(extracted from Busy Cooks)
Cleaning up the kitchen is part of cooking. Not only is it easier to cook and bake in a clean kitchen, but clean surfaces and storage containers will keep your family healthier and safer.
Make cleaning second nature and you'll save time and money.
* Have a place for everything. It's much easier to use a utensil or appliance, clean it and put it away when it has a home.
* Don't mix ammonia and bleach because it will create toxic fumes.
* Identify spots in your kitchen that accumulate clutter and take a few minutes every day to clear those spots and place objects in their correct homes.
* Try to end each day with a clean, empty kitchen sink. Run the dishwasher before you go to bed and unload it first thing in the morning.
* A sponge is actually a great way to spread germs. You may want to use paper towels instead, discarding them after cleaning each surface, to totally prevent cross-contamination.
* To quickly clean burned food on a pan, add some dish soap and 1/2" of water. Bring to a boil, then let the liquid cool in the pan. The burned food will be easy to remove.
* When food spills over and burns on the oven floor, sprinkle a bit of salt on the mess. The smoke will be reduced and the spill easier to clean after the oven cools.
* To clean your microwave oven, mix together 2 Tbsp. of lemon juice or vinegar and 2 cups of water in a 4 cup glass microwave safe bowl. Microwave on HIGH for two to three minutes. Carefully remove the bowl and wipe the microwave with paper towels. Repeat as necessary.
* To clean sluggish drains, pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain. Add 1/2 cup white vinegar and cover the drain. Let this mixture foam for a few minutes, then pour 8 cups of boiling water down the drain. to flush it. Do not use this combination after using any commercial drain opener or cleaner.
* Put lemon or lime pieces through the garbage disposal every few days for a clean fresh smell.
* Clean your coffee maker every few weeks by filling the water reservoir with equal parts white vinegar and water and putting it through the brew cycle. Then use clean fresh water and repeat the brew cycle to rinse the machine. Repeat with fresh water two more times.
* If you don't have a self-cleaning oven, scrape up any large spills, then spray cleaner inside the oven, close the door and let it sit overnight so the cleaner has time to work.
* To clean a blender, squirt a few drops of liquid soap into it, fill halfway with warm water, cover and blend away the mess. Rinse and repeat if necessary.
MAKE YOUR OWN CLEANERS
* For your own window washing solution, mix 1/3 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol in a 1 quart spray bottle. Fill up with water.
* Dry baking soda cleans chrome perfectly.
* Cream of tartar and water mixed to a paste will clean porcelain.
* A paste of baking soda and water will clean coffee stains.
* Plain liquid Ivory soap mixed with water is one of the best all-purpose cleaners. You can keep this solution in a spray bottle, but only use a bit of soap or the mixture may become too foamy to spray.
* Dissolve 1/4 cup baking soda in 1 quart of warm water for a good general cleaner.
* Clean up spills as they occur so you won't be faced with one huge cleaning session.
* Did you know that you use 20% of your utensils 80% of the time? Any tool or appliance which doesn't get used during a week of cooking should be cleaned and stored to save counter and cupboard space and cleaning time.
* It's easier to clean a grill if you do it after each use. Also oil the grill rack before each use to make cleanup easier.
* Wash as you go. Fill one half of a double sink or a separate waterproof tub with hot soapy water and drop in utensils as you use them. Food won't dry on the utensils and cleanup will be a breeze.
* Once every 7-10 days, remove all the food from your refrigerator, wipe down the inside with warm soapy water, clean all the shelves and trays, then replace the food. As you work, check expiration dates and discard food past those dates. Place an open box of baking soda in the back of the fridge.
* Once a month, remove all the food from your pantry, wipe down with a clean damp cloth, check for spoilage and expiration dates, then replace items in their designated places.