Spring is here. Time to clean! As part of our Northwest Bloggers Spring Cleaning Bash, I am attacking my long neglected kitchen. When we bought our house a couple of years ago, we were fortunate that it came with things like a stove and a dishwasher. What was unfortunate was that they were pretty dirty. Cleaning up someone else’s old leftover kitchen goo is not a task one looks forward to, which is probably why I put it off for so long. I also hate cleaning with strong chemicals like oven cleaners, which is another reason why it didn’t get done. Let me rephrase that, I did sorta, kinda clean it, but a deep clean never took place. When this Northwest Bloggers Spring Cleaning Bash came along, I knew what needed to be done. I must clean my kitchen using DIY Cleaning Solutions . So off I went to Pinterest to learn everything I needed to know about cleaning with baking soda, vinegar, lemon and other things…
The first and least threatening of the tasks in my kitchen was the sink. Everyone loves to have a nice, clean, shiny sink. Right? Mine was pretty dull looking and had some rust stains. After looking through a few pins on Pinterest, it looked as though baking soda, vinegar, lemon and elbow grease were the way to go. I was inspired by this post with the method I was going to try.
Well, if your sink is already pretty clean to begin with I would agree that these items will work, but I had some old rust stains on mine like the one pictured above. I tried the baking soda and vinegar first, but the rust wouldn’t come off. It was time to call in the big guns.
So yes, I almost immediately turned from natural products and went for the Bar Keepers Friend. What can I say, it works! And, it doesn’t cost a whole lot for a bottle at Lowe’s. It was less than $3, if I remember right.
As you can see, it took the rust right off. No problem. Now I can use baking soda, vinegar and lemon from here on out to keep it nice and shiny.
Thrifty tip: Make your own Drano to cut the grease and keep your pipes flowing smoothly. I do this once a month.
It’s kind of ironic that dishwashers, that clean your dishes get dirty, but they do. Anytime you have water going through something repeatedly you risk the chance of getting mold, like in your shower. Dishwashers are prime targets for attracting mildew and mold. You also want to keep them clean so they will run properly.
I know what you’re thinking right now. The before and after pictures don’t look much different. Don’t let the image fool you, there is a huge difference between these two pictures. I think the bottom rack in the before picture is hiding alot of the problem area. I was inspired by this post to clean the dishwasher and I followed her instructions as closely as possible. Here are the steps to follow:
- The dishwasher should be totally empty at this point. Take out the bottom rack and feel around the bottom for bits of plastic, or other things that may be lurking. Wear gloves as there might be glass or other sharp objects down there. If your filter comes out, you can take it out and check it to see if it needs cleaned. Mine wouldn’t come out, or at least I couldn’t figure out how to get it out. Put the bottom rack back in when you are done.
- Fill a dishwasher safe cup with white vinegar and put it in the top rack. Run the dishwasher through a full cycle.
- Sprinkle one cup of baking soda on the bottom and run again on the short cycle on the hottest setting. If you have mildew problems, you can add 1/2 cup – 1 cup of bleach to the bottom. That’s what I did. NOTE: DO NOT USE BLEACH IN YOUR DISHWASHER IF YOU HAVE A STAINLESS STEEL INTERIOR).
- You may be done at this point, if it looks clean, but if you have remaining gunk after both cycles have ended, you can scrub the problem areas with a scrubber or an old toothbrush. It should come right off. Run a rinse cycle and you should be good to go.
Thrifty tip: Fill your Rinse Aid holder with white vinegar. It works better than actual rinse aid, in my opinion and it’s cheaper too.
While I was immensely grateful that our house came with a stove, I was afraid to clean what was lurking inside. I don’t know what year it was purchased, but it had caked on, baked on crust that I have not been in the mood to deal with. The pictures don’t quite do it justice. It was gnarly! I did not want to use oven cleaner, so I looked for another way. I was inspired by this post to try baking soda and some other items to make a concoction that was supposed to cut through the nasty stuff with ease.
But before I started on that, I took out the oven racks, placed them in a garbage bag and poured about 1/2 cup of ammonia in it. I tied it up and took it outside to brew overnight. (Plan to use the stove top burners for dinner or get takeout if you do this.) Ammonia does stink like pee, so just be warned. And never, ever, ever mix ammonia and bleach together! The ammonia doesn’t need to soak the racks, but it somehow works to de-junk the racks without touching them. It must be the smell. Blah. I took them out the next day and washed them in the tub. I held my breath and used a scrubby sponge on it and the gunk just fell right off.
