The holidays are a great time to exchange presents, eat delicious food, and spend time with loved ones. But once the excitement has mellowed down, you’ll need to confront the mess that you may have left while preparing for the gathering. In most cases, this will include cleaning up your kitchen.
After cooking for your family and guests, you’ll probably have a pile of dirty dishes and cookware in the sink. Also, you’ll need to wipe down your counters and kitchen appliances to remove any grease and spills from cooking delicious holiday foods like Filipino-style spaghetti, lumpiang shanghai, kaldereta, and embutido. It may be tempting to put off this chore, but it’s best to include kitchen cleanup as part of your post-holiday schedule before these messes become tough stains.
Whether you’re cleaning a large appliance like your fridge or something small like a toaster, here are five tips for getting the kitchen clean after the holiday season:
Use a Food-Safe Cleaning Solution
Before you store leftover holiday foods in your fridge or freezer, give your appliances a good cleaning. This will help the contents look tidy and keep odors at bay. When cleaning your fridge or any kitchen appliances, make sure you’re using a food-safe cleaner. You can also use a homemade mixture of equal parts white distilled vinegar and water. Put this solution in a spray bottle and use it to sanitize the interiors and door handles of your fridge.
While spot cleaning your fridge is a quick way to restore your appliance after the holidays, adding a deep clean to your post-holiday schedule can be beneficial too. It helps you declutter your fridge and make sure all its contents are fresh and safe to eat. Start by removing all the contents of the fridge, including the drawers and shelves. Clean all the surfaces, including the door gasket, with warm, soapy water. Use a clean, damp washcloth to remove any suds. Then, wipe it dry.
Keep a Cooler on Standby
Whenever you’re cleaning your freezer or fridge, have a cooler on standby. This way, you have somewhere cool to store all your food and prevent it from getting spoiled. Coolers can help maintain the temperature of your food while it’s out of the fridge. They also make cleanup a breeze, as the chamber can catch condensation or any melted ice.
Give Your Stove a Thorough Clean
Another kitchen appliance that may have worked extra hard during the holidays is your stove. The cooktop may be covered in a layer of grease and spilled sauces, which can build up and become harder to remove later on. If you want to make your stove look pristine again, remember to give it a good scrub using warm, soapy water. Also, pay attention to the hobs and burners, as there may be food residue stuck in them. If they aren’t removed, they may hinder the appliance from working properly. You can unscrew gas and electric coil burners and scrub them with warm, soapy water. Just take note that you shouldn’t submerge the electric elements in water or get the electrical connection wet.
In addition to cleaning the stove’s burners, remember to wipe down the front surface and the control knobs too. They can get dirty with regular use, more so when you’re cooking a holiday feast. If your stove has removable dials, take them out and scrub them in soapy water. Reattach them once they’ve dried.
Let Your Microwave Clean Itself
Apart from the stove and refrigerator, your small appliances may also need cleaning after the holidays. The inside of your microwave oven, in particular, may be covered in sauce spills and grease splatters. If you don’t clean the mess, it might affect the smell and taste of the food you cook in the microwave next time.
Fortunately, your microwave oven can pretty much do the cleanup for you. Get a microwave oven-safe bowl and fill it with at least one cup of water. Put it in the oven and let it come to a boil before turning off the appliance. Keep the oven door closed for at least 15 minutes to let the steam loosen any food particles. This allows you to quickly wipe away everything without having to scrub.
Then, use the white vinegar mixture and a soft cloth to clean the interior surfaces and the glass turntable. If the glass is still dirty after steaming, you can hand wash it with dish soap and then wipe it dry before putting it back in the oven. Additionally, give the outside handle and keypad a good wipe-down. You can use the same vinegar mixture for this or a diluted solution of your commercial all-purpose cleaner.
Remove Crumbs from Toaster
If you don’t clean your toaster, the crumbs left behind and grease buildup in the appliance may cause a fire. To clean a toaster oven, wash the removable tray and toasting rack using warm, soapy water. Let it completely dry before putting it back. Also, wipe the interior and exterior surfaces, making sure to avoid the heating elements. If there are crumbs stuck in the crevices, use a clean, soft brush to gently remove them.
Celebrating the holidays involves a lot of merrymaking and feasting. However, it can also mean creating a mess in your kitchen and leaving remnants of food in your appliances. Follow the steps above to restore your kitchen to a pristine state and have it ready for the new year ahead.