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5 Essential Steps to Deep Cleaning Your Kitchen

 

Even if you're a conscientious homeowner who cleans the kitchen after every time you cook and scrubs the floor and stove once a week, you still need to deep clean sometimes. Traditionally, homeowners do an annual deep cleaning every spring, although some prefer to clean twice a year or on a different schedule. If you own an investment property or like to flip homes, then it's what you do to ready a home for the market.

Kitchens are a notoriously difficult space to clean thoroughly. Frying food causes airborne particles of grease to get everywhere, steam collects on the walls and attracts mold and fungus, and escaped crumbs wind up in hard-to-find places. An hour spent cleaning the kitchen every week takes off a lot of the pressure when it's time to deep clean, but there are a few spots where grime accumulates that you probably don't think of when you're mopping the floors. Here are five steps to include in a deep cleaning.

  • Extractor fan filter. When you fry food, grease splatters. That's why you probably scrub the stove and backsplash frequently. But if you turn on the extractor fan, even more of that grease ends up on the hood filter. To remove it, undo the clasps at either side. Then fill your sink with hot water and baking soda, put in the filter, and let it soak. If a lot of grease comes off, be sure to dispose of it in the garbage, or you'll get a clogged drain. Then scrub the filter and hood thoroughly with degreaser and put the filter back in.
  • Dishwasher. Speaking of filters, many dishwashers have a removable filter. Remove and scrub it to get rid of caked-on grime and hard-water deposits. Then, take a container of powdered Tang, pour it into the dishwasher and press Start. Run the machine again after that cycle is done. This will remove deposits from the inside of the machine.
  • Food disposal. Use degreaser and a toothbrush to scrub the underside of your disposal guard flap. This will remove stubbornly caked-on food, preventing mold.
  • Oven. Cleaning the oven is one task everyone dreads, which is why auto-clean functions exist. The auto-clean setting runs your oven at its highest temperature for several hours, incinerating burnt-on food. However, this can set off the fire alarm, coat your newly scrubbed walls with ash or even start a fire if the oven is very dirty. If you don't have an auto-clean function or don't want to risk it, remove the grates, spread a paste of baking soda and vinegar over the interior and the grates, and let both sit overnight; then scrub both thoroughly with degreaser and an abrasive tool. You can use oven cleaner for the final pass, but don't let it sit on the metal for longer than the package instructions suggest, as most brands are very caustic.
  • Refrigerator. The inside of a fridge will always accumulate food grime, so remove all food, take out any removable shelves and drawers, and scrub everything thoroughly with a food-safe cleaner.

A thorough deep cleaning of the kitchen is a task no one likes, but it's a necessary one from time to time. Just make sure not to miss these often-forgotten spots, and consult owner's manuals for additional instructions.

 
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