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The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Spring Cleaning

The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Spring Cleaning

Start the season right by spring cleaning out your kitchen

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Spring is here, which gives you the perfect excuse to completely clean out your kitchen.

Spring is the perfect time of year for a deep clean of the entire house. It’s a great time to open the windows and clean out everything that has piled up in the kitchen during the long winter. Plus, you’ll be ready for the spring holiday brunches and family get-togethers that always seem to pop up at the last minute.

Click here to see The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Spring Cleaning (Slideshow)

While it’s good to purge a bit during spring cleaning (you probably won’t need that green ketchup you bought before it was discontinued in 2006), most of the pantry staples you stocked over the winter are totally useable. At mealtime, incorporate spring produce that’s starting to pop up in grocery stores and farmers markets across the country with the dry goods you have on hand like pasta, quinoa, and beans. Serve up quinoa with grilled ramps or make savory oatmeal with corn and tomatoes.

The pantry and the fridge are two great places to start, but take your spring cleaning to the next level and clean your cleaning utensils (they need loving too!) before you hit all of those easily forgotten germy spots in the house, like the garbage disposal and the dishwasher.

A clean fridge is important for knowing what you have on hand. Start this season with a clean fridge and keep it organized all year long; you’ll waste less if you keep track of what you buy and how old everything is.

Warm weather may not be upon us yet, but you can get ready for spring with a clean and organized kitchen with some useful cleaning tips from Taste of Home.

Deep Clean

Take everything out of your fridge and freezer and give the whole thing (ice trays, shelved, and drawers included) a deep clean. Try out natural products, they can actually kill more odors than chemicals. This will also give you the chance to take stock of what you have and start fresh with a fridge that doesn’t smell like takeout from three months ago.

Follow the FIFO rule (First In, First Out)

In both your pantry and your fridge, place newer items behind older foods so that you use the older food first. An organized refrigerator can save you lots of money.


The Only Collection of Spring Cleaning Printables You’ll Ever Need

Getting ready for Spring Cleaning? The task can seem daunting, to say the least, when you have a house coated in Winter dust and grime. But you have to start somewhere! Whether you’re a regular Mr. Clean or just tidy up because you have to, we’ve got your back. Check out our collection of Spring Cleaning printables to get you cleaning.


How Do You Spring Clean Fast?

Use the 6 printable checklists in this guide to focus on parts of your home that need special attention. Learn cleaning hacks from the pros! Do you have a certain room that you want to tackle? Then use this guide to give you cleaning tips that you might not have thought of.

When Should You Do Spring Cleaning?

As the cold winter slowly creeps into warmer days this annual cleaning and organization ritual starts to kick in. You start to get stir crazy from being in the house all winter so not is the perfect time to get up and start cleaning. Do you have kids? Check out “Spring Cleaning with Kids” and get your free printable checklist to help you out. Get the kids involved!!


Spring Clean Your Kitchen: What to Toss and What to Keep

Can you remember how long you've had that ketchup or mustard in your fridge? Didn't think so. It's probably way past due to toss! To keep your fridge and pantry fresh, use my easy guide to spring clean your fridge. It'll help you know what you need to toss, what you can keep and what you can stock up on.

Condiments: That date on the side of the jar tells you how long the product will stay good if it remains unopened. Once you open it however, it's a different story. Most unopened condiments like mayo, mustard, ketchup, and salad dressing stay fresh for six months or more. Once opened, you should toss them after three months to prevent them from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria. Now that you know that, you should rethink that jumbo bottle of dressing next time you're at the grocery store!

