5 January 2008

Green cleaning - the kitchen

All things return to the kitchen. ; - ) Put your apron on and let's tackle it. It will probably take a few hours to deep clean a kitchen, so put aside a morning or an afternoon to get it done.

The night before you do your kitchen, you can start cleaning your oven using the following:

Oven Cleaner
¼ cup ammonia
2 cups of warm water

Be careful of the ammonia fumes. Turn on the oven and leave to heat up for 10 minutes, then turn it off. Pour ammonia and warm water in a baking dish and leave in the warmed oven overnight.

The emphasis in the kitchen is being clean without being obsessed with it. As well as the build up of dust and dirt, there is usually the grease issue in our kitchens, so that adds another element to our cleaning.

I think the best way to deal with a kitchen is to work on getting it clean, then do a little maintenance each day to keep it clean. Even so, you'll need to do a deep clean and reorganise every six months or so.

The first thing to do is sweep the floor. Scoop up the dust and crumbs and dispose of it in the compost or bin. Then get out your kitchen cleaning kit.

If you've never given your kitchen much thought, now is the time. If you love cooking, a well organised kitchen will make it a pleasure to work in; if you don't like cooking, a well organised kitchen will make it easier for you.

Go into your kitchen and look at your work areas. Do you do a lot of baking/canning/preserving? Where are you baking/preserving ingredients and materials? Are they near where you work? Where do you keep your glasses, are they close to the tap? Are the tea cups and coffee mugs close to where you make tea and coffee? Is it easy to unpack your dishwasher or put away clean plates and cutlery? I'm sure you get the general idea - move things close to where they are used. Change your kitchen to suit how you work.

As you move things around, wipe the shelves and drawers with a terry cloth, hot water and soap. Wipe dry with your dry cloth.

When everything is in the place it will stay, fill the sink with hot water and clean the oven. Remove the racks and wash them in the sink with all purpose cleaner #2 or soap and water. The ammonia in the oven overnight should have loosened the grime, which you can then clean with all purpose cleaner #2 or soap and water and a stiff brush. You can also scour baked on areas with a paste of bicarb soda and water. When you're happy with the result, replace the racks, wipe the oven with a clean moist terry cloth and wipe dry.

Now check your fridge. If it needs cleaning, empty it completely, wipe the shelves, and replace the food and drinks. Any food past its prime should be given to the chooks, worms or compost. Don't forget the seals on the door. You can clean them with a toothbrush dipped in all purpose cleaner #2. Use a new toothbrush and keep it in your kit for future cleaning. Check that the seal is actually sealing too. Put a piece of paper over the seal and close the fridge door. Try to pull the paper out. If it comes out easily, you need to replace the seal. Clean the outer fridge with creamy soft scrubber and wipe dry with a clean cloth.

All-Purpose Cleaner #2
  • ¼ cup baking soda (bicarb)
  • 1 cup ammonia
  • 2 litres warm water

Mix all the ingredients together and store in a sealed plastic container that is marked with the name. Dry with a clean dry cotton cloth.
This cleaner can also be used as a floor cleaner – tiles, laminate or vinyl or for general cleaning of walls, counter tops or sinks.

Creamy soft scrubber

  • Simply pour about ½ cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid soap to make a texture like very thick cream.

This is the perfect recipe for cleaning appliances and cupboard surfaces because it rinses easily and doesn’t leave grit. It is also good for the bath and shower. Note: To keep it moist, add 1 teaspoon of glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar. Otherwise just make as much as you need at a time.

If you have time, you could also clean out your pantry. If you don't have the time, leave that task for another day.

So, the oven and fridge are clean and the cupboards and drawers are organised the way you want them; now clean the stove. Remove the bits you can, including the knobs, and wash them in hot soapy water in the sink. Depending on what type of stove you have, use either the creamy soft scrubber or the all purpose cleaner #2 to clean the surfaces. I used to use the creamy scrubber on my old enamel stove, now I have a stainless steel stove, I use the all purpose cleaner #2, dry with a terry cloth, then wipe over with a clean moist cloth with a bit of eucalyptus oil. The eucalyptus oil removes the streaks. If you have stainless steel appliances, you could also use this on them. When the stove is clean, replace the parts you cleaned in the sink.

Now empty your benches. Thoroughly wipe everything with All Purpose Cleaner #2 or creamy soft scrubber, wipe the benches, cupboard doors and handles and the splash-back or tiles area behind your benches and sink. Wipe dry with a terry cloth and replace everything.

Now that most things have been cleaned, you can clean the sink.

Sink Cleaner

To clean a dirty sink, or to make one shine, wet the sink, combine equal parts of bicarb soda and course salt and sprinkle it on. Scrub the sink with a hard brush to remove dirt and grease. Make sure you get in all the areas around the taps and drain. About once a month, finish off with a litre of water in the sink, add a tablespoon of liquid bleach and remove the plug. You’ll sanitise and clean the pipes at the same time. Wipe with a dry terry cloth.

You're almost finished. The only thing left is the floor. Depending on the type of floor you have, use the following:

Floor cleaner – floating wood, tiles, vinyl or laminate

  • ½ cup white vinegar plus 4 litres hot water in a bucket and a clean mop will clean up all but the worst floor.
  • If you have a really dirty floor to deal with, add ¼ cup grated homemade soap to this mix.

Wooden floor cleaner

  • 2 tablespoons homemade vegetable soap - grated
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 500 mls strong black tea (about a pint)
  • bucket warm water

Combine all the ingredients in a bucket. A clean mop is necessity when cleaning floors. If you start with a dirty mop you’ll just loosen the dirt on the mop by making it wet again and then spread that on the floor. When you finished your cleaning jobs, rinse the mop out to get rid of the loose dirt then let it soak in the bucket half filled with water and a ¼ cup of bleach. Let the mop soak for 30 minutes, rinse the bleach out and dry the mop in the sun.

