Does your kitchen pass the white glove test?
There’s never a good time to give your kitchen a deep clean so now’s as good a time as any. Helen Renshaw shows you how…
Psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall has formulated 31 March as the optimal spring-cleaning day, using emotional and environmental factors. But for keen home cooks, any time of the year is good for the room that will be most in need of TLC (tender loving cleaning) – the kitchen. Here’s our expert, step-by-step guide to passing the white glove test.
MAKE A PLAN
Be realistic: to do the job properly, you’ll probably need at least one full day. Arm yourself with everything you’ll need in advance, and some music to clean to.
Try this Consider investing in an E-cloth, to cut the cost of cleaning fluids. It’s made from millions of tiny fibres, which clean so well that only water is needed. The E-cloth won Good Housekeeping’s Best Green Product in 2007. The anti-bacterial version, which harnesses the natural antibacterial properties of silver to eliminate all bacteria, costs £4.88. Visit
for more information.
Go through cupboards, the pantry and kitchen shelves, removing everything. Consider how to use up leftovers – see deliciousmagazine.co.uk for ideas – and give away food or other items you’re never going to use. Set aside the things that will go back in the cupboard and give them a wipe over. Thoroughly clean the interiors with warm, soapy water or an E-cloth.
Try this How many cookbooks do you actually use? Cull those you never cook from. Visit uk.freecycle.org to give away your unwanted books.
Before tackling any electrical appliance, be sure to unplug it from the mains. Use a vacuum to clean the coils of your unplugged fridge. Sweep and mop underneath it. Throw out food that’s past its sell-by date. Remove all shelves and drawers and wash and dry them. Clean the interior with warm soapy water, then wipe with a dilute bleach solution – do not use undiluted, as it can damage seals and linings and contaminate food. Dry with kitchen paper. Use up or ditch anything lurking in your freezer.
Try this Cleaning your fridge with baking powder and water is a great way to eliminate stubborn odours, and storing an opened box of baking powder in your fridge and freezer will absorb bad smells – just replace it every three months (and don’t use for baking afterwards).
Microwaves can suffer from burned-on spills. If you can’t shift them with hot soapy water, put some water in a microwave-friendly container and microwave until boiling. The steam will loosen the gunk. If the microwave smells, add some lemon juice to the water.
Try this When buying appliances, check whether they have ‘easy-clean’ functions, such as the
(£99.99) and the
Clean with hot, soapy water, then blitz with a more powerful cleaner – check with the company you bought the work surface from to see if you can use bleach on yours. Dry surfaces off with a clean kitchen towel, to make sure no cleaner is left behind to come into contact with food. Pay particular attention to joins and corners.
If you have wooden worktops, post-spring clean is a great time to oil them. Wait until the surfaces are completely dry and apply boiled linseed oil with a clean, lint-free cloth.
, £3.98 for 500ml.
Dishwashers may look clean, but grease and limescale can lurk in hidden corners. There are several good products on the market to tackle this. We like Finish Dishwasher Cleaner Intensive Clean and Care (from £2.73 for 250ml, from major supermarkets). If your dishwasher has a food trap in the bottom, remove it, clean thoroughly and disinfect it with diluted bleach.
Alternatively, add a cupful of vinegar to your dishwasher and run a hot, short cycle with nothing else inside.
Don’t use wire wool or allow harsh chemicals such as bleach on stainless steel – use a gentle detergent, or a cleanser made specifically for it, and dry with a towel after cleaning to prevent water spots. Porcelain sinks only need water and a cream cleaner. To keep drains unclogged and grease-free, pour a cup of salt water and a cup of soda into the drain followed by a pan of boiling water.
For a great finish, try Bar Keepers Friend. Developed over 100 years ago – and so good it’s used to clean the Albert Memorial in London – it gives excellent results on a host of household surfaces including stainless steel and hard-to-clean white sinks.
LEAST FAVOURITE JOB
For most of us, it’s cleaning the oven, but this is a key element of your spring clean. To make it easier, check the manual to see if your oven has any special features to help with the dreaded job.
Ovens with self-cleaning liners
Some ovens have detachable metal liners on the sides, and sometimes the back. They can be lifted out and cleaned in the dishwasher, but elbow grease is needed to remove stubborn stains, and removing and refitting the liners can be tricky.
Continuous clean ovens
These have a special textured porcelain surface, which is supposed to burn food off gradually as you use your oven. To clean, simply wipe the inside when the oven is cool. Never use abrasive cleaners, scourers or oven cleaners.
Some top-end modern ovens, such as the Neff Series 5 B4562, use pyrolytic cleaning. The high temperature cleaning cycle reduces dirt to a powdery grey ash, which can be wiped away easily. Keep a window open during the cycle, and don’t use abrasives or oven cleaners.
For regular ovens, cover the floor of the oven with aluminium foil or
(from £3.95), which are washable and re-usable. Stubborn build-ups need oven cleaner. Try
(£7.82), a powerful biodegradable cleaner. Failing that, you can resort to a professional oven cleaning company such as
• Shine up the exterior of large appliances such as the fridge or dishwasher with car wax to remove small scratches.
• Dilute one part vinegar in five parts water for use as a cleaner on almost any surface.
• Boil your dishcloths and tea towels clean.
• Use separate cloths or sponges for separate tasks.
• Have a meal prepared in advance for when you’re too tired to cook, using food you don’t want back in your cupboards or freezer.
How green is your kitchen?