Next came the inside of the oven. For this you will want to mix up 5 T baking soda, 5 drops of Dawn and 4 T vinegar. Then mix into a paste. The vinegar will make it foam a little. Spread all around the inside of your oven and on the door. Then prepare to scrub your arms off. You can let it sit for a few minutes, but really, I don’t think this does a whole lot. The power is in the scrubbing. I had to use this mixture twice over and probably could have done another round, but eh. My arms and fingers were hurting after two times.
You can use half a lemon with a few drops of Dawn soap on it for some extra cleaning power.
After you’ve scrubbed it to the best of your ability, it’s time to clean up. Wipe up all the junk with a cloth and water. I kept a water bucket nearby so I could easily rinse it. The baking soda may leave some white streaks when it dries, but just go over it with a wet cloth and it should go away.
As you can see, this mixture did work pretty well. There was still a bit of baked on stuff, but it’s nothing I can’t live with. The gunk you see on the glass is actually on the inside. Some of you might be able to use this trick to get the inside of the glass clean, but my stove isn’t made that way.
All in all, I was pretty happy with this method. The only harsh smell was the ammonia and that was for a very miniscule amount of time. I do believe I will keep doing it this way for the rest of my life.
The Oven Vent Filter and Stove Hood
The underside of the stove hood is some place you don’t look at very often and that’s probably good because it’s one of the grossest places. All the grease from the stove top gets sucked up into a little fan and it just kind of coats the area. I had never attempted to clean the oven vent filter because I didn’t know how easy it was, until I saw this post. This method is so simple and effective, I dare say it will change your life. No more greasy oven vent filters for you.
This is the most exciting to me of everything I cleaned because it was the easiest thing in the world. There was no effort required on my part and that makes me happy. Here’s what you need to do:
- Get the biggest pot you have and fill it with water. Turn it up to high heat and bring it to a boil.
- Once the water is boiling, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda. It will make the water fizz, so pour very slowly.
- Take your vent filter and put as much of it as you can in the boiling water. Let it boil for a few minutes.
- Next, use some sort of tongs to lift the filter out to turn it to the other side. The filter will be hot, so make sure you don’t touch it. At this point, you should be amazed by the half clean, half dirty filter.
- After a few more minutes of boiling, you should be set to take out the filter. You can rinse it under the sink for another minute until the water runs clear.
- Stand the filter up somewhere while it dries.
- Once you’re done with that, the underside of your stove hood should have alot of condensation built up from the boiling water. Wipe this down with a rag until it’s clean. It should all just wipe right off.
Ok, so this is totally gross, but this was the water that was left in the pot after I washed the filter. If your water looks like this, you will want to dump it outside, not down the sink. The pot should come clean with Dawn soap and water.
The Stove Top
Next came the top of the stove. The biggest problem I was facing here were the metal rings. Ugh.
I decided to go the ammonia route again, since it worked so well with the oven racks. This time I just used a large ziploc (one ring per bag) and poured a bit of ammonia in. Once they were sealed they went outside overnight.
Next, I wiped down the whole top of the stove and then lifted up the hood and cleaned under the burner area. It’s kind of like working on a car, huh? Just use the same baking soda concoction you used inside the oven. It’s the same type of surface.
Then I decided to get the top of the stove clean, the knobs and such. I had never taken them off before and it was obvious that no one probably ever had. It was all so greasy. At this point, I had used up two boxes of baking soda from the previous tasks, so I was fresh out. I didn’t want to run to the store, so I used plain ol’ white vinegar. I rubbed it on each knob and the length of the stove where the knobs were and lo and behold the grease came off. It was actually pretty sparkly when I was done.
The next day, when I pulled out the rings and scrubbed them slightly, they came pretty clean. They probably could have sat longer to get cleaner, but I wanted to cook with the stove top. I decided they were clean enough since the part of the ring that is exposed looks new.
Here is the finished stove in all of it’s glory. It was so clean I could see my reflection. Yeah!
I did a bit more than I could show you in this post, seeing as how it’s already so long, but that should be enough to get you started on a week long kitchen cleaning rampage. Don’t forget to check out the other posts in the NW Bloggers Spring Cleaning Bash. These will help motivate you to get cleaning in other areas of your house too. Happy cleaning!
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