This article originally appeared on Brit+Co on September 16, 2017. You can read it in its original form here.
Keeping your kitchen clean requires both daily maintenance (think doing your dishes and wiping down your countertops) and more time-intensive weekly or monthly chores. After all, that oven isn’t going to clean itself (we wish!). In fact, a good and clean kitchen is great for keeping your home clutter and stress-free. Follow these tips to keep everything in your space super shiny and ready to be shown off at a moment’s notice.
Wiping your stove down is pretty easy — it just takes a little elbow grease. Regardless of whether you have a gas or electric stove, you can clean the face and top with an all-purpose cleaner, a sponge and a little bit of water. If there’s any caked-on food anywhere, make a paste out of baking soda and water (make it thick enough that it’s a bit grainy so that it’s abrasive enough to work). Put the paste on the spot, let it sit for about 20 minutes and then use a scrubby sponge to wipe it off.
Now for some specifics on gas vs. electric stove maintenance.
Electric Stove: If you have an electric stove, you’ll need to remove the burners before cleaning them. Be sure they’re COMPLETELY cool, and then gently pull them out from their electrical socket. Don’t submerge them. Instead, use a washcloth with warm water and dish soap to gently clean each rim. As with the face of your stove, you’ll want to leave a baking soda and water mixture on any tough spots for 20 minutes before scrubbing. Finally, be sure that your burners are 100 percent dry before you put them back in. (Photo via Apartment Therapy)
Gas Stove: To clean the burners of a gas stove, you’ll need to remove both the grates (the metal pieces your pots and pans sit on top of while they’re on the stove) and the burner covers (the disks that sit on top of your burners). Put all of these parts into your sink and fill it with warm, soapy water. You can also add a dash of white vinegar if there are tons of dirty spots. While those things are soaking, use a toothpick or unbent paper clip to dig into the holes on your burner, removing any food that may be clogging them. After all of this is done, dry your grates and burner covers, place them back on the stove, and then wipe everything down with a paper towel wetted with water and a drop of rubbing alcohol. (Photo via Creekline House)
Cleaning your oven can go one of two ways: You can either use a store-bought oven cleaner and clean your oven as directed on the package, or go a more natural route. The choice is yours, but you should know that oven cleaners are full of A LOT of chemicals. Do your research to see if you’re cool with using them in your home.
If you do decide to go a more natural route, here’s what to do.
To clean your oven naturally, mix 1/2 a cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of water, adding the water until you have a spreadable paste. Remove any oven racks or trays. Next, use a pastry brush or sponge to coat the ENTIRE oven with the paste you’ve made (just don’t coat the heating elements, like coils, themselves). Close your oven and leave it overnight. The next morning, use a washcloth or sponge to wipe off the baking soda mixture. A spatula may come in handy for scraping off sticky spots. After all of the mixture has been removed, spray the oven with white vinegar. You can just put some vinegar into a spray bottle for this step. The vinegar will foam a little bit in any spots where there is remaining baking soda residue. Wipe everything down, and you’re done! (Photo via The Kitchn)
Your Pots and Pans
Ah, cleaning your pots and pans… depending on how well you protect your materials during the cooking process, you may have some serious stains and caked-on food to contend with. Here’s how to deal.
Stainless Steel: If you have stainless steel pots and pans, you probably wish you could keep them looking like new FOREVER. While that may be a tad unrealistic, you can definitely do your best to keep them super shiny. First, it’s important to heat your skillets to medium temperature before adding ANYTHING to the pan. This will minimize food burning and keep your stainless steel products looking nice and shiny.
And now for cleaning. *Always* hand wash your stainless steel. You’ll use a little bit of warm water with a gentle, non-abrasive detergent for everyday cleaning. Then, once a week, give your pots and pans a good scrub with a cleaning agent like Barkeeper’s Friend, which is specifically made for stainless steel. Always use gentle brushes and sponges on your pots and pans, and never anything abrasive. Finally, hand dry right away with a dishtowel (or, if you’re really picky, a microfiber towel). (Photo via Floured Jane)
Cast-Iron: Cast-iron skillets are amazing because nothing sticks to them, they heat things evenly and — BONUS — they give you extra iron. The most important thing to know is that you shouldn’t usually use any soap on your cast-iron skillet. The natural oils and greases that stay on the pan are what keep it stick-free. Instead, wash with warm water and, if you have any sticky spots, some kosher salt. (Photo via Macheesmo)
Enamel: Enamel cookware is pretty and white, and most of us would like to keep it that way. However, these kinds of pots and pans are prone to stains. To get rid of them, simply add 1/4 of a cup of baking soda into your pan, and then top it with roughly 1/2 an inch of hydrogen peroxide. Put the pan on the stove and turn it on high, bringing the mixture to a boil. After it has become foamy, remove the pan from the heat and pour the mixture out. Rinse with water and then sweep a Magic Eraser over the entire pan. Voila! (Photo via Miss Information)
Finally, there are plenty of odds and ends in your kitchen that also warrant a good clean from time to time. Namely, your utensils and accessories.
Wooden Utensils and Cutting Boards: When you use wooden accessories on a daily basis, you probably hand wash them with dish soap and water. This is totally fine. (DO NOT put them into the dishwasher, though!) The only problem with this routine washing method is that, over time, it dries out the wood, which eats away at the quality of your products. About once every few months, treat your wooden products by placing them into a baking pan and filling the pan with water and lemon essential oil. The lemon essential oil is a natural antibacterial agent, so it will kill germs while replenishing your utensils’ moisture stores. Next, lay them in the sun to dry, again adding a few drops of lemon water over top. Finally, after they’re dry, buff them with a wood conditioner. (Photo via Real Housemoms)
Copper Accessories: We ADORE the look of copper accessories… but it’s no secret that they tarnish over time. Luckily, restoring their luster is super simple. Just cut a lemon in half, dip it in sea salt and scrub the item with it. The lemon and salt will work together to remove the tarnish. Wipe the product down with warm water and a washcloth, and your copper should be looking as good as new. (Photo via Mom 4 Real)
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