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Spring Clean Your Kitchen

April 16, 2014

Although we have been experiencing wintry weather (what’s with the snow on the ground this morning?!), spring is technically here! And you know what that means – it’s time to break out the dust rags and mop for the annual deep spring clean.

This post was written by Tiana Yom, MPH, CHES

Cleaning the Refrigerator and Freezer:

  1. Unplug the fridge and freezer or turn the temperature gauge to the “Off” position.
  2. Remove everything from the fridge and freezer; throw out anything that’s expired or spoiled as you go. (Check out this handy chart for refrigerator and freezer storage times.) Then, remove the shelves and compartments; let them come to room temperature on the kitchen counter. Remember to refrigerate perishable foods within two hours to keep you and your family safe from food poisoning.
  3. Wash shelves and compartments in a sink or bathtub full of warm water and mild dish soap (or, go the natural route and use a mixture of vinegar and water). Kitchen sponges are a good tool for the job; use a toothpick or toothbrush to get stubborn gunk out of hard-to-reach crevices. Rinse and let air dry.
  4. While the fridge is empty, use a wet sponge to wipe down all interior and exterior surfaces, taking care to remove any food debris from the rubber molding. Also wipe down any bottles you took out of the fridge, cleaning away any sticky residue.
  5. If your fridge has exposed coils in the back, pull it away from the wall and use a handheld vacuum to clear away any major dust bunnies; take the opportunity to sweep up any debris that has been lurking under the fridge.
  6. Make sure all the shelves are clean and dry before you return them (and the food) to the fridge.

Cleaning the Pantry:

  1. Start with a clean sweep! Completely empty the pantry, otherwise you won’t be able to see what’s actually in there!
  2. Sort and Purge! Once everything is out of the pantry, take an inventory of your supplies and decide what to keep and what to toss. The golden rule is, “if you don’t use it, lose it!” If it’s unopened and hasn’t spoiled, donate it. If it’s open, toss it. Other items that you should toss: dented cans, bags and boxes with rips and tears, spices older than one year, items that are expired, and any bulk food item with an unknown purchase date.
  3. Clean! Before restocking the pantry, make sure you thoroughly clean out the space. Starting with the top shelf, wipe down all surfaces with a warm damp towel and then dry completely.
  4. Organize! Bins, airtight containers, shelf dividers, and under-shelf baskets can help you keep things fresh and in their proper place. Get out your label maker and label different parts of the pantry into categories so you and your family will know where to replace supplies after using them.
  5. Categorize! Group like items together, such as canned goods, condiments, dry grains and pastas, cereals, jarred and boxed tomatoes and sauces, and crackers and snack items. Keeping your pantry organized will make it easier to identify the items you need when heading to the store or making a meal.

Now that the kitchen is all clean, find out what staples you need to restock your pantry, fridge, and freezer!

What are your top spring cleaning tips? 

Image Source: Food is Our Friend

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