Are you freshly invigorated by the new year? We definitely are – and the clean start is motivating us to, well, clean. In the spirit of new year’s resolutions and becoming our best selves in 2019, we’ve been working to upgrade our cleaning routines. And that means eliminating bad kitchen cleaning habits.
We’ll be doing a whole series on bad cleaning habits worth kicking this year, but we’re starting in the kitchen. As the hearth of the home and the place where all your food preparation takes place, it’s a key area to keep hygienic. Let’s get started! Here are five bad kitchen cleaning habits to break this year.
Skipping your sponge and sink
Do you clean your cleaners? If it’s been a while since you’ve thought about the hygiene of your sponge and sink, it’s time to start now. For starters, get a sponge setup that allows it to drain. Sitting in its own food-particle-filled water definitely isn’t doing it any favors. This can be as simple as wringing it out and propping it up against your dish soap bottle. Just get in the habit of allowing it to dry between uses.
You should also regularly disinfect it. Run in through the dishwasher, microwave it or soak it in full-strength vinegar or diluted bleach. Bam! You’re ready to wash dishes without any weirdness hanging around.
And, the next time you disinfect your kitchen counters, don’t forget your sink. Who knows what mishmash of bacteria could grow in there if you’re not giving it a regular wipe down.
Ditching your disposal care
Think your garbage disposal is one of those set-it-and-forget-it things? Think again. Your garbage disposal needs some TLC. Just think about all the stuff you’ve asked it to handle for you over the years! You can buy garbage disposal cleaners, but you can also DIY. Sprinkle in a half cup of baking soda, then pour a cup of white vinegar down. Let it sit for ten minutes, then follow it with boiling water.
If you’ve got a smelly garbage disposal and are looking for a quick fix, freeze some citrus peels into ice cubes. Run them through the disposal for an instant refresh.
Also, if you’re still dumping grease down the drain, stop! Not only can this cause issues in your own household plumbing, but it’s also got far reaching implications. Have you ever heard of a fatberg? Yes, you read that right: fatberg. Apparently, when we all pour grease down our drains, it builds up in the sewer system and bonds with calcium, creating giant fatbergs that can cling to the sewer system’s ceiling. Over time, this can cause a major sewer backup. Don’t be a part of the problem. Store a lidded metal coffee canister under your sink and pour your grease and oils into it. Once it’s full and the liquids have cooled and set, you can safely toss it in the trash.
Cleaning floors first
When you clean your kitchen, move from top to bottom. Wipe off your kitchen hood first, then clean your stovetop. Otherwise, everything you just wiped off can settle right where you prepare your food. The same goes for the rest of your kitchen. Start at the top, cleaning cabinets, then disinfect counters. (We’ve got some eco-friendly DIY disinfectant options for you.) Finish with the floor and you’ll have a truly clean kitchen instead of one in which you’ve just relocated whatever dust and food particles were accumulating.
Look, we know that procrastination is a fact of life. In fact, it’s hard to rank it on the list of bad kitchen cleaning habits because it’s in a field all its own. But, when it comes to your kitchen, it’s really worth trying to push past.
Why? When you let things sit in your sink (yes, we know the whole “I’m leaving it to soak” routine), you invite issues. For starters, sitting out a room temperature gives any leftover food bits the opportunity to mold. Beyond creating a bacteria breeding ground, you invite pests. Most of them will come to call in the night, which means you have no idea what’s scuttled across your kitchen countertop while you were sleeping.
Forgetting your fridge
A sparkling kitchen is a beautiful sight. But don’t forget about the areas you don’t see when you step back to admire your handiwork. Your fridge, in particular, needs attention. Make it a part of your regular cleaning routine to open those doors, wipe down shelves and check expiration dates. Adding a fridge sweep to your kitchen cleaning checklist can prevent you from discovering that a small lifeform is evolving in the jelly jar that was tucked in the back. It can also help you cut down on food waste. When you know what’s about to expire, you’re more likely to use it. And that saves you money! It’s well worth the extra few minutes.
If any of these bad kitchen cleaning habits sound familiar, don’t worry. We’re right there with you. But 2019 can be our year to get it right and start keeping our kitchens totally clean!