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Seriously, your kitchen is probably filthy and you don’t even realize it.

July 10, 2017

Your kitchen, and everything within it, takes a serious beating over time. Between spills, changes in temperature and just the overall presence of lots of food, your kitchen is way grosser than you think. With that in mind, it might be time to finally give your kitchen a deep cleaning. We asked the Food & Wine Test Kitchen team for the kitchen locations, surfaces and tools that all of us should clean more regularly and here are their thoughts.

Dishwasher

Your dishwasher is one of the true MVPs of your kitchen. And, like everything else in your kitchen, you need to clean it. Conveniently, cleaning your dishwasher is simple and only takes four easy steps. After you’ve cleaned out the drain, run the dishwasher on a long cycle with hot water and with a dishwasher-safe bowl of vinegar, which will help sanitize and remove any unpleasant smells, placed in the top rack. Next, poor a small amount of baking soda, which will help with discoloration, into the bottom of the dishwasher and run it on a short cycle with hot water. Lastly, if your dishwasher has a mildew problem, poor a cup of bleach into the bottom of the dish washer and run one more full cycle. 

 

Stove Top

If you have an induction cook top, you probably keep it pretty clean (it's easy, just wipe). However, if you have gas grates or electric coils, there’s a good chance your stovetop is a bit sticky right now. The best way to remedy that is by mixing a bit of vinegar and baking soda together to use as a deep cleaning agent. While grease build up around coils and burners does happen, it's also important to remember to clean under the stove's lid as well if possible as food and debris always find a way to get under the top of your stove somehow.

 

Oven

While some ovens have the “self-cleaning” function, which basically just burns everything inside to a complete crisp, a proper cleaning job involves baking soda, water and determination. After you remove the racks, you'll want to take your baking soda paste—1/2 cup baking soda and about three tablespoons of water—and coat the entire inside of your oven with it. Let that sit overnight and then clean it out with a damp cloth. Then spray the oven's entire interior surface with vinegar, which will further clean the oven by reacting with the remaining baking soda. Finally, wipe the whole thing down one more time and return the racks to their original location.

 

Sink

Your sink is a filthy, scary place. All of the food waste, grease and whatever else comes off your plates, utensils and cookware ends up in it and yet, it's the part of the kitchen used strictly for cleaning.This is another instance where vinegar and baking soda are a great option to use as a cleaning agent. However, the best product to use to clean a sink, especially ones that are metal, is Barkeeper's Friend. This cleaner is perfect for getting rid of rust and hard water markings and will instantly become one of your favorite kitchen cleaning products.

 

Refrigerator Crisper Drawer

Attention: Your crisper drawers need to be cleaned regularly. Fruits and vegetables stuck in a confined space is the perfect recipe for mold formation so do yourself a favor and wash them out regularly to ensure you don’t start losing a bunch of your produce to the power of bacteria. If you have a favorite multi-purpose cleaner, use that, if not our old friends baking soda and water will certainly do the trick.

 

Knife Block

First off, clean your knives thoroughly from the blades' tips to the ends of the handles. Second, clean the block that holds them. If you happen to not clean your knives as well, not only will it affect each knife, but also all of that food matter and bacteria from the knives simply ends up affecting the block itself. In time, dirty knives will give the block a bad smell and cause both splitting and discoloration of the wood, all things that we want to avoid. One solution: ditch the pesky block and buy a magnetic knife strip instead.

Ice Filter

Refrigerators with build in ice dispensers are awesome. What's not, however, is what happens if you don't clean the dispenser regularly. Over time, ice builds up in the dispensing system, making it less effective and causing damage from blockage. Clear it out on occasion to make sure it keeps working correctly and so you don’t face that annoying moment when suddenly there is no ice to be had, even though the freezer is completely stocked.

 

Utensil Crock

Your utensil crock, aka the holster for all of your spatulas and tongs, is a lot dirtier than you think. Again, if you don’t clean the utensils and tools that reside inside of it thoroughly, the inside of the holster will become gnarly. Additionally, the outside of it will most likely be exposed to a lot of the elements from your stove top, which means it too should be cleaned often. Just add it to your dishwasher periodically and all will be fine.

Microwave

The ultimate location for filth in your kitchen is the inside of your microwave. Now, you might be one of the enlightened few who has invested in a splash cover to place over your food when microwaving leftovers. If you haven't, though, do not fear since the microwave is by far the easiest piece of kitchen equipment to clean. Simply take a microwave-safe bowl of water and add half a lemon to it. Place the bowl into the microwave for 10 minutes and then wipe down the entire inside with a paper towel afterward. Seriously, it's that easy and that affective.