Kitchen Countertops and Cabinets: The kitchen is one of the busiest rooms in most homes and probably where you do the most cleaning, especially if you cook a lot. Since you handle food here, it’s even more important to keep this room extra clean and sanitized so that you and your family will stay safe and healthy. Let these quick and easy tips help you cut through even the toughest grease, dirt, and grime to make your kitchen sparkle—in no time.
COUNTERTOPS AND CABINETS
Keep food storage and prep areas clean and sanitary with these simple tips.
Clean hard-to-reach areas of dishware and glassware with white rice. To clean irregularly shaped bottles and other containers, put a handful of rice, water, and a small squirt of dish soap in the container. Cover the container, and shake vigorously. The rice is hard enough and small enough to remove dirt and debris from nooks and crannies inside the container. Dispose of the used rice in the trash can to prevent drain clogs, rinse well, and allow to air-dry.
Remove coffee stains from ceramic mugs with baking soda or salt and lemon. Sprinkle some baking soda to coat the inside of the mug, and add a little water to form a paste. Use a sponge or cloth to scrub away stains with ease. If baking soda doesn’t do the trick, try salt and lemon. Pour a tablespoon each of salt and lemon juice in the bottom of the mug, and add a few ice cubes. Swish around, and watch stains disappear.
Eliminate silverware scratches from dishes with baking soda. Make a thick paste with baking soda and a little water. Apply the paste to dishes with a cloth, then scrub. Rinse well, and dry.
Hand-wash knives to keep them sharp. It may be tempting to throw your kitchen knives in the dishwasher to let it do all the work, but doing so can dull your knives and promote rust. Hand-wash knives in natural dish soap and warm water to keep them in great shape for years to come. Also, avoid cleaning them with white vinegar or lemon, as acids can cause etching in the steel.
Deodorize reusable water bottles with baking soda. Put 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a stinky water bottle, then fill with hot water. Let it sit for 1–2 hours, and wash as usual.
Save money with a homemade, high-powered dish soap. Sal Suds alone does a great job when you’re hand-washing dishes, but when you’re cleaning especially greasy pots and pans, you may need something stronger. This all-natural DIY dish soap gets the job done for a fraction of the price of store-bought, is effective even in hard water, and can also be used when other homemade cleaners throughout this blog call for dish soap.
1/2 cup warm filtered water (minerals in tap water may interfere with thickening)
2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt (used to thicken the soap)
1/2 cup Sal Suds
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
20–30 drops essential oil (optional; lemon and/or lavender would be good choices)
Squeeze bottle or other storage container
- Mix the warm water and salt in a medium bowl, and stir until the salt dissolves.
- In a small bowl, mix the Sal Suds with the vinegar and lemon juice, and stir until combined.
- Add the soap mixture to the salt mixture, and stir gently to prevent too many bubbles from forming. Stir until the mixture reaches a gel-like consistency.
- Add your favorite essential oils, if desired. Lemon oil is a great option for additional grease-fighting power, and lavender provides a calming, pleasant smell and antibacterial and antifungal benefits. Do not add essential oils if you used sea salt, because the oils will cause the soap to turn runny again.
- Pour the dish soap into a squeeze bottle or other container and use within 2–3 months. To use, add a small amount to hot running water, and wash dishes, countertops, and cabinets as usual.
Remove sticky residue from kitchen surfaces with this easy homemade gunk remover. Mix a 1:1 ratio of coconut oil and baking soda. Make only enough for the job at hand. For instance, if it’s a small job, mix 1 tablespoon of each. For larger jobs, start with 1/2 cup of each. The coconut oil will break down the sticky residue, and baking soda will gently scrub it away.
Infuse vinegar with citrus, herbs, and spices for better-smelling DIY cleaning recipes. Some people struggle with natural cleaning because they can’t stand the smell of vinegar. Luckily, the smell dissipates once the vinegar dries, but you can also make it smell more pleasant by infusing it with scents!
Your favorite scent combinations, such as mint and lime (mojito, anyone?), orange and clove, or lemon and basil
21/2 cups white vinegar
1-quart Mason jar
- Fill the Mason jar half full with your chosen combination of citrus peels, herbs, and spices.
- Heat the vinegar to almost boiling. You can heat vinegar in a glass container in the microwave or on the stovetop in a stainless steel or enameled cast iron pot. Do not heat vinegar in aluminum or regular cast iron cookware, since it is reactive with these materials.
- Fill the jar with the hot vinegar, seal, and let it steep in a dark place at room temperature for at least 24 hours or longer if you want a stronger scent. Strain, and discard the peels, herbs, and spices.
- Store the vinegar in a cool, dark place, and use diluted, at full strength, or in DIY recipes just as you would regular vinegar.
