30 Quick Tips For a Spotless Kitchen

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karindalziel on flickr
Clean your kitchen more efficiently and effectively

Time it took you to connect to the Internet: 2.8 minutes.

Time it will take you to read this article: 16.5 minutes.

Time it takes you to deep clean your kitchen: 48.6 minutes.

Whoa! What else could you be doing with the time it takes you to thoroughly scrub and sanitize your kitchen?

As homemakers, we spend enormous amounts of time in the kitchen. Both pleasurable tasks such as baking and unpleasant duties such as cleaning, consume time and energy, valuable resources for any woman. Expedient solutions and clean-up tips can help minimize the time used for chores and maximize the time spent in more enjoyable pursuits.

Space invaders
One threat to kitchen tidiness is clutter. Clutter not only hinders general kitchen organization, it hampers quick clean-up of surfaces. Two areas notorious for collecting junk of all sorts are the tops of the microwave and the refrigerator.

1. Things that end up on top of the refrigerator are items no one uses often--remove these to the garage or a closet, carefully marking the storage container so the contents are known.

2. Resolve to keep this area jumble free; one effective strategy-- stand a decorative item, large enough to prevent other articles from being tossed there, in the center on top of the refrigerator.

3. A microwave oven cooks less efficiently when the top is strewn with miscellany, restricting airflow. Usually only small items migrate to the microwave top. Prevent these from piling up by placing a small ornamental bowl or dish on top as a catch-all.

Get organized
Disorganized pantries, drawers and cupboards slow an otherwise productive person. Pantries can be a nightmare if not meticulously organized and
maintained. Putting away groceries may take twice as long as necessary and finding the ingredients to prepare a meal culminate in fits of frustration.

4. Store dishes and utensils in drawers and cupboards closest to the appliance with which they are most frequently used. Everyday tableware should be kept over the dishwasher, or in the cabinets next to the sink. Pots, pans, and skillets arranged in cupboards under or near the stove, or hung on hooks above the range, provide for speedy access both in tidying up and in cooking.

5. Organize pantry space so that like items are placed together-- canned soups in one spot, broths in another etc.

6. Separate pantry articles by use. Place baking things on one shelf, prepared foods on another shelf etc.

Clear countertops
Minimizing the number of objects situated on countertops produces several benefits: more available countertop workspace; less accumulated mess to sort through; easier wipe down of surfaces. Myriad solutions exist for those who have less-than-generous storage space in the kitchen.

7. Mount items under cabinets rather than setting them on the counters. Use freestanding caddies for frequently used items. Although these do take up counter space, the amount used is reasonable given their time-saving nature.

8. Hanging racks for pots, pans and utensils and hanging baskets for herbs, fruits and vegetables might serve to free up much-needed space.

Time savers
A spotless kitchen is important. If streamlined, routine kitchen tasks, those performed several times per week, will require less time and effort, allowing additional moments to be spent elsewhere, on more rewarding goals.

9. Keep a feather duster handy for surfaces which call for dusting rather than scrubbing. A feather duster is quicker than standard dusting, and works excellently on finishes that do not need polishing.

10. When loading a dishwasher or a dish-rack, stack similar items together, for more expedient unloading.

11. Clean as you go. This is especially effective when preparing a meal for a large gathering or when baking. The minimal time spent washing up between tasks will serve you well when unexpected company drops in and your kitchen appears freshly scrubbed.

Hide the evidence
And speaking of drop-in guests, when unable to take the advice of Ann Silberman and "Hire a maid!", it might pay to take a lesson in rapid cover-up techniques.

12. Conceal unwashed dishes and other articles by placing them in the dishwasher, microwave oven or a rarely used cupboard.

13. Non-utensil related hodgepodge is easily hidden in laundry baskets, then stuck in a closet.

14. Keep leftovers in marked containers. This not only facilitates meal preparation, when company helps themselves to something in the refrigerator, they are met with organization and tidiness, and no one will know the leftovers are from McDonald's!

Environmentally Friendly Tools:
15. Certain cleaning tools and solutions are indispensable in the kitchen. To keep these nearby, yet out of sight and the reach of small children, hang a few small hooks on the inside of the cabinet under the sink.

16. Spray bottle with half lemon juice/half water-- Lemon juice will quickly remove grease spatters and food stains.

17. Spray bottle with vinegar-- Vinegar is another safe household cleaner, effective for cleansing surfaces and removing odors.

18. Spray bottle with club soda--Club soda is the miracle solutions for stains, even on clothing, and resistant scuff marks in sinks and on counters.

19. Baking soda in a Parmesan cheese dispenser-- Buy this remarkable cleanser and baking component in bulk and store in Parmesan cheese containers for easy sprinkling. Stains will respond to a solution of baking soda and warm water, as will stuck-on foods.

20. Unopened can of diet soda-- Diet soda is the bane of hard water and set-in stains on grout.

21. Large, firm toothbrush-- Use to scrub grout and hard to reach places. Baby wipes-- Removes crayon marks on almost any surface. Terrific in taking tough stains out of carpets and clothing (test on small area first).

Other Tools and Tips:
22. Clorox wipes-- These are handy for swift counter and surface cleaning.

23. Lysol wipes-- These work well for speedy cleaning and disinfecting.

24. Flush one-half cup white vinegar followed by one-half cup baking soda to clean and rid garbage disposal of odors.

25. Run orange or other citrus peel with boiling water to add fresh scent to the house.

26. Soak hard water stains and stains on grout in diet soda then scrub for easy removal.

27. To eliminate persistent kitchen odors, keep trash outside or in garage.

28. Prior to scrubbing the floor, use a clean dust mop to sweep. Dust mops should be vacuumed after two or three uses.

29. A bowl of vinegar in the oven or microwave will remove odors.

30. Charcoal briquets or a box of baking soda will eliminate odors in the refrigerator and freezer. Briquets may be reused after boiling for two minutes and allowing to dry.

Using time-saving techniques, as well as optimal use of kitchen space, serves to reduce time spent in the drudgery of kitchen chores. Less time cleaning is more time enjoying, be it in the kitchen, the garden, or the sewing room, so put these tips to work and go have fun!

Alessia Cowee is a contributing editor at ePregnancy.com, as well as at Suite 101. She mothers three children in Chico, CA.