Our monthlong series on spring cleaning starts with the most important room in the house.
Spring is here, and with the bright sunlight comes the inspiration to make everything in your home feel as sparkly and new as that fresh spring air feels outside. That's right: We're talking spring cleaning! To We're devoting the month to cleaning all the things you never think to clean, going room by room. These are the big-ticket, deep-cleaning projects you really only need to do once or twice a year ‚Äì and when you do them, you'll feel like you're living in a brand-new home. To kick off the series, we're starting with our favorite part of the house: the kitchen.
1. Clean up your cleaning products. I'm always looking for ways to clean up my home, so I've been taking a closer look at the ingredients lists of the products I use everywhere, from my beauty drawer to my kitchen cabinets. Recently, I've discovered some great kitchen cleansers that make it easy to choose the green, nontoxic option over the traditional heavy chemical products. I love these for their cleaning power, and for their high ratings from environmental advocates.
2. Clean your dishwasher. A dirty dishwasher might sound like an oxymoron, but over time, these hardworking appliances collect their share of grease and grime. First, check the filter on the dishwasher floor for loose material that may be clogging the drain or contributing nasty smells. Then, put a cup of white vinegar in a dishwasher-safe cup or bowl on the upper rack of the dishwasher and run the machine at the hottest setting. The vinegar will neutralize any odors.
3. Wipe down your shelves. Every time you sauté, steam, or deep fry in your kitchen, food and grease particles make their way into the air. And while everyday dishes and glassware gets used often enough to stay clean, serving pieces and other less-used items on your shelves act as magnets for all that gunk. And if you have open shelving, the shelves themselves are also collecting grime. Take everything down and give the dishware a quick wash in the sink, then wipe down the shelves with soapy water before putting it all away. While you've got everything out in the open, you might even be inspired to Kondo your dishware and say goodbye to a few pieces you never use! (And if your heavy cookware has been getting a workout over the winter, read more here on how to give it a deep clean before packing it away for the season.)
4. De-grease your range hood. Speaking of grease magnets, when was the last time you took a look at the hood over your stovetop? To quickly clean the air filter that sits over the fan and collects the most , fill the sink with boiling water, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and a squirt of dish detergent. Let the filter soak in this mixture for 10 minutes, then scrub with a stiff-bristled dish brush. To clean the hood around the filter, fill a spray bottle with white vinegar, a little dish detergent and water. Spray the underside, top, and sides of the hood, and wipe with a wet sponge.
5. Refresh your spice rack. Dried herbs lose their aroma and flavor after about a year, and spices after two years. (Tip: If you can't remember when you bought it, it's probably too old.) If you're cooking with old spices, you'll start to find that recipes are falling flat. Restock with fresh, globally sourced goods from LA's Spice Station, NYC's Kalustyan's, or the online-only Snuk Foods. Once you've restocked and refreshed, make sure you keep them organized with this great kitchen organizer we found!) so no spices go missing ever again. Give the condiments in your fridge a check, too!
6. Wipe out your trash can. Sure, you take out the trash bag regularly. But how much time do you spend thinking about the empty can underneath that plastic liner? Leaks and poorly fitting bags can contribute a layer of dirt that keeps things smelling funky even when the trash is gone. Give the interior a spritz with white vinegar and water and wipe it out, then sprinkle a light layer of baking soda in the bottom before putting in the next bag to absorb any lingering smells.