Moving provided me with an opportunity for a huge clean out, and in moving IN, I found ( too) I needed to clean and scrub to rid the new place of that closed in unlived-in, unloved smell and flavour. So no streaky windows or manky microwave.
Hints: Microwave: place a small bowl half filled with water inside and a squeeze of dishwashing liquid. Coo on high for 2 minutes and leave sit for 5. The water steams the inside and loosens anything which may have spilled and dried. You may then wipe it clean without any need to scrub or scrape. Fridge: Wipe the rubber seal thoroughly. Mix quarter cup of vinegar, 2 tbs of bicarb soda and one litre of water. The solution gets rids of any stains and the bicarb will suck out odour. In fact I pick up a small packet of bicarb, open it and tuck onto the back of any shelf for that reason!! I also wipe the fridge with vanilla essence at the end. I do love the smell of vanilla. Dishwasher: My children have often claimed that I had so many children JUST so I wouldn’t need a dishwasher but we do have a mechanical one, that we largely only use if the Family Zoo descends or we have a crowd. Otherwise it is just as easy to wash up as we go. We hae a double sink, after all – for washing and rinsing!! But I often take all the racks out of the dishwasher and give them a good scrub with warm soapy water. I fill one of the detergent holder with normal dishwashing agent and the other with Tang powdered drink concentrate ( this is a great trick to help it smell fresh!!) Then I run the empty dishwasher through a normal wash cycle. Clean up cheat sheet: Bin: Clean once a week with half a cup bleach and boiling water; Dishwasher: Once a month as listed; Oven – once a month sprinkle a small packed of baking soda on bottom of oven and door and cover with wet newspaper. Leave overnight and wipe away next day for a sparkling oven; Sink: Once a week – add half a cup of baking powder to the drain, then add half a cup of white vinegar. Leave a few minutes then add eight cups of boiling water; Fridge- cull and clean once a fortnight.
Kitchen Clutter: I am ruthless. I throw out anything hat I do not use or which is old and tatty. I do NOT keep bottles of cleaning bits and pieces with only a smidgeon left. I will open the replacement and add the 1cm left in the older one. I have developed under-he-sink pride!! I line the under the sink shelves with aluminium foil – shiny side up to protect the cupboard from any spills. In cupboards I check all crockery and add any chipped of scarred or cracked or pieces missing their partners to the recycled pile. If they need replacing, then I do this. In the kitchen I keep ONLY things I sue daily. I neatly stash stylish ( but rarely used) breadmakers or other appliances somewhere out of sight.
Clean Itself Kitchen Tips: Flash in the Pan: If you have pots and pan which have fallen victim to dried on and in food, then fill with water and add one sheet of fabric softener and leave to sit overnight. The next day you will easily be able to wipe off baked on bits with cold water and a dishcloth. A Touch of Glass: For cloudy glasses mix equalled parts of water and warmed white vinegar in a bucket before adding glasses and leave for an hour. After that, transfer to a sink full of warm soapy water and clean with a plastic scrubbing brush. Once dry they will be crystal clear. Making Scents: If you want sweet smelling dishes, chopping boards and utensils, as a quarter cup of lemon juice to your rinsing water.
Stock and Store: Pantry: My one rule is that ONCE an item is opened, it MUST be stored in an airtight plastic container. AND THAT IS EVERYTHING!!!! ( flour, sugar and everything up to cereal and biscuits!) By doing this everything will last longer and you will safeguard against weevils and insects. Replace dry ingredients ( flour, coconut) roughly once a month. Sugar can last a few years providing it is kept dry! Always check the use by date of canned goods as well. If any tin is bulging immediately bin it as it is not safe to eat. As for spices, it is better to buy smaller individual quantities rather than blends and store airtight. Spices have an approximate 18 month lifespan and you can refresh them by dry roasting over a medium heat for a few minutes before adding to a dish. Ideas of times:Baking soda and powder – 12 months, Tea bags – 6 months, Coffee – 12 months, Honey and syrups – 12 months, pasta – 12 months, Peanut butter – 6 months, White rice – 2 years. Fridge: Once something has been opened, the same applies – store airtight. Foods from tins needs to be stored in airtight plastic and NOT in the tin. Butter needs to be wrapped tightly or it will begin to take on the flavours of the other foods stored in the fridge. Some nut and truffle oils need to be stored in the refrigerator as well. Freezer: You can probably store food for up to 6 months, but I try not to store things more than a month. I label all food going into the freezer with the date as things tend to get stacked haphazardly and moved around – especially with kids rifling through for goodies they prefer or crave. If storing meat, the packs fromt he supermarket are ideal but if you buy meat fro a butcher, the meat must be wrapped tightly in cling wrap to combat frostbite. Also store coffee and yeast in the freezer to preserve freshness. Nuts, too, should go in the freezer because of their high oil content and can turn rancid if stored in the pantry for too long. Bread too should be frozen unless your family and you go through an entire loaf a day. Once defrosted, frozen bread has the same texture as fresh bread!!