you have a paste, and use a sponge to spread it all over the floors, walls and door. (Scoop away excess with a spatula.) Let it sit several hours — or, better yet, overnight — then wipe it away with a damp sponge or rag.
What you need: COLA + SCOURING PAD
Clean it: Every few months
Pro tip: For hard-to-reach back corners and stubborn baked-on spots, use a toothbrush to scrub with the baking-soda mixture.
Stainless steel doors: “Fingerprints are a never-ending battle,” Hammersley says. She wipes them away with a microfiber cloth (try Libman Wonderfiber; $5 for 2, amazon.com) spritzed with a mix of one part vinegar to two parts water. Then she removes streaks by rubbing on a bit of baby oil with another microfiber cloth, and flipping it over to polish.
Interior: Move food to coolers, turn off the appliance and take out shelves and bins. Fill a bathtub with 6 to 8 inches of water; add a small box of baking soda. Soak the shelves and bins for about 15 minutes; rinse and dry. Dissolve 2 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 quart of warm water. Apply to a microfiber cloth and wipe the interior.
What you need:VINEGAR + BABY OIL
Clean it: Doors as needed; inside thoroughly twice a year
Pro tip: Tackle small crevices in the door seals with a pointed-tip cotton swab dampened with warm soapy water. Dry with a towel.
MORE DEEP-CLEANING TIPS
▪ Once a year, remove cabinet pulls and soak them in warm soapy water while you wipe the doors. Then polish the pulls before putting them back on.
▪ Every couple of weeks, clear off open shelves and cleanse them with a warm, damp cloth. The same goes for pendant lights.
▪ Cupboards near the stove are prone to greasy buildup. Wash their undersides every few days.
▪ Make a tile backsplash sparkle by spraying it with a mixture of one part lemon juice to two parts water, then scrubbing tiles and grout from the top down.
Address questions to Ask Martha, care of Letters Department, Martha Stewart Living, 11 W. 42nd St., New York, NY 10036. Or go to www.marthastewart.com/contact-us-form. Please include your name, address and daytime phone number.
Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate