Kitchen Cleaning Tips & Hacks: Taking the Elbow Grease out of Cleaning (Pt. 1)

Cleaning the kitchen can be one of the most difficult rooms to tackle in the house. It's where you spend a lot of your time, preparing meals, cooking, entertaining, and storing all of your food. So it's no wonder that the kitchen harbours more germs and bacteria than any other room in the house. The problem is, these germs aren't contained - they can spread through the rest of your home like wildfire.

That's why, even though the thought of putting time aside to make sure your kitchen is spick and span can be daunting, it's really important to regularly clean the area.

But never fear! There are a few tips to cut the kitchen-cleaning corners, and take a little bit of the elbow grease out of the job. The best part? You can do it using common items found around the home.

Here are our first five kitchen cleaning hacks - some of them may surprise you. Plus don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for part two!

1. Clean your Range Hood Filter with Baking Soda

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Let's be honest, when was the last time we put any effort into inspecting the state of our range hood? For most people, it's a very infrequent job to do, if they've ever attempted it at all.

The problem with leaving the range hood filter to its own devices for a long period of time, is it quickly catches a tonne of grease, grime and food residue in the filter. You may not be able to see it from the outside, but if you open up the range hood, you'll quickly notice what we're talking about.

Luckily, there's a really quick and easy way to get it back to it's original, shiny (and germ-free) state.

What you need:

  • Your removed range hood filter
  • A large stock pot
  • Water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda

The technique:

This one's pretty simple. Bring the water to the boil (enough to immerse the filter, you may have to do this in two halves) and add your baking soda to the pot. Place your filter into the pot, and watch as the grease is literally boiled off to rise to the surface.

If there's anything left on the filter after a few minutes, refill the pot with fresh water, and repeat the steps again. A fresh filter, healthier cooking space, and no hard work required!

2. Clean Your Microwave with Lemon

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Upon first looking in your microwave, you might think that it seems reasonably clean. There's not too much apparent grime and, usually, you cover your food anyway when you're cooking.

However, if you look up, you might find some surprise splashes you didn't know existed. These can be quite stuck to the microwave surface, and difficult to remove after a few rounds of being cooked onto the inside of the microwave. Luckily, a quick trick we've picked up is to use the power of a lemon to get rid of the grease!

What you need:

  • Half a cup of water in a bowl
  • A lemon
  • A cloth

The technique:

Squeeze out some of the acidic juice straight into your bowl of water, and drop both halves of the lemon, face up, into the bowl. Next, place that same bowl in the microwave, and turn it on for approximately three minutes. When you hear the familiar beep of the microwave, don't open the door. The citrus steam will help to dislodge any lingering gunk.

Finally, open up the microwave door and easily wipe away any stains with a cloth. It should come off really easily, and require no elbow grease at all!

3. Give your Chopping Board a Natural Refresh

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You use them every time you cook dinner, chopping all types of foods, from meats to herbs and vegetables, and every time you make cuts, they become more and more difficult to thoroughly clean.

Chopping boards are a really difficult piece of kitchenware to clean, especially if they're of the porous, wooden variety. Juices from foods are absorbed, and over time, they can even develop a certain smell about them. Fortunately, there's a really simple, and natural way, to get these back to safe use.

What you need:

  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • Paper towels

The technique:

Pull out your wooden chopping board and cut a fresh lemon in half. Squeeze lemon juice over the board, and use the lemon face down to spread the juice around. The juice naturally deodorises the board and gets rid of any lingering smells.

Throw away the used half of the lemon, and sprinkle salt over the board, generously. Then, use the second half of your lemon to run over the top of the salt in a scrubbing action. This helps to get into the porous parts of the board.

All you have to do now, is use a damp paper towel to wipe it down. Job done, with no harsh chemicals and very little effort!

4. Wipe Down the Kitchen Blinds

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There's nothing like waking up on a Sunday morning, strolling into the kitchen and appreciating the sun streaming through the blinds as you go to make a serving of bacon and eggs - except when it's ruined by a thick layer of dust you can't get to.

No one likes individually wiping down each side of every, single blind, one at a time. Thankfully, all you need is this common kitchen utensil to get the job done.

What you need:

  • A pair of tongs
  • Two cloths (microfibre, ideally)
  • Rubber bands

The technique:

All you have to do is wrap one cloth around each side of your pair of tongs and fix them in place with a firmly secured rubber band.

That's it! Simple, and effective.

You can now get in between those annoyingly tiny gaps in each blind, and wipe the dust of the surfaces (both top, and bottom). No more risk of getting rogue dust blown into your freshly prepared meals.

5. Clean Between the Grouting of your Kitchen Tiles

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Cleaning your kitchen floor (which for most New Zealand homes, is tiling or lino) is a pretty straightforward process, right? Give them a regular vacuum, and follow up with mopping the floor. Simple.

A problem arises when you have grouting in between tiles that doesn't ever seem to get cleaned properly and is beginning show signs of discolouring, and in some cases possibly grow mould. Fortunately, we have a trick for that too.

What you need:

  • A toothbrush
  • A pencil with an eraser
  • Baking soda
  • Water

The technique:

You probably wouldn't guess it, but the friction and roughness of a number two pencil's pink (or white) eraser is enough to get rid of some small sections of stained grout. All you have to do is begin by using the eraser like you would on paper and rub it out!

Of course, if the stain is a little tougher, an eraser won't do. The next step is to grab an old toothbrush, mix together a paste using baking soda and water, and scrub in the formula with your soft toothbrush bristles. You'll be able to get right into the sections of grout that your mop head wont reach, and remove anything growing there that shouldn't be.

Cleaning doesn't stop at the kitchen

Unfortunately, maintaining a healthy home doesn't just stop at getting rid of stains in the kitchen, it needs to be up-kept all around the home. If you'd like more tips, and help on how to maintain a healthy home (especially with Spring right around the corner) download our Healthy Home Guide for FREE!

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