  • Found some yogurt in the back of your fridge and wondering if it's still safe to eat? Don't just rely on smelling it or looking for mold to decide. For single serving containers that are unopened, check the date on the container. For larger, previously opened containers of yogurt and sour cream, you should usually toss them after being opened for two weeks.
  • For cheese, it depends on the type, but most cheeses on average will last about two months unopened in the fridge or three weeks on average if it has been opened.
  • Butter should only be stored in the fridge for three months, but don't feel pressured to use it all now -- you can store unopened sticks of butter in the freezer for up to a year.
  • Eggs actually stay fresh past the best-by date if they are kept in the fridge at 40 degrees F. The date actually indicates when they will change grades, which has more to do with the shape of the yolk than it does with spoilage (a grade A yolk stands up from the white a grade B yolk is flatter, more flush with the white). In general, eggs will keep two to five weeks after you buy them.
  • Lunch meat should generally be used four to five days after opening. Raw meats like chicken breasts, ground meat or pork should be used or frozen within a week of purchase.
  • Fish should be used or frozen within two days of purchase. All of the above should be kept refrigerated or frozen at all times.

Leftovers: Leftovers make great lunches and easy dinners for busy nights, but if you have leftovers from Monday's dinner can you eat them on Friday night? In most cases, yes. Leftover dishes stored in an airtight container in the fridge can last four to five days.

And now that you've cleaned out your fridge, here are two great things to stock up on:

Frozen fruit: As the weather gets warmer, you will probably be craving something cold and sweet. Frozen fruit like berries will keep for about a year in the freezer, so it's perfect to stock up on now so that all summer long, you will have easy access to delicious fruit to throw into a smoothie, use as a topping for yogurt or eat as-is for a snack.

Nuts: By now you know that nuts are a superfood, so including them in your daily diet is a great thing. Buying a large bag will allow you to do that at a good price. However, if you've been shying away for buying nuts in bulk because you're afraid they won't keep, you'll be glad to know that storing nuts in the refrigerator will extend their shelf life from three months in your pantry to six months in your fridge. Put them in the freezer, and they'll last even longer -- up to two years!


How to clean the kitchen sink and kitchen sink drain

Thoroughly scrub the inside and outer edges of your sink. Don't forget to clean the faucet. Next, empty the drain catch. You can use an enzyme drain-cleaning product to clean kitchen sink drains, but alternatively, you can just pour a cup of white vinegar down the drain, let it sit for 30 minutes, and then rinse with about 2 quarts of very hot water. Use an old toothbrush to scrub the splash guard on the garbage disposal.


Clean the Cleaners

The last thing any of us think to clean is tools themselves. Sterilize your sponges by putting them in a sterilization cycle in the dishwasher. Pour one part white vinegar, sprinkle baking soda for a solution that will make your washing machine as good as new.

Purchase dish brushes, gloves, and lint rollers from the dollar store. Don&rsquot forget to empty the vacuum cleaner. The tools we use to clean the house must also be clean to limit the spread of dirt and germs.

The key to a successful spring cleaning is leaving no stone unturned. But remember to take your time, and your house will feel like new in no time.


Looking for ways to become a more confident cook at home? Our food editors are here to help. Each week, we're shining a spotlight on the exciting things happening in the Martha Stewart test kitchen. Our editors will share their best cooking tips, favorite products, new ideas, and more in our weekly series, Out of the Kitchen.

Spring is just a few weeks away, which means that our food editors can't wait to get their hands on the fresh leeks, asparagus, rhubarb, artichokes, carrots, and peas that are at their peak starting in late March. Unlike the comforting casseroles and stews we love in winter, spring fare means crisp salads, cool soups, some grilling, and lots of fruity desserts. From dinner recipes and basic vegetable side dishes that will feed the whole family to some extra-special desserts (sheet cakes and crumb cakes), these recipes are the epitome of the very best flavors found in spring.

For an ingredient like rhubarb, stock up now and bake tarts, cakes, or Rhubarb-Buckwheat Scones, which are pictured here, all season long. This particular recipe calls for six ounces of diced rhubarb and buckwheat flour&mdashthe combination of the dark nutty flour and the red hue and tart flavor from rhubarb instantly perk up this classic teatime treat. It's no secret that rhubarb and strawberry are a match made in heaven. Make a classic pie filling using these two brightly hued produce items mixed with cornstarch for thickness and sugar for sweetness. It's exactly what we want to eat when spring arrives.

