Tag Archives: kitchen cleaning


Microwave ovens have become a kitchen essential for many, if not most, households. Problem is, once we shut the microwave door, it’s easy to forget about the spilled or splattered food accumulating on its interior….until the next time we go to use it. By that time, it’s hardened into a stubborn residue.

Good news: there’s no need for scrubbing or harsh chemicals to get your microwave sparkling clean and smelling fresh. Try one of these three simple, low-cost techniques, depending on what you have on hand:

Close-up of lemons in a wicker basket on white1. Squeeze the juice of a whole lemon into a cup of water in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the mixture in the microwave for three minutes. Careful—it will be hot! Remove the bowl with mitts and set aside. Wipe down the steamed residue from the interior of the oven with damp paper towels.

2. Follow the same directions above, using vinegar in place of lemon juice. After the vinegar solution cools, you can dip a sponge into it and wipe down the microwave interior again, which will neutralize odors. (For added value, after you clean your microwave, shake a dollop of baking soda into your kitchen sink, followed by the vinegar solution. Wipe down and rinse. Your sink will sparkle from the mild scrubbing and foaming action, and the solution will deodorize the drain).

3. Dissolve a half cup of baking soda in two cups of water in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for two minutes until solution boils, then let cool enough to remove. Dip sponge in baking soda solution (wear gloves as it will be hot) and wipe down interior of microwave.

Stubborn burnt popcorn smell bugging you? After cleaning the oven with one of the above methods, try one of these techniques, depending on your preference for fragrances. Mix a few teaspoons of ground coffee in a ceramic cup of water and place the cup in a bowl. Heat for two minutes. Remove bowl and cup with mitts. Wipe down interior of microwave with damp paper towels. As an alternative, put four teaspoons of vanilla extract in a bowl of water and heat for two minutes. Remove bowl with mitts, and wipe down interior of microwave with damp paper towels.

Cleaning Dishwashers

DishwasherI can tell you right now, that I have no idea what I would do without a dishwasher. I have refused to live without one ever since that fateful year in college when I had to hand wash every utensil in our crowded dirty apartment. Although the dishwasher works miracles for us, we tend to forget it needs some TLC every now and then. Like I thought with the washing machine, “Its primary function is to clean, so it will always be clean.” Again, I was wrong. All that food Chet and the kids refuse to rinse off before throwing their dishes in gets stuck and can build up around the washer. Now that’s something you don’t want to see. Eventually it can make your dishwasher look and smell bad, and even worse, make it less effective. A broken or weak dishwasher would be a tragedy! Thank goodness it’s not so hard to clean your favorite machine.

Place a dishwasher-safe cup filled with plain white vinegar on the top rack of the dishwasher. Run a cycle through using the hottest water available with the dishwasher completely empty except for the cup of vinegar. The vinegar will sanitize the interior of the dishwasher. When that cycle is complete, sprinkle a cupful of baking soda around the bottom of the tub and run a complete short cycle through again using the hottest water available. The baking soda will create a fresh smell as well as help to remove any stains. Easy as pie!

Clean the rubber gasket in the door and around the soap door as well. You can just give them a once over with a damp towel to keep the grime away. Also, don’t forget the trap found under the lower sprayer. Usually it is removable so it can be cleaned in the sink, if not use a damp towel to remove any build up.

Your last step before rewarding yourself with a good book is cleaning the accessories. Go ahead and take out the racks and utensil holders. Wipe off any stuck-on food particles or other debris, I know this sounds yucky but it really wasn’t so bad! Scrub the spray arm with a soft brush or toothbrush to remove clogs.

No worries, you don’t have to make this part of your weekly cleaning routine! Cleaning it out about once a month works just fine. Never take your dishwasher for granted again!

Whittle Down Your Housework

173659859Everybody likes a clean home, but who wants to spend their weekends scouring, sweeping and scrubbing? Not me! Make the most of your cleaning time by staying ahead of the game with small, focused efforts, and break daunting chores into shorter, more manageable tasks that won’t gobble up your leisure hours. Saving housecleaning effort is much like saving money: small actions are an investment. They add up over time and pay off big in the long term. Here are some tips to get you started:


  • Keep toiletries tucked away in drawers or closets to eliminate unnecessary dusting.
  • Consider a vacuum solution like Vroom to clean makeup, hairs, and powders from vanity counters after your bathroom routine.
  • Scum-fighting shower spray in the shower every day will go to work on its own to prevent buildup.
  • Spot clean the toilet and surrounding floor with a disinfectant wipe each day.
  • Straighten towels after use or use hooks for a no-fuss look.


  • Clean as you go when you cook to keep surfaces and pans easy to wipe up before food hardens. Wipe counters and stove surface after each meal you prepare to prevent tough, built-up grime.
  • Take a few minutes to vacuum the kitchen every night. Consider a built-in product like the Vroom.
  • Every few days while you’re talking on the phone or waiting for the soup to heat, clear the fridge of leftovers that won’t get eaten, then spot-wipe the glass shelves with a damp cloth.
  • Every few weeks while the pasta is boiling or the chicken is on the grill, use a microfiber duster to dust cupboards and walls.

Living Room/Family Room

  • Walk around most-used living spaces each night with a laundry basket and pick up items that don’t belong there. Take a few minutes to put those items in the places they belong, or delegate that chore to a family member.
  • During television commercials, grab a microfiber duster and do a quick once-around the room on surfaces, window sills and baseboards.
  • Put each day’s newspapers in a designated spot before going to bed.
  • If you have small children and lots of toys that get used in common living areas, don’t bother picking them up all day long. They’re just going to get pulled out again, so stop wasting time and energy. Shoot for two or three five-minute sessions of cleanup each day, and engage your child in the process as much as possible. A tidied family room gives some peace of mind at the end of day for grownup hours when children are in bed, and offers children a sense of accomplishment.


  • A made bed contributes more to the overall impression of a clean bedroom than any other effort you make there. Try to make your bed each morning and you’ll retire with a more serene feeling each night.
  • Use handsome jewelry boxes or valet boxes to avoid clutter—and unnecessary dusting—on the dresser.
  • If clothes on the floor are a problem, get a coat stand with hooks, or fasten pretty hooks on the walls. At least clothes will be off the floor until you get the chance to launder them or hang them up.
  • Changing sheets and bed linens can be done in less than half the time with two people. Enlist a house mate’s help.
  • Close closet doors after use for a sleeker appearance in the room.
  • If you live in a house of avid readers, choose nightstands that have cabinet bottoms with doors, so the bedside book stack can be stowed away instead of adding to clutter and trapping dust.