Monthly Archives: May 2015

Fast, Easy, and Inexpensive Steps to a Sparkling Clean Kitchen

cleaning your kitchenHas it been a while since you’ve given your kitchen a thorough cleaning?

Don’t put this important project off any longer. A clean kitchen is not only a pleasure to work in, it is essential for preparing healthy, delicious meals for your friends and family.

If you are worried about using harsh chemicals in your home, try cleaning your kitchen with natural products like lemons, vinegar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide. They are inexpensive and effective for disinfecting and won’t harm you or the environment. Check out these Homemade and Natural Cleaning Products.

Declutter: Start by removing clutter from your kitchen. Empty your cabinets and clear everything off your countertops. It’s time to decide what you really want and need in your kitchen. Toss, donate, or recycle everything else. For more ideas, read Cut Clutter in the Kitchen.

Countertops: Your countertops should be disinfected daily, especially before and after meal preparation. How to best clean your countertops depends on what material they are made from. See 10 Countertops Cleaning Tips.

Cabinets: If you have open space above your cabinets, remove all items, vacuum, and wipe down the top surface. Remove everything from inside cabinets and wipe down shelves. Do the same for drawers. Once cabinet interiors are completely dry, replace and reorganize the items that you want and need to keep.

Windows: Wipe down windowsills. Wash the glass, inside and out. Remove screens, rinse, dry, and replace. Vacuum, wipe down, and wash curtains, shades, or blinds. Read How to Clean Windows Like a Pro.

Light Fixtures: Clean light fixtures give off more light, which is a necessity in the kitchen. Take down light fixtures if possible and gently wash and dry them before replacing. If you have a light with exposed light bulb, turn the light off and dust when cool.

Walls and Doors: Kitchen walls can get really grimy, especially near the sink and stove. With a damp cloth, wipe down walls and doors, working from ceiling to floor. Don’t forget to clean light switches and doorknobs.

Sink: Using baking soda, warm water, and a lemon peel to disinfect the garbage disposal. Run ice cubes through the disposal to sharpen and clean the blades. Scrub the sink with baking soda and vinegar. For more information, check out How to Clean Your Kitchen Sink & Disposal.

Large Appliances:

  • Refrigerator–Empty the refrigerator, throwing away expired food. Unplug and clean behind and underneath (cleaning the condenser coils will help your refrigerator operate more efficiently). Wipe down shelves and drawers and dry with a clean towel. Replace food items, organizing and sorting as you go.
  • Microwave–Wipe with a damp cloth. Fill a microwave safe bowl or cup with 4-5  tablespoons baking soda or one-half cup lemon juice and water and heat mixture on high for two to three minutes. Allow to sit for five minutes, then wipe again with a damp cloth. Clean exterior and door with warm, soapy water and dishcloth.
  • DishwasherRun an empty dishwasher with vinegar to disinfect and remove deposits.
  • Oven/Stove–Remove, knobs, burners, burner covers, and spill catchers off of the stove and wipe down. To clean the oven, mix equal parts salt and baking soda. Add enough vinegar to make a paste. Allow to sit. Use wire wool, sponge, toothbrush, or scraper to remove baked-on food.

Floors: Sweep and vacuum floors, making sure to get into the corners and baseboards. Shake/ vacuum rugs.

Garbage Can: Does your kitchen garbage can smell bad even after you’ve taken out the garbage? Empty it out and disinfect it with your favorite cleaner. Allow to completely dry before putting in a new bag.

5 Simple Steps For Throwing a Sensational Spring Garden Party

Garden PartySpring is here and it’s time to take the party outdoors!

Garden parties are all about friends, family, fun–and, of course, food!

Hosting a garden party for the first time? Don’t stress! These no-fuss parties are all about sharing great food and drinks with friends and family.

The steps to creating an amazing garden party are really quite simple. Start with a deck, patio, or just a patch of green grass. Add tasty and easy-to-eat food and drinks. Then invite your favorite people and enjoy!

Want to add a little flair to your garden party? Check out the ideas below.

Party Decor–Let Mother Nature be your guide when decorating for your garden party. You don’t have to plant a garden, of course, but you can lavish your deck or patio with potted plants and put vases of fresh flowers on the tables. Want to have a party theme? A favorite flower, color, or even fruit is all it takes.

Seating Arrangements–Set up tables and seating areas so your guests have room to mingle outdoors. Provide a mixture of chairs and benches for comfort and versatility. Make your table settings as casual or elegant as you like. Read 50 Great Designs for a Garden Party.

Light It Up–Will your garden party continue into the evening? If so, lights and paper lanterns will add light, ambiance, and fun to your festivities. String your lights around the perimeter from your pergola, trees, or deck/patio railing or roof. For more inspiration, check out 28 Outdoor Lighting DIYs to Brighten Up Your Summer.

Chilled Beverages–Make batches of your favorite drink to share with your guests. This signature beverage can be anything from sangrias to margaritas. Keep plenty of beer and wine cold in coolers or buckets filled with ice so guests are free to help themselves. Make sure to offer a variety of nonalcoholic beverages including iced water, tea, and lemonade. Check out the Cooking Channel’s Best Summer Drinks and Cocktails.

Unforgettable Finger Foods–We all love finger foods. The pure genius of them is that you and your guests are free to stroll, mingle, and socialize as you eat. Appetizers work well for outdoor parties because they are easy to prepare and you can often make them ahead of time.

24 Easy Outdoor Appetizers

Party-Ready Finger Foods