Asparagus offers so many possibilities, too. Serve it as a simple side dish, mix it into pasta, layer it in a cheesy potato gratin, or whir it into a cool, vibrant soup. We also love mixing asparagus into a rich, buttery pasta recipe as a way to give children a healthy dose of greens in a family-friendly format. As for peas, while you can buy frozen unshelled English peas anytime, anywhere, there's something extra-special about the fresh varieties that you'll find at the farmers' market or in your grocery store's produce section spring, such as sugar snap peas, shelled English peas, and snow peas. Mix snow peas into stir-fry or twirl unshelled fresh peas into an English-style spaghetti carbonara for dinner.

Ahead, we're sharing the spring recipes that our food editors are looking forward to cooking and baking as soon as the snow melts and the robins sing.


Spring Cleaning Kitchen Tips and Ideas

The kitchen is the center of most homes, making it the most heavily trafficked room and a target for dust, grime and general buildup. Kick off spring cleaning by zeroing in on basic zones for a better kitchen.

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young woman wearing kitchen gloves cleaning the gas stove

Photo by: George Doyle ©(c) George Doyle

George Doyle, (c) George Doyle

The Sink: Fill your sink with hot soapy water and pour in 1 cup bleach. Let stand for about an hour, then empty and scrub clean using a paste made from water and baking soda. Rinse well.

The Countertops: Use a diluted solution of water and mild dish soap to wipe clean counters. For a natural disinfectant, fill a spray bottle with a solution of 1 tablespoon hydrogen peroxide to 1 cup water spray down the surface and wipe clean. Different combinations of baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide can be used to make stain-removing cleaning solutions and pastes, but be sure to look into what works for your countertop as the acidic or abrasive nature of homemade cleaning solutions may damage some surfaces. Be aware that there will be a reaction between the vinegar and baking soda.

The Cabinets: Remove everything from inside and begin grouping like items on the kitchen floor. Discard any junk items, such as a lid without a matching container or pot. Set aside any unwanted or extra kitchen tools that may be donated. Use cleaning wipes for cabinet interiors and doors use a skewer or toothpick with a cloth wrapped around one end to poke clean any corners and edges. Wash any items that need it. Assess your cabinet inventory and designate areas for storage, assigning spaces within reach for everyday items. Return all items to the cabinet.

The Refrigerator: Remove everything from inside and begin grouping like items on the kitchen floor. Discard any expired or suspect foods, like a condiment jar that has been untouched for years. Wash any removable parts, paying special attention to any wheels or grooves that may require an extra scrubbing using a small synthetic brush, such as a toothbrush. Wipe down the walls with a solution of 1 tablespoon baking soda to 1 quart water. Pop open a new box of baking soda and place inside to remove odors. Rinse or wipe down any grimy jars or containers before returning all items to the refrigerator.

The Appliances: Clean every surface from the inside of the microwave to the stovetop range using an appropriate cleaner. Experiment with all-natural cleaning solutions made using baking soda, vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Baking soda made into a paste with some water can be left overnight on tough oven stains and scraped away once dry. Both vinegar and hydrogen peroxide work well as disinfectants and mild all-purpose cleaners when used together, their disinfecting power increases. Keep a toothbrush handy to scrub away at any tough spots without harming the surface.

The Pantry: Remove everything from inside and begin grouping like items on the kitchen floor. Discard any expired or suspect foods, like bulging canned goods or condiment packets from a forgotten era. Set aside any unwanted, unopened foods that may be donated to a food bank. Use cleaning wipes for shelves use a skewer or toothpick with a cloth wrapped around one end to poke clean any corners and edges. Wipe down or rinse items with dirtied exteriors, such as honey jars. Assess your inventory and designate areas for storage, assigning spaces within reach for everyday items. Return all items to the pantry.

The Floors: Sweep the kitchen floors first, paying special attention to recessed areas such as the space beneath the stove. Follow by mopping using a solution of equal parts vinegar and hot water. The vinegar acts as a natural disinfectant and odor remover, and its scent will dissipate as it dries.


