Kitchen Quest, Part 2
July 07, 2010, By Tom McNulty
Last week’s kitchen column covered organizing and storing the many large and small appliances, pots, pans, plates, silverware, and gadgets that call your kitchen home. All this stuff creates tremendous potential clutter, messes and mechanical snafus.
So on the front burner this week: cleaning, maintaining, and light troubleshooting of the most important things in your kitchen from a "Clean Like a Man" point of view. That is, making it all faster and easier without sacrificing results.
Let’s start at the top.
- Use cutting boards as much as possible to protect countertops from cuts and stains.
- Clean up all spills fast with a sponge and all-purpose cleaner. Stains can become permanent depending on the counter’s surface material.
- Don’t put hot pots and pans directly onto countertops. Instead, buy a 12x12” tile at Home Depot (available from $1-$5 or so) and use it as a trivet.
- Run cold water before, during and after you grind up garbage to keep unit clean and clear.
- Use tongs, not your hand, to remove foreign objects.
- DO NOT put these items into your disposal: banana peels, corn husks, rhubarb, potato peels, fruit pits, bones or liquefied fats.
- Clean the top and underside of the drain’s rubber gasket with baking soda on the scrubby side of a damp ScotchBrite sponge.
- Never use regular hand dishwashing liquid – you’ll get suds all over the kitchen.
- Don’t wash spoons, bowls or cutting boards made of wood, upscale kitchen knives or plastic tumblers.
If dishes aren’t getting 100% clean:
- Check water heater settings to make sure it’s hot enough.
- Scrape/rinse food residue off dishes more thoroughly before washing. (I don’t do this at all and it’s almost always fine).
- Use a little more detergent.
- Make sure your detergent dispenser is opening during wash cycle. If not, hardened detergent or mineral deposits may be jamming it (remove with white vinegar), or dispenser’s electrical solenoid needs replacing.
FUN FACTOID: Your automatic dishwasher uses much less water and energy than washing dishes by hand.
Clean exterior with a little all-purpose spray cleaner and a sponge or cotton cloth.
- Clean interior with baking soda/water mixture.
- Review contents weekly to check on freshness dates.
- Every few months, remove everything. As you’re putting things back you’ll discover many items that are either post-peak or you don’t need (toss away); and when you put the remaining contents back in, everything will be much more organized.
- Clean the condenser coils (located in back or underneath most models) every few months with a sock on a stick or a car snow brush. If these get caked with dust, it’s very hard on your fridge’s cooling system.
- Minimize fats and grease you wash down the drain.
- To keep drains clean and deodorized: pour in a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of white vinegar. Wait 5 minutes, then pour in a kettle of boiling water. Repeat monthly.
- Clean porcelain sinks with all purpose spray cleaner, or a mild abrasive like baking soda.
- Clean stainless steel sinks with warm, sudsy water and a sponge. Don't use scratchy abrasives like Comet or steel wool!
- Use a plunger to clear clogs; try to avoid chemicals unless absolutely necessary…they’re hard on the pipes.
- Wipe down interior occasionally with light baking soda/water solution – don’t use sprays with alcohol in them.
- For dried spatters and spills, boil a cup of water inside, let it condense, then wipe up softened grime.
- Clean exterior with Mr. Clean Multi-Surface Cleaner and a cotton cloth. Easy!
Well, lads, this column is getting dreadfully long already and I’ve only scratched the surface on kitchen cleaning. To be sure, there’ll be more kitchen-centric columns in the future. But for now, the guidelines above should help you with the most common cleanups. And see last week’s column for some snappy kitchen organizing tips.
P.S. Women love men to cook for them, so go take a look at the columns by ManOfTheHouse.com’s culinary experts. Then your mate will love you for cleaning AND cooking.
Tom McNulty is the author of CLEAN LIKE A MAN - Housekeeping for Men (And the Women Who Love Them). He is a featured contributor to ManoftheHouse.com.