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Cleaning Your Kitchen Cabinets

Aug 17, 2007
The vast majority of homes today have kitchen cabinets for storing food, dishes, and cookware. These come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, materials, and designs. Since they are used so extensively, though, they probably need to be cleaned at least once or twice a year in addition to any wipe-ups of spills or drips. Although most of us probably spare little time for planning our cabinet cleaning, here are a few tips in case you do take time to plan ahead, which will save time over the long run since you will be ready and organized.

1. Set aside a time to clean the kitchen cabinets when you won't be bothered. Ringing phones, fussy toddlers, and uninvited guests or hectic schedules will only put you under pressure to finish the job quickly. Sometimes things come up during a cleaning job of this size, so give yourself plenty of time and space to manage this task without interruption. Turn off the cell, don't answer the door, and keep a snack handy so you won't have to cook anything.

2. Organize your materials. Depending on your housecleaning style, you may want to assemble a clean sponge or cloth, a bucket of warm water mixed with a small amount of mild detergent, a wire brush for stubborn stains, and clean shelf paper. Keep a trashcan handy so you can easily discard outdated or unused items.

3. Start with the top cabinet shelves. Take everything out and set items on the counter or the table where you can sort them. If necessary, use the wire brush to loosen dried spills or clingy crumbs. Then wipe away all debris, using a damp cloth or your hand to gather the crumbs. Use the cloth or sponge that has been dipped in your soapy water mixture to wipe out the shelf, top and bottom, as well as the sides and front of the cabinet. Keep the cabinet doors open and allow the area to fully air-dry. In fact, you may want to open your kitchen windows or run the ceiling fan or air conditioner to circulate air throughout the kitchen and cabinets for a fresher feeling.

4. While the cabinets dry, sort the items set out on the counter or table. Check expiration dates and discard those that are no longer good. Do the same for products that have set open too long or have remained unused for several months. Wipe off any trickles or stains on containers that you wish to keep, such as syrup or oil bottles. If you find an excess of certain products or items you don't need or won't use, set these apart as a donation to the local food kitchen or homeless shelter.

5. When the cabinet shelf is fully dry, put down shelf paper or newspaper if desired. Then return the food items to the shelves, placing the largest or little-used items in the back. Do the same for each kitchen cabinet. When you get to those containing dishes and pots instead of food, inspect each item for chips, cracks, or other signs that this item should not be used any longer or that it requires repair.

Keeping your cabinets clean will discourage insect infestations and dust accumulation, helping to keep food products and cooking utensils clean and wholesome.
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