Cabinets

To keep things as efficient as possible, it is best to work from the top of your kitchen to the bottom. Start by removing everything from your cabinets. Yes, everything. Give all sides of the shelves and doors a thorough wipe, use a toothpick with a cloth around one end to get into the edges. Throw away any items that are no longer useful to you such as containers without a lid or lids without a container. Set aside extra or unwanted kitchen tools for donating. Organize like pots and pans together and assign each a section in the cabinet, possibly based on how often you use each. Place everyday items within easy reach to prevent cluttering.


Spring Cleaning Checklist Part 3: The Clean

You’ve bought your products, created your priority list, and have your music blasting. Let the cleaning begin! Keep this spring cleaning checklist with you as you move from room to room, and be sure to cross off each item before moving forward.

The kitchen, also known as the heart of the home, goes through a lot of wear and tear. From expired food, to gnat infested cabinets, this room deserves a thorough scrub down.

  • Remove the contents of every cabinet and drawer. Wipe down both the inside and outside of each space with detergent and a warm cloth. Organize and replace items back in their designated spaces.
  • Sharpen knives.
  • Deep clean cutting boards.
  • Remove crumbs from toaster.
  • Clean microwave and stove.
  • Shine silverware
  • Dust any displayed china.
  • Dust light fixtures, blinds, ceiling fans, and window sills.
  • Scrub the stove.
  • Sweep and mop floors.
  • Wipe down counters
  • De-grease backsplash
  • Shine faucet, sink, and clean the drain.
  • Reseal grout if necessary.

Pro Tip: Start from the top and work your way down to avoid having to re-mop floors as a result of settling dust.

The Bathrooms
Because so much moisture is trapped in your bathroom on a daily basis, the room is a breeding ground for mold. Not to fear, your floor to ceiling clean will stop mold growth in its tracks.

  • Scrub mirror with glass cleaner.
  • Remove all items from vanity and scrub insides with detergent.
  • Replace items back in vanity in an organized fashion and discard expired medicines and products.
  • Clean toilet bowl
  • Remove lid and set from toilet to scrub around seat bolts.
  • Spray anti-mold cleaning agent on shower doors and walls.
  • Wax bathtub.
  • Shine faucets.
  • Dust vent covers.
  • Clear sink and shower drain.
  • Clean window sills.
  • Sweep and mop floors.
  • Wash towels and bathmat in hot water.

Pro Tip: Keep a squeegee in your shower year round to prevent mold growth and mineral deposit build-up to simplify next year’s spring cleaning.

The Bedrooms
From the master bedroom where you spend a majority of your time to the guest room that receives little to no attention, bedrooms collect dust mites and deserve a full overhaul.

  • For each drawer: remove items, dust, replace drawer liner, organize items and return nicely to their dedicated spaces.
  • Donate items you no longer use.
  • Launder bedding in hot water.
  • Sprinkle baking soda on uncovered mattress, wait, and vacuum.
  • Air out mattress pad.
  • Vacuum under bed and behind dressers.
  • Clean out closets.

Pro Tip: If you are uncomfortable using harsh cleaning products in your most intimate spaces, consider going “au naturel” with a DIY cleaner. A lemon juice and salt scrub or a vinegar and water mixture will get the job done.

  • Open windows
  • Vacuum dust from baseboards and scrub trim.
  • Vacuum spider webs from corners.
  • Deep clean carpets and rugs, refinish hardwood floors, and shine tile or linoleum surfaces.
  • Dust window screens.
  • Vacuum, sweep, mop (In that order).
  • Spot clean walls.
  • Dust art and light fixtures.
  • Sweep porch.
  • Replace welcome mat.
  • Clean upholstered furnishings.
  • Ensure fire safety by changing the batteries in smoke detectors.

Pro Tip: As you clean, make a list of things you notice you need or that need to be fixed (i.e. out of flour or a chip in the banister). Don’t look at this list until you have completed your entire spring cleaning.

Get Started Now!

Use this spring cleaning checklist to make your home look as stunning as the day you purchased it. Whether you plan to sell or simply want to enjoy a clean home, springtime is the perfect season to get the job done.