Here are tips from Chicago blogger Becky Rapinchuk (Clean Mama) for simple, earthy-friendly ways to keep your kitchen clean.
• For a sparkling sink, keep a glass shaker of baking soda handy. Sprinkle in sink, add a squirt of dish soap and scrub with a sponge. For a fresh scent, add 20 to 30 drops of essential oil to the shaker, stirring to break up clumps.
• Wipe stainless- steel appliances with vinegar and a microfiber cloth. For extra shine, put 1⁄4 teaspoon olive oil on a paper towel and polish in the direction of the grain.
• Becky’s DIY counter spray (1 1⁄2 cups water, 2 tablespoons rubbing alcohol and 1⁄4 teaspoon dish soap) dries quickly and kills germs. Wipe surfaces with a microfiber cloth. Avoid vinegar: It can ruin some finishes.
In a perfect world, you’d wipe down the stove top each night. But in the real world:
• Tackle cooked-on spills with 2 tablespoons warm water and 1 tablespoon baking soda. Mix them, apply to tough stains, then scrub with a sponge or brush before wiping away residue.
• For a quick, odorless alternative to an oven’s self-cleaning function, make a paste of 1⁄2 cup water, 1⁄4 cup baking soda and 1 tablespoon castile soap. Spread all over interior. Wait 15 minutes or longer. Wipe with a sponge and water.
• Run the garbage disposal with ice cubes and cold water to sharpen blades. To eliminate odors, mix 1⁄4 cup lemon juice and 1⁄4 cup baking soda, then pour down drain. Wait five minutes before running warm water.
Tool Kit: Becky’s Faves
Lint Roller Use for pantry messes like spilled granola, or tear off a sheet and wrap around a butter knife to snag crumbs in tight spots like the corners of drawers.
(Left to right)
Multi-Surface Brush This hook-shape Fuller Brush Company model gets under the rubber gasket in the garbage disposal. (So. Much. Gunk.) $14. amazon.com
Deep Clean Brush Set Oxo’s tiny brushes with nylon bristles let you scrub in nooks and crannies on the stove top, kitchen appliances and more. $6 for a set. oxo.com
Pure-Castile Soap Use this multipurpose soap (with coconut and olive oils) instead of petroleum-filled dish soap in Becky’s formulas. Becky mixes castile soap with water to make a foaming hand soap or all-purpose cleaner: “It’s so nontoxic, you can brush your teeth with it.” $18 for 32 ounces. drbronner.com
Microfiber Cloths Buff away fingerprints with a soft cloth that can last up to 300 laundry cycles. Just don’t add fabric softener, and dry on low or medium heat.
Get to know Becky Rapinchuk
Wrote two books about cleaning. Loves castile soap. Hates unloading the dishwasher.