Kitchen lovers, it’s that time of year again. Get ready to savour the spotless happy place that will be your kitchen after these cost-effective, all-natural spring cleaning tips. Chemical-free spring cleaning tips and tricks made so easy, you wish you’d done them sooner.
1. Stainless steel: Put a bit of vinegar on it
Vinegar is acidic so it’s perfect to use anywhere where you want to get rid of smears and stains. Clean stainless steel by spraying distilled white vinegar mixed with equal parts of water. It’ll wipe out greasy surfaces, fingerprints and reduce limescale in no time, leaving you with shiny taps and mirrors.
You can also use it to get rid of the damp smell on clothes from your washing machine. With no clothes in the machine, pour half a mug of distilled white vinegar where fabric conditioner goes in, set it on a run at 90°C and follow up with a rinse. Just don’t reach for the balsamic .
2. Burnt pans: Cake them in bicarb
…or use lemon halves to brighten up copper pans. Photo: Natalé Towell.
Sodium bicarbonate is a mild alkali and that can cause dirt and grease to dissolve easily in water. Save the outside of burned pans by covering the offending area with a thick layer of bicarbonate of soda and leaving it overnight. The brown bits should wipe off and use a scourer if there’s a bit of resistance.
For the inside of pans, try adding some water to the bicarb, heating the pan briefly with the solution in it and leaving it for 24 hours. Whilst suitable for stainless steel, cast-iron and non-stick pans, don’t do this on aluminium. For aluminium pans you can remove water tide marks by boiling water with sliced apple, rhubarb or lemon peel. For tough stains, boil three parts vinegar to one part water. To brighten up copper pan, use lemon halves dipped in salt or baking powder.
3. Ovens: Don’t reach for oven cleaner…
Who knew oven envy was a thing…
Reach for the bicarb (again) to degrease your oven. Not only will you avoid harsh chemicals, but you’ll also resist the need to invest in a biohazard suit.
Spread a paste of bicarb and water all over the inside surfaces of your oven, being careful to avoid the heating elements. Leave it overnight and wipe it all off with a damp cloth. You’ll probably need to give it a little elbow grease and spray some distilled white vinegar onto any soda residues. This will get it to gently foam up and make it easy to wipe away anything left.
4. High surfaces: Do the cloth trick
Baffled by how the top of cupboards get so dusty? Even more baffled by how to clean them? Lay a piece of cloth over the surface and when it comes to cleaning time, just carefully remove it, give it a shake outside and a wash.
Gone are the perilous days of scrubbing an area that you can’t really see properly and no one else will ever see, making the whole escapade feel like a total waste of time…
5. Larder: Fall in love with jars
Go on, give good kilner. Photo: Helen Cathcart.
Storing dry goods such as rice, pasta and lentils needn’t be a matter of shoving bags into an already jam-packed giant Tupperware. Show off your staples by investing in a few large kilner jars and artfully displaying them on a shelf.
No, this is not just a thing for other people with fancy kitchens. Not only will you be able to easily see what you’ve got in your larder, it’ll urge you to actually use it.
Pop a label on with the before before date and basic cooking instructions. Remember to do a little stock rotation too, i.e. decant what’s already in there first before adding the new stuff.
6. Crockery: If it’s chipped, chuck it
Chipped? Chuck it. It’s the crockery rule.
Unless you have a real attachment to something – we’re talking about the mug that got you through university – get rid of any chipped crockery (and invest in some super-tough Duralex glasses).
They’re both a breeding ground for unwanted bacteria and a weak point that could lead to breakage mid-slurp. Sort through your cupboards and remove them from your kitchen. Go on, you can do it.
7. Spices and frozen foods: Be ruthless
If you haven’t seen it in a year, it’s time to get rid.
Spices lose their flavour over time. If you bought a giant pack of garam masala when travelling around Kerala in 2012 and it’s still in your kitchen, now’s the time to bin it.
Same goes for old mystery meats, stews and bread in your freezer over a year old. Sounds tough, but if you haven’t used by now, chances are you never will. Keep frozen ground meats for up to four months and frozen cooked meat up for to three months.
Don’t forget: after you’ve taken a lazy afternoon to give these all-natural spring cleaning ideas a go, pour yourself a much deserved cup of tea / coffee / negroni and enjoy the fruits of your low-labour efforts.
Replenish your larder and pick up essential eco cleaning products at farmdrop.com.
This article was originally published in March 2018 and has since been updated.