How to clean every part of your surprisingly gross kitchen
It's time to scrub it off, wipe it down, or throw it out.
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More than any other room (even the bathroom, as it turns out), your kitchen is especially vulnerable to the infestation of dust, germs, mold, and other forms of filth. More importantly, many kitchen appliances are notoriously difficult to clean.
For instance, how do you get all that gunk out the bottom of a blender? And what about microwaves, or the space beneath your sink? To help out, we’ve put together a comprehensive resource for spring cleaning.
Of course, cleaning isn't much fun and you may be of a mind to just replace the filthy thing altogether. So we've included recommendations on many of our top-rated products. Clean or buy a new one? You decide.
Coffee brewers are tough because there are so many detachable parts and hard-to-reach spaces. Hand wash the filter tray and wipe the hotplate surface clean. As for the water basin, run a vinegar-water mixture through the machine without any coffee (obviously). There are also detergents designed for running through coffee makers. It's also a good idea to fill the pot with a water-baking soda solution and let it sit overnight. That will help remove bitter tastes and odors.
Bonus tip: to clean coffee grinders, just throw in a little uncooked rice, grind it, then wipe clean.
Replacement? Our top-rated drip coffeemaker is the Technivorm Moccamaster, available at Amazon. It may be a little pricey, but it comes with a 5-year warranty and nearly all the parts are removable for easy cleaning.
Food Processors and Blenders
Some blenders say that they can be cleaned in the dishwasher, but they're still prone to cracking. It’s better to fill the blender with a mixture of hot water and just a drop or two of dishwashing soap, then run it on the most powerful setting for 15 seconds or so. A few online guides also recommend tossing in a couple pieces of roughly cut lemon, just to imbue a fresh scent. Whatever your formula, rinse it out with cold water and let it air dry.
Eventually, gunk may build up in gaskets and crannies of the pitcher. Once in a while, it's recommended that you take the whole thing apart and hand wash the component parts by hands.
Replacement? Our editors' top-rated blender is the Breville Boss Super Blender, available at Amazon.
Cutting Boards and Butcher Blocks
Cutting boards, especially ones made of wood, are notorious havens for germs. It’s a good idea to use specific boards for specific foods (i.e., vegetables on wood, meat on plastic), but if you only own one board, you should hand-wash it as you would any other dish ware. Also be sure to disinfect the board with a solution of water and bleach (about 10 percent bleach), or just a general disinfectant if you don't like to work with bleach. Store cutting boards on their side to limit water accumulation and expose the sides to air.
Replacement? At least one of our editors—also a cooking fanatic—swears by the Epicurean cutting boards (available at Amazon starting around $11). The major benefits: they're dishwasher safe, tough, and cheap enough to replace without a second thought.
Apartment Therapy has an extremely rigorous and thorough guide to effectively cleaning and disinfecting your kitchen sink. But unless the sink in question is some kind of biohazard, a simple scrub down with a disinfectant detergent should do the trick. Scrub it with a regular, non-abrasive sponge, and use a toothbrush for tight areas. If your sink is stainless steel, be sure to use a stainless-steel cleanser and scrub in the direction of the finish. Finally, don’t forget to scrub the faucet and handles as well. Rinse out the soap, dry the basin, and then polish it all with a dry cloth.
Replacement? There are as many kinds of sinks as there are styles of kitchen. Our advice is to know exactly what style and size you want before you start shopping in order to limit your pool of candidates. And remember that faucets usually cost extra.
The exterior of virtually any tea kettle can be cleaned with detergent and hot water. As for the interior, Consumer Reports recommends filling the kettle with a mixture of white vinegar and water, then bringing the solution to a boil and allowing it to sit overnight. Keep in mind, however, that boiled vinegar is not the most pleasant of smells.
Replacement? Our top editors' pick for tea kettles is the Cuisinart CPK-17, available at Amazon.
Did you know that a dusty refrigerator can run up your electric bill? And that coconut oil is a great way to get fingerprints off stainless steel? From toasters to dishwashers, every appliance has its own quirks. That's why we tackled them in a separate article.
Our team of home appliance writers compiled a whole bunch of expert tips and tricks for cleaning appliances, and you can read them all here.
This article was originally published on April 18, 2013. It was most recently updated on Oct. 2, 2017 to include new photos, new tips, and new product recommendations.
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