We’re all very busy these days, and understandably, it can be tough to keep our homes clean. But when it comes to the kitchen, cleanliness should be a top priority. Fact of the matter is, a spick-and-span kitchen will keep you and your family healthy. By maintaining a tidy and clutter-free kitchen, not only can you prevent foodborne illnesses, but you can also make cooking for the family a less stressful and more enjoyable experience. After all, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Here are ways to keep it clean and tidy:
An organized kitchen allows you to grab what you need easily. Every kitchen tool – utensils, ladles, scoops, cups and jars – should each have their own designated area. Taking the time to label jars and containers will free you from making the horrible mistake of, let’s say, putting baking soda instead of baking powder into your delicious chocolate cake. Here’s the simplest, most basic way to organize your kitchen:
- Countertops: small appliances, foodstuff preparation section
- Under the counter/base cabinets: stainless steel skillets, deep-fry or stir-fry pans, saucepans, boiling pots, iron or non-stick wok, casserole
- Wall cabinets: glassware, saucers, plates, plastic wares
- Pantry: non-perishable food, flavorings and seasonings
- Under the sink: cleaning agents
If you have any bulky items that you haven’t used in a while, you may want to consider storing them elsewhere in the home, or getting rid of them completely. A clutter-free kitchen will allow you to work more quickly, comfortably and efficiently.
2. Maintaining a Germ-free Kitchen
Germs and bacteria can’t be readily seen by the naked eye, but they can be found creeping in every part of your kitchen. It’s best to make a habit of cleaning your kitchen thoroughly every time you use it. Avoid wiping down your countertops and sink with the same sponge that you use to wash your dishes. Sponges tend to absorb germs fast so try to keep it in a covered, clean container whenever possible. Change your sponge every few weeks, especially if you don’t have time to sterilize it thoroughly.
An antibacterial soap for your hand should be within easy reach when preparing meals. Take 20 seconds to thoroughly rub your fingers and palms. Observing proper hygiene habits will help prevent the transfer of germs to your food.
Keep a proper schedule for washing your pots, pans and dishes after meals. If they can’t be washed right away, try to rinse them thoroughly after using them. Stains from thick sauces and pulps can be sticky, creating a mess that will be much harder to clean later on, causing you to spend much more time cleaning than you need to. Large appliances can be cleaned on weekends, but for small appliances that do heavy duty work such as your juicer, try to clean them daily.
4. Mopping the Floor
While it’s quite easy to neglect, a clean floor is a sign of a well-kept home. Grime and dirt, particularly on lighter-colored tiles, can actually make your kitchen feel smaller and somewhat uncomfortable. Mopping the kitchen weekly with a disinfectant cleaner will eradicate any accumulated dirt and grime.
5. Dusting Fixtures
When cleaning our kitchens, we tend to focus mainly on countertops, sinks and appliances. But remember that light fixtures, switch plates, doorknobs, cabinet handles, appliance buttons and vent covers must be cleaned as well. These can be done on your free time every other weekend. Clean with damp towel and wipe it with a dry cloth afterwards. Accumulated dust may sometimes be thick, so cover your nose and mouth with a mask and ventilate your kitchen to keep from inhaling this common allergen.
6. Maximizing the Use of Baking Soda
Sodium bicarbonate, most commonly known as baking soda, is an economical cleaning agent that can easily get rid of grime and bacteria. You can also try soaking your fruits and vegetables with baking soda before eating them. This will help reduce pesticides, as well as remove any extra dirt that may be hiding in the cracks and crevices of your produce. Their natural color will also appear brighter. You can also use it for deodorizing your refrigerator as baking soda is a reactive compound that has the ability to neutralize acidic odors.
7. Encouraging the Whole Family
Every member of the family should be responsible for the kitchen. Even though there might be one main cook, everyone who uses the kitchen should pitch in to help. If the kids are a little older, they can help maintain cleanliness by doing the dishes after the meal. But if you have younger children, make their kitchen time interesting and fun by letting them rinse small fruits like tomatoes. Creating a cleaning schedule that distributes the responsibility equitably among all of the family members can help keep the kitchen consistently clean while reducing the stress of the main cook.
These simple steps for a clean and clutter-free kitchen are great ways to keep your family healthier and happier. Observing a clean and peaceful environment can make creating family meals less stressful and more enjoyable for all.