Prevent water spots and fingerprints on faucets with waxed paper. Run the waxy side of waxed paper on your kitchen faucet and other chrome fixtures to help prevent unsightly marks, including water spots and fingerprints. You’ll have to re-treat these areas regularly, but they’ll look cleaner longer than if you use typical scouring methods.
Keep your faucet running smoothly with vinegar. Before you go to bed, pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup of white vinegar into a small plastic food bag, add a few drops of lemon essential oil (if desired for extra cleaning power), and secure the bag onto your faucet with a rubber band or elastic hair tie. The next morning, remove the bag, and wipe your faucet clean. This mixture will remove mineral deposits and soap scum buildup from your faucet and keep it running smoothly.
Use salt to clean a dropped egg off the floor. Sprinkle salt on the egg, and let it sit for 30 minutes. You should be able to wipe it up with ease.
Save money by making your own foaming hand soap refills. Store-bought soap refills can save you some money over buying new dispensers every time, but making your own homemade hand wash will save you even more! The secret to foaming hand wash is in the pump, not the soap. Keep that empty foaming soap dispenser, and refill it with water and 1 teaspoon of liquid Castile soap or natural dish soap. The pump will work just as it used to!
Remove stains and odors from hands in a snap with items you already have in your kitchen. Cutting onions and garlic can make your hands pretty smelly, and washing with regular soap often won’t make the odor go away. Clean odors and stains from hands by bathing them in tomato juice, lemon juice, or salt.
Eliminate fruit flies from your kitchen with apple cider vinegar and sugar. Fill a small bowl or Mason jar with apple cider vinegar and a spoonful of sugar. Stir to mix, and cover with plastic wrap. Poke some holes in the plastic wrap to allow the flies to access the vinegar mixture without escaping. Once the fruit flies drown in the container, dispose of them in the garbage or outside.
Soak fresh produce in vinegar to remove wax and pesticides. For produce with a skin, fill your clean kitchen sink with cool water, and add 1 cup of white vinegar. Add the produce, and let it soak for 20 minutes to an hour. Rinse and dry thoroughly before storing or consuming. Soak more delicate greens, such as lettuce, kale, and spinach, in the vinegar mixture for about 15 minutes, swishing them through the water with your hands to remove dirt and grit, then use a salad spinner to dry thoroughly. Store in a big bowl between layers of paper towels or clean, dry cloths to absorb moisture and keep them fresher longer.
Clean delicate berries with a homemade all-purpose spray. Fill a spray bottle with water, and add 2 tablespoons of liquid Castile soap. Screw on the spray nozzle, and shake to combine. Put the berries in a colander, spray liberally with cleaner, and rub berries very gently to keep them from breaking apart. Rinse thoroughly with cool water, and let them sit in the colander for a few minutes to drain the water. Put berries in a storage container lined with paper towels, and store in the fridge. This all-natural spray can be used to clean surfaces throughout your home.
Use this easy DIY citrus soft scrub to scour kitchen surfaces without scratching. This mixture will clean and remove stains from sinks, stovetops, and other surfaces without damaging the finish.
1 cup baking soda
1/4 cup liquid Castile soap
10 drops each lemon, lime, and orange essential oils
Mix the ingredients in a bowl to form a paste. Add more Castile soap if the mixture is too dry.
Apply the paste with a microfiber cloth or sponge, scrub, and rinse with clean water.
Clean and polish your kitchen sink in just a few moments with a lemon and salt. Cut a lemon in half, dip it in salt, and use it to clean and polish your kitchen sink. The abrasive action of the salt scrubs away stains, while the lemon removes grease, grime, and odors.
Dissolve hard-water stains around your kitchen with full-strength vinegar. Soak silverware and glassware in white vinegar, rinse well, and air-dry. Spray your refrigerator’s water dispenser with vinegar, wipe with a damp microfiber cloth, and dry with a clean, dry cloth. To clean your kitchen sink, spray with vinegar, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Scrub the sink clean with a sponge or damp microfiber towel, rinse well, and dry. For added cleaning power, soak a cloth in vinegar, and wrap it around the kitchen faucet. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
Make your own inexpensive, natural, and effective DIY kitchen spray in just minutes. White vinegar cuts through grease and has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, making it an excellent kitchen cleanser. Fill a spray bottle halfway with white vinegar, then fill it almost to the top with water. Add your favorite antibacterial essential oils using 15 drops per 25 ounces. You can use one essential oil or a combination of two or three scents. Favorite essential oils for kitchen cleaning are lemon, orange, lemongrass, and rosemary, and favorite combinations include lemongrass-basil, lavender-rosemary, tea tree–grapefruit, and lemon-eucalyptus.
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