3 Ways To Prepare Your Kitchen For The Holidays
With the holiday just around the corner it’s important to prepare your appliances for the festivities in advance. If you’re hosting this year, take the time to give your kitchen a deep and thorough cleaning.
Clean your refrigerator. Your refrigerator can be a pretty dirty place if it’s not kept in check. It’s prone to spills, spoiled and forgotten food, peculiar odors, overcrowding and even mold and mildew growth. Cleaning it regularly will not only prevent grit and grime, but will also help keep food fresher.
- To start, prepare a cooler with ice for keeping food cold while you tackle the fridge. Throw out expired or unwanted items and recycle plastic and glass containers, then place all everything else in the cooler
- Once your refrigerator is completely empty remove the shelves and drawers. Plastic or metal shelving can be placed in hot water right away, but if your refrigerator has glass shelving give it some time to warm up before submerging it in hot water to prevent cracking.
- While your shelves and drawers warm up or are soaking in soapy hot water, wipe down the interior of your refrigerator. Spray down the inside with a green multi-surface cleaner, then have at it with a clean sponge or cloth—don't be too rough to avoid scratching the surface. Keep in mind the bottom and the back of your refrigerator are the places where you’re going to find the most spill residue. Don’t forget to wipe down the rubber door seal too! For a tough dried up spill, set a hot cloth over it to loosen up the grime. For places that are hard to reach like small crevices, use a toothbrush to scrub.
- After the interior is spotless, wipe down the shelves and drawers that you left soaking. Make sure you dry them completely before placing them back in the refrigerator. Wipe down jars and bottles before you return all of the food that you’re keeping. Take the time to organize your doors and shelves with like foods.
- Once the interior is clean and organized, close the refrigerator and tackle the exterior. If you have a stainless steel refrigerator use a stainless steel cleaner and clean with the grain. For enameled steel refrigerators, use a green multi-surface cleaner. Don’t forget to clean the door handles! They happen to be one of the dirtiest places in your home so give them an extra deep scrub.
Clean your oven. After a lot of cooking cycles, your oven is prone to food and grease buildup on the racks and along its interior, but before you start the cleaning processes it’s important to set aside plenty of time and determine which oven type you have. Is it self-cleaning, textured or regular non-self-cleaning? When in doubt, check the manufacturer’s manual. Once you figure this out take the appropriate action.
- Self-Cleaning. The cleaning feature on this oven will cause it to heat up to an extremely high temperature, turning all of the baked-on food and grease into ash. Before you get started make sure you won’t need your oven for a while because the self-cleaning process can take anywhere from two to six hours. First, take out all of the oven racks and soak them in warm water with some dish soap. Then wipe away any food crumbs on the bottom of the oven with a damp, nonabrasive sponge. Because the oven temperature will be so high—900 degrees or more, the self-cleaning mode should automatically lock your oven door. If you find that this is not the case, alert your family that the oven is going through a cleaning cycle. Make sure your ventilation hood is turned on as well. After the cycle is complete, let the oven cool for a few hours before wiping out the ash, wiping down its interior and replacing the clean oven racks.
- Textured. A textured oven is an oven that continuously cleans itself during baking cycles. To clean this type of oven, remove the baking racks and soak them in warm water and scrub off any grit and grime. For the interior, only use a damp cloth or nonabrasive sponge to wipe out the ash. Using any type of oven cleaner or wire-brush will damage the interior coating.
- Regular Non-Self-Cleaning. To clean the interior and get rid of tough buildup use, a special oven cleaner solution or spray. You can let it soak on the tough spots and then try and scrape it away. While you’re tackling the interior, you should let your oven racks soak in warm water with a little dish soap, which will make it easier to scrub away the grease and food buildup.
Clean your cook top. Depending on what type of cooktop you have, the cleaning instructions will vary. Learn about your cooktop in your manufacturer’s manual before getting started.
- Smooth cooktop. This type of cooktop is easy to maintain. Regularly wipe it down after you finish using it and clean any spills with dish soap and water. For caked-on grease you can use a special smooth cooktop cleaner.
- Electric coils. The coils themselves are self-cleaning. What you really need to pay attention to are the drip pans below. Food can get caught underneath and burn, and spills that were forgotten about will dry up and crust. Make sure to regularly remove these pans and soak them or wipe them down with dish soap and water.
- Enamel cooktop. If your cooktop has an enamel surface, don’t clean it with any coarse cleaning items that could scratch the enamel. Clean up acidic spills right away because they could stain your cooktop. Remember to pull off the knobs and clean around them with dish soap and water too. If you’re struggling with caked-on grease, purchase enamel specific cooktop cleaner.
Tip: If you’re hesitant to use any chemical cleaners on your appliances, an alternative is a baking soda and water mixture. It won’t scratch or harm surfaces and if you let it soak on tricky stains and caked grease, it will loosen up the grime. It also deodorizes so it’s great to use in your refrigerator, too!
Photos courtesy of Artistic Tile, GE Appliances, and Jenn-Air