Better Living Expert: Why Wait Until Spring
Year-round kitchen cleaning tips make life easier and healthier
Advice about spring cleaning is as predictable as the annual return of dandelions, and sometimes just about as welcome. Invariably, the to-do list for the kitchen includes wiping grease off walls, blinds, and range hoods, washing fridge interiors, emptying cupboards and drawers of out-of-date product, dusting light bulbs, and sweeping and mopping both behind large appliances and under the sink.
Those are all excellent suggestions. What’s often missed, though, are the simple tips that keep a kitchen cleaner and more hygienic throughout the year, many of which can be effortlessly incorporated into daily routines.
Start with keeping at-the ready spray bottles, one filled with vinegar and the other with hydrogen peroxide. Used separately, they’re powerful, eco-friendly germ-killers. Used one after the other, they’re about as effective as bleach, and can be used on any kitchen surface.
Dampness can breed bacteria at any time of year, making the area in and around the sink and kitchen faucet a danger zone. Hands tainted with food bacteria can add to the germ-fest, which is why sinks and faucets in professional kitchens are sanitized at least once each shift.
Touch-activated faucets with spray functions (which home cooks tend to enthusiastically embrace as kitchen helpers) should be wiped down once or twice a day with a disinfectant solution, and dried with a clean cloth.
DRY SURFACE ADVANTAGE
After washing dishes or using the spray function, dry up any splatter right away rather than letting it sit. This will be less of a problem with just-launched faucets from Delta. The new ShieldSpray technology has spray settings for a conventional stream, while a circular “shield” of water contains splatter and is also excellent for dissolving dry or cakedon food, resulting in less scrubbing and soaking.
Grandma’s rule of sweeping the kitchen floor with a corn broom once a day still makes sense. Today there are other options, such as Libman’s precision angle broom, which is made from recycled plastic bottles and up to 70 per cent recycled steel in the handle. With a generously sized sweeping edge, and sharp angle, it fits easily under and behind cabinets, and into ceiling and floor corners.
It comes with its own detachable dustpan, but to reduce bending, you can also buy an upright model, which has “teeth” that broom bristles can be pulled through to catch dust balls. Speaking of which, it’s a good idea to wash a broom every few months by placing the head in warm, soapy water for about 30 minutes before rinsing. Finish the job by wiping down the handle with a germ-killing solution.
KEEP BACTERIA AT BAY
The dishwasher, which is in contact with organic food matter every single time it’s used, is another frequently neglected appliance. In fact, a recent study showed only 27 per cent of Canadians cleaned inside their dishwashers in the last year. Why do it? Because not only can bacteria flourish inside, but hard water and mineral deposits can turn glasses and dishes cloudy.
Cleaning the dishwasher couldn’t be simpler. Easy-touse affresh tablets, for example, clean the interior and eliminate hard-water and mineral deposits that can make glasses come out cloudy. Produced by Whirlpool, affresh is recommended cleaner for KitchenAid, Maytag, Jenn-Air and Amana, but it can be used with any brand, in either an empty or loaded machine.