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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Proper Kitchen Management 101, part one . . . or Cleanliness is next to Godliness

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Of all the rooms in my home, the kitchen is the one which requires the most maintenance and management.  I see it as the heart of my home, as it reflects the overall spirit of where we choose to live.   Most of the action happens in our kitchen.  It's where we converse and gather . . .  where I spend many of my happiest hours.  Food and the preparation of food is really important to me and how I spend a great deal of my time and so it makes sense that I would like to keep it well organized, clean and manageable.   I also have a very tiny space to work in so this becomes even more important.   There is nothing nicer than a well groomed and organized kitchen . . .  and I cannot begin to tell you the pleasure which I get of an evening when I leave my kitchen for the last time for that day . . .  as I glance back and see everything cleaned and put away . . .  a nice glow emanating from the range hood . . .  it just does my heart so much good and gives me great satisfaction.

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My mother always said that cleanliness was next to Godliness and whilst I did not always appreciate that concept as an unruly teenager, as an adult I have come to truly appreciate the wisdom in her words.

Here are my top tips for keeping your kitchen appliances and tools clean!

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Cookers, Ovens and Hobs:

If you have a white enamel cooker, a gentle, environmentally friendly and effective cleaner is always at your fingertips.   Just make a paste using baking soda and water, wipe the top of your cooker and the doors of it until clean using a sponge and the paste to remove any dirt.  Once done, wipe over again with a clean, damp sponge or cloth to remove any residue from the cleaner.  You cooker and cooktop will simply gleam!  This also works very well on ceramic top hobs.

To make cleaning a grease splattered oven easy the simple solution is to pour one cup of ammonia in an aluminium cake tin and put it in the oven just before you go to bed at night.  (Make sure your oven is off and cool.)  Close the oven door.  In the morning, remove the tin and discard it's contents.   Your oven will now wipe clean with a damp sponge.  If you do this once every three to four weeks, you may never have to resort to chemically harsh oven cleaners.

To keep any splattering or drips to a minimum in your oven, place a pan with a bit of water on the rack below anything you are cooking that you think may drip or bubble over.  (Fruit pies come to mind here as well as juicy casseroles.)  Any overflow or drips wil go into the water.   Presto!  No scorched smells and an easy cleanup is assured!

I can't tell you how many times I have placed something plastic where I shouldn't have and ended up with melted plastic on my oven racks or burners.  DUH!  Here's a really easy and safe way to deal with it.  First take a pair of sharp kitchen scissors and cut off as much of the cooled and hardened plastic as you can.  Put the racks or burners into the oven and turn the oven on.  Heat just until the plastic is warm and pliant.   Use a metal putty knife to scrape it away.

Using window spray on the window of your oven doesn't work.  It only causes dark and brown spots to form, which you can next to never get off.  Instead, wipe your oven window with warm water and a bit of dish soap.  If this still doesn't work, try some vinegar on some paper kitchen towelling.  If the spots are inside the glass?  you will need to takethe whole oven door apart and carefully remove the glass and clean it.

Digital touchpads on cookers, microwaves and other appliances can be a real cleaning challenge.   It's a fine line between cleaning them and destroying them by using too wet a cloth.  The best method I have found to avoid this is to simply use a soft cloth damped generously with a bit of vinegar. You can simply wipe clean after that.

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Tips for the Dishwasher:

If your dishwasher isn't cleaning your glassware quite as well as it once did, that could be because of a build up of soap residue.   To get rid of this run a cup of vinegar through the empty dishwasher via an entire cycle.  If  you are still having a problem, repeat.   This method is a lot less expensive than using those dishwasher cleaning thingies you can buy at the shops.  I have found that doing this every four to six weeks helps to keep this problem from happening and keeps everything just sparkling!

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Tips for the microwave:

I clean my microwave every day with a damp sponge and a bit of dish detergent.  It's one of the last things I do before leaving the kitchen at night.  If you have left it longer however, or have some dirt which is difficult to budge, the easiest way to clean it is to place a small dish of vinegar in it and zap it on high just until the vinegar begins to boil.  (I find about two minutes does the trick)  Wipe clean with a generously dampened cloth or sponge.   Works a charm.

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The Refrigerator:

 A thorough refrigerator cleaning job that should be done regularly.  I have found that if you can break the job down into 10 minute daily chunks of time, dividing your refrigerator into a maximum of seven  sections, this is a job that becomes a whole lot easier.
  • The inside door
  • Each shelf counts as one section
  • Drawers
  • Outside
Each day tackle one section–wash the racks/shelves/drawers, all surrounding wall surfaces, toss expired food items and put everything back in a neat and organized manner. Top up with a fresh deodorizer as needed (see below).

For the outside, wash the top (removing anything placed there) and scrub down all sides.
By keeping the sections to 7 or less, your appliance is thoroughly scrubbed each and every weekwith a minimal of daily effort.

If your refrigerator becomes musty or somewhat smelly . . .  place fresh coffee grounds in a saucer and place the saucer on a lower shelf.  The smell should be gone within a week.  If not, replace with fresh grounds and try again.  If it still smells, check to make sure that the source of the odor has been thrown out and discard once found.  Once the smell has been taken care of, keep an open container of bicarbonate of soda in the refrigerator to keep it smelling fresh.  Discard and replace every six to eight weeks.

When cleaning the refrigerator remember to wash the seals.  Using a small, clean brush (I use an old and clean toothbrush) gently sweep away any crumbs and dirt caught in the grooves of the seal.

For firm, crisp and fresher fruits and vegetables, line the vegetable and fruit drawers with paper kitchen towelling.   The towels will absorb any excess moisture and your produce will stay fresher longer.

Of course having modern appliances in good working order is a pre-requisite to good management in any kitchen.  Not only can you be assured that they meet all of the safety standards for the industry today, but you can also save money on energy costs.  A good kitchen appliance centre like Amica International , with a multiple range of appliances to fit every budget, space and need,  can be a really valuable resource towards keeping your kitchen as one of the better managed and cleaner spaces in your home.

As I like to say to the Toddster from time to time . . .  if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy, and a well managed and clean kitchen helps to keep this mama very happy indeed.


  1. I get that same feeling looking at my kitchen after working in it..all is put away..faucets are sparkling as the sink..floor is wept and clean..cooktop shiny..Happy.

  2. I'm not familiar with the terms hob and cooker. Is a hob a stove top? And what is the difference between a cooker and an oven? Thanks for the tips. I heard of the ammonia one before but wasn't sure if it works. I'm glad to hear of someone who's tried it.

  3. You and I are twins Monique! In so many ways"

    FundyGirl, a hob is what we call the stove top and a cooker is what we call the whole stove. The oven is that part of the stove that you bake and roast in. There is also a grill, which is the broiler part, which is normally separate to the oven. Sometimes( especially in a gas cooker) it is over top of the hob, looking like a range hood, but it's not a hood, it's the grill!


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