The kitchen can be one of the dirtiest, nastiest spots in the home, with crumbs, meat juices, grease, and splashes all contributing to a perfect storm of filth. Every kitchen needs a regular deep cleaning, but even the most diligent scrubbers forget a spot or two from time to time. Here are 10 places people tend to—but shouldn't—ignore when cleaning the kitchen.
Inside the Knife Block
Your knife block is home to some of your most precious kitchen tools, and it’s also a haven for bacteria and grime. But it can be tough to clean inside those tiny slits. To get in there, first shake the block upside-down to dislodge any loose crumbs. Next, wash the block with hot, soapy water. Use a small brush to catch the particles stuck inside the slots. Once you’re done cleaning, allow the block to dry thoroughly to prevent bacterial growth.
Inside the Toaster
Over time your toaster accumulates debris that can reduce its performance and attract pests. But because all those crumbs are hidden from view, it’s easy to forget to clean this often-used appliance. Empty the built-in crumb tray (if there is one) regularly, and shake the unit upside-down over the trash can or sink. From time to time, use a brush to dislodge stubborn bits. Remember: Always unplug your toaster before cleaning, and never submerge it in water.
Around and Beneath the Oven
The space around and beneath your oven is full of more than just dust bunnies. There are probably also pieces of desiccated food and vestiges of dry, crusted spills surrounding and underneath the appliance. To get at the area beneath the appliance, cleaning company Merry Maids suggests removing the storage or warming drawer. Why bother cleaning these areas? Dust, mold, and pests are a concern, especially when there are bits of food stuck under the oven.
Related: 15 Cleaning Mistakes Everyone Makes
Under and on Top of the Range Hood
Most people aren’t tall enough to notice the grime that builds up on top of their range hood, but both the top and the underside of this grease magnet need a thorough scrubbing once in a while. It’ll take more than a quick wipe to get a range hood clean, but the heavy buildup will usually succumb to a grease-fighting dish soap. Don’t forget to clean the filter once in a while too.
Inside the Microwave
You can’t ignore the inside of your microwave forever—even if that’s how it works at the office. Get rid of the stink and grime by filling a microwave-safe bowl with water and lemon juice, putting it in the appliance, and running it on high for about two minutes. The steam created by the heated water will soften baked-on gunk, making it easier to wipe away. Just keep in mind that the longer you wait between cleanings, the harder it will be to get rid of set-in stains.
Related: How to Clean a Microwave
Because cleaning high cabinets generally requires a step stool or ladder and a healthy chunk of time, they often get ignored during regular cleaning rounds. Keep dirt under control by using a duster with an extendable handle for occasional touch-ups, and grab a step stool every so often to give those upper cabinet doors a good scrub.
The toe kick, also known as the toe space, is the recessed area under the cabinets that allows you to position yourself comfortably while working at the counter. This area is a hiding place for dust bunnies and an occasional landing spot for spills, but it's rarely targeted in an everyday kitchen cleanup. To give this spot a thorough scrubbing, you'll need to get on your knees, but the good news is, you don't have to do this too often.
Cleaning inside cabinets requires planning and effort, which is why most people avoid this annoying chore. But it still has to be done occasionally: Even though cabinets stay closed most of the time, crumbs and dust invariably find their way inside. Block off some time to get this done; it'a a good chore to save for a rainy day. Remove all items from the cabinets, set them aside, and then wipe down the shelves and interiors. If shelf liners or organizational accessories are cracked, worn, or stained, consider replacing them.
The cold depths of your freezer are an unlikely place for messes, but they do happen. Spills freeze to the interior, and then crumbs stick to the frozen slop, so it's a good idea to give your freezer a good cleaning a few times a year. Start by removing everything from the freezer. Take this opportunity to assess the contents, throwing away anything that's expired or unidentifiable. Then wash out the interior of the freezer, following the manufacturer's instructions.
Your cutlery drawer is another place that’s full of sneaky crumbs. To clean it, take out all the cutlery as well as any removable utensil trays. Wash removable trays with a damp cloth and gentle dish soap. Suck up any wayward debris in the drawer using a handheld vacuum, and wipe out the inside of the drawer with a disinfectant wipe or microfiber cloth.
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