Kitchens are a potluck of dirt, grease, and germs.
For a clean kitchen, you'll need anall-purpose cleaner; a disinfectant cleaner; a glass cleaner; dishwashing detergent; a clean, dry cloth; a scrubber sponge; and a scourer (the ball-shaped, woven-plastic kind that resembles the copper scourers of the past but doesn't scratch today's surfaces).
This 7-step method to a clean kitchen begins with decluttering and ends with mopping your way out the door.
Put away anything that's out of place, such such as dishes languishing in the sink or the kids' homework on the kitchen table, and remove everything from the counters.
Send oven mitts and dishtowels into the wash. Toss anything from the fridge that's past its prime (see food safety tips for guidelines) or that the family won't eat, no matter how hungry.
Don't waste your precious time scrubbing dried-on foods or baked-on spills on the countertops and the stove; instead, give them generous spritz of all-purpose cleaner. Allow the cleaner to pretreat the grime while you move on.
Fill the sink with hot, soapy water and place your stove-burner rings and vent-hood filter inside to soak for at least 15 to 20 minutes to soften the baked-on food spills and splatters. (Your dishwasher could scratch the decorative surface of some burner rings.)
Open the (cool) oven and remove the oven racks. Scrape off any burned-on stains with a dull knife held at a 30-degree angle.
Use an oven cleaner for manually cleaned ovens; if you have a self-cleaning oven, simply turn it on and let the appliance clean itself.
Don't use an oven cleaner in a self-cleaning oven, however; it may damage the surface. To eliminate the need for frequent deep cleanings in the future, sponge away oven spills before they dry or are burned to crisp.
For baked-on messes in the microwave, apply hand dishwashing detergent using your scrubber sponge; rinse clean.
After you've obliterated the baked-on messes in the oven, work your way around the kitchen cleaning the other surfaces.
First, wipe up the spots you sprayed in step 2; then use an all-purpose cleaner for a general wipe-down of countertops, the oven exterior, cabinets, the dishwasher, and refrigerator.
To prevent streak marks when cleaning large vertical areas such as appliance surfaces, start at the bottom and work up, overlapping areas with a circular motion. Rinse the sponge and reapply cleaner frequently.
By making one thorough cleaning trip around the room, you're sure to hit all the surface hot spots. Finish by spraying a disinfectant cleaner on the countertops and refrigerator handle, allowing the cleaner to sit for at least 10 minutes.
Retrieve the vent-hood filter and stove-burner rings that are soaking in the sink; sponge them clean of any lingering grime; rinse, dry, and put them back in place. Clean the sink and faucet with a sponge and dishwashing liquid or all-purpose cleaner to remove any residue.
To make the faucet sparkle, spritz it with a glass cleaner and polish dry. Wipe the countertops and refrigerator door handle clean of disinfectant.
Sweep first to get rid of corner crumbs and then mop with a floor care product designed for your floor type. Keep in mind that flooring can become cloudy with built-up residue from cleaning solution, so be sure to rinse well. Better still: Use a no-rinse floor-cleaning product and simply mop your way out the kitchen door.