Simple green cleaning requires more effort than spray and wipe chemical cleaning, but your home will be safer and CLEANER using these methods. When you have every thing clean, keep it that way by doing a little touch up each day. It only takes 10 minutes or so to wipe down the fridge or clean up spills on the stove, but it will make a big difference to your overall work load because you won't have to do a big clean like this every couple of months. Just a bit each day will keep you on top of your work.

If you've followed all the cleaning days you deserve a day off, so make plans to spend all tomorrow with your family or friends doing what you enjoy.

Thank you for stopping by today. : - )

ADDITION: I had an email from Killi today warning of the danger of using bleach of you have a septic tank. I agree that you should never use bleach in your house if you have a septic system. The ble

ach will kill the bacteria in the tank.



  1. Hi Rhonda,

    two questions:

    A) The wooden floor cleaner won't remove the varnish on the floor will it? I live in an apt that has varnished ( i think that's the correct term for sanded and treated wood floors) wooden floors and I don't want to remove the varnish as I have no idea if my landlord will redo them. I do use hot water and vinegar on my tile flooring in the kitchen and bathroom.

    b) This sounds really silly but you just heat the oven up and then turn it off again before putting in the oven cleaner mixture. I'm having a bit of a blond moment as I read your post -- i blame the migraine.

  2. Hi Maggie. There are no silly questions, love. No the wooden floor cleaner won't strip varnish. Varish would need a solvent to remove it.

    For your oven, yes, you heat the oven for 10 minutes, then turn it off. The residual heat softens the junk in the stove so you can clean it off.

  3. Hi Rhonda,
    Happy New Year. Question...could you use the same sink cleaner on surfaces that require non abrasive cleaners?

  4. Coleen, the salt is abrasive, it might slightly scratch painted surfaces. I would use the all purpose cleaner #2 on surfaces that need a non-abrasive cleaner.

  5. Morning Rhonda, Just thought I would report on having throughly scrubbed my bathroom yesterday and it looks great! (my bathroom is old and kinda grungy mostly). I followed a lot of your instructions, but varied a couple to suit myself(as you always suggest).Today I have put aside to declutter some more as well as do a litle cooking - more beetroot relish, homemade icecream and also to grate and freeze my excess cheese!
    take care of you

  6. Well, quite simply, I love the photo you supplied... May one day my kitchen look more like that!

    I'll have to come back later to be inspired by cleaning...

  7. Rhonda-I have a teapot for the stove that has a copper bottom that is awful looking after many years of use. I tried one of the harsh smelly cleaners for it years ago but I have asthma and it sent me to my inhaler after a few minutes so I haven't yet figured out the best way to clean it. Any suggestions?

  8. That's great, Lis! I'm glad you modified what I wrote to work in your situation. Happy cooking.

    Hi Sharon. I get asthma too and have to be careful of the fumes. To clean copper, you make a paste with a tablespoon of salt and two tablespoons of white vinegar. Rub it on the copper, leave for a few minutes, then rub off. If it's clean enough, wash it with soap and water, if it's not yet clean, repeat the salt and vinegar. Make sure you wash off all the salt as it might corrode the teapot.

  9. Rhonda,
    This may be a duplicate comment, as the last one did not show up.

    I have stumbled across this site, that if you already havent come across; I think you will throughly enjoy.

    Thia family lives in a huge city, in So. CA. What they hve accomplished, considering that they are city dwellars amazes me.



  10. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    I clean my kitchen like you described.:o)
    I agree a work area really saves time.Mine is perfect for me. DH expanded it higher (I'm tall) and I put a old medal top from a table on it.I cook with alot with cast iron ,I can take it from the stove top to it and no worries of burning counter tops.
    Hopoe you have a Great wk.end.Thanks for all Your wonderful Posts.:o)
    Blessins', Lib

  11. Hi Rhonda,

    I have another question...how would you recommend cleaning a hooked rug? I have a small area rug that my grandma made for me, it's been in use for the past 8 years but I've never cleaned it yet. I've shaken the dust and dirt out over the years but it probably needs a thorough cleaning. It's currently winter here so leaving it outside on the grass isn't an option -- it's hiding under all the snow.

  12. Maggie, you can read about rug cleaning here: http://down---to---earth.blogspot.com/2007/12/saturdays-work.html Good luck.

  13. Rhonda, good and simple recipes! Thanks!

  14. Hi Rhonda,

    I am loving your blog, and learning so much! What a great way you have of sharing your wisdom..thank you so much. And now to clean my house... :)

  15. As a Brisbane girl who is just embarking on the next stage of home-making (1st baby due in July), I'm so excited to find this great, local site. Thank you!!

  16. When making the kitchen scrub,you say to use baking soda and add enough liquid soap,is that hand liquid soap or the laundry liquid soap,thanks

  17. Thank you. I sorted my kitchen today. I already use homemade cleaners but my kitchen was always untidy. Everything now has a place, I have clear counters and a caddy for my cleaning gear.
    Can I ask what people use for mildew? I can't use bleach.

    1. Where is the mildew? Have you tried oxybleach or peroxide?

  18. It's on the walls. We live in a beautiful but stone walled farmhouse in the UK, so it's inevitable.
    I have peroxide, I'll try that. Thank you x
    I am also knitting covers for the wool cushions I bought, a splurge as I wanted wool ones not polyester 😊


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