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Your spotless kitchen: Tricks from Real Simple

It's true: Having a happy, healthy home means you have to do your share of scrubbing and buffing, especially when it comes to the kitchen. Don't know where to start? Here's a step-by-by guide from the savvy editors at Real Simple magazine.
/ Source: TODAY

Daunted by the chore of keeping your home — and kitchen — clean and healthy? Don’t get overwhelmed. Here are tips from the editors at Real Simple magazine, excerpted from the new book Real Simple: Cleaning. These basic steps will give maximum shine to all your kitchen surfaces with minimal effort and time. Consider the following your starter course!

Step 1: Going in the direction of the grain, wipe cabinet fronts from top to bottom with a microfiber cloth dampened with water and a few drops of mild cleaner. Rinse the cloth, wring it out well, and repeat without the cleaner, taking care to remove cleaner residue that can dull the finish.

Step 2: Wipe the stovetop with a microfiber cloth moistened with water and cleaner.

Step 3: Wet a microfiber cloth with water and mild cleaner and wipe the countertops in a circular motion. To get rid of the soapy film, mist the entire area with water from a spray bottle and wipe it down again with a clean cloth. Wash the tile backsplash using the same method, scrubbing any food splatters from the grout.

Step 4: Wipe the outsides of the refrigerator, the dishwasher and the microwave.

Step 5: Disinfect the garbage can by spraying all-purpose cleaner on both the inside and the outside of the bin and wiping it with a clean cloth.

Step 6: With a cloth and cleaner, scrub the sink basin in a circular motion from the top to the drain. Use a toothbrush to remove any mold lurking in the edges of the drain and the faucet. Rinse the entire area with water and wipe it down with a clean cloth to bring out its shine.

Step 7: Sweep the floor with a broom using long strokes and working from the walls to the middle of the room. Try not to lift up the broom at the end of each stroke or dust will be kicked into the air. Make several piles of debris as you go, picking them up with a dustpan and dumping them in the garbage. To clean corners, blow out the dust with a hair dryer, then sweep up. Or vacuum using a crevice attachment to reach tight spots and underneath cabinet bases.

The 10-Minute Clean

Impromptu dinner party? Guests tend to congregate in the kitchen. After all, that’s where the food and the drinks originate. You can make yours shine in minutes with these steps, listed in order of importance.

  • Clean the sink.
  • Wipe spills off the stovetop.
  • Wipe the counters.
  • Sweep up major dust bunnies and debris.
  • Wipe the appliances — refrigerator, microwave, oven — concentrating on the handles.
  • With these kitchen staples, it’s tempting to cheat. (A crumby toaster? Hide it in the cupboard.) Here’s how to keep everyday appliances looking like new.

Blender, Mixer and Food Processor

  • Pop off the blades and any other removable parts and soak them in a sink filled with warm water and dishwashing liquid.
  • Hand wash the blender carafe and the food-processor bowl in warm, soapy water. You
    can also wash them on the top rack of the dishwasher.
  • Using a nylon brush, scour off particles caked onto the blades.
  • Dry the pieces thoroughly with a clean towel or cloth to prevent rust.
  • Wipe down the bases with a cloth dampened with water and dishwashing liquid. Never
    submerge them in water, since the machinery of the appliances could get damaged.


  • Remove and wash the filter and the carafe with warm, soapy water, then replace them.
  • To de-scale water deposits, pour 2 to 3 cups of water and an equal amount of
    white vinegar into the water chamber and hit the brew button.
  • Turn the machine off halfway through the cycle and let the solution sit inside the
    chamber for an hour. Then turn it back on and complete the cycle.
  • Run 2 cycles of plain water through the machine to rinse out any leftover vinegar
    before using it again for your morning brew.
  • Wipe the outside with a cloth wet with water and dishwashing liquid.
  • Dry with a clean cloth.


  • Pull out the racks and wipe down the interior with a cloth and warm, soapy water. Scrub
    the racks’ wheels (where bacteria hide) with a toothbrush.
  • Fill the detergent cup with white vinegar and run an empty cycle to wipe out lime
    deposits. You can also dump a packet of powdered lemonade into the detergent cup and run the washer empty. The citric acid breaks up stains.
  • Dust the fan slats with a vacuum’s brush attachment.
  • If the door is plastic, wipe it with a cloth and all-purpose cleaner. For stainless steel,
    dampen a cloth with water and dishwashing liquid, wring it out, and wipe the door with
    the grain.
  • Dry with a clean cloth.

Toaster and Toaster Oven

  • Unplug the appliance and empty the crumb tray.
  • Remove the toaster-oven racks and soak them in warm, soapy water, scrubbing off any
    charred food with a sponge or a brush.
  • Wipe the oven interior with a cloth wet with water and dishwashing liquid. Dislodge
    burned-on food with a toothbrush or an old credit card. Reach into the slots of a regular
    toaster with a wet pastry brush.
  • Remove the knobs and soak them in soapy water. Dry and replace them.
  • Wipe the outside of either appliance with a soapy cloth, scrubbing around levers, knobs,
    and door hinges using a toothbrush. If the exterior is chrome, crumple a ball of aluminum foil (shiny side out) and rub off rust spots.

Electric Can Opener

  • Unplug, remove the cutting wheel and the lid cover, and soak them in warm water and
    dishwashing liquid in the sink.
  • Loosen grit stuck on the pieces by scrubbing them with a nylon brush or a toothbrush. You can also use baking soda and water to scour the blade.
  • Rinse the pieces with water.
  • Dry the pieces thoroughly — especially the metal cutting wheel — with a clean cloth to
    avoid rust.
  • Wipe down the base with a cloth dampened with dishwashing liquid and warm water.
    Never immerse the electrical base in water, which could short the fuse.


  • Place a coffee mug filled with water and a few slices of lemon in the center of the
    microwave and run the machine on high power for three minutes. Let the lemon water
    sit inside for 3 more minutes. The steam will soften food spills, and the lemon aroma
    will eliminate odors.
  • Wipe down the walls with a cloth soaked in warm, soapy water.
  • Remove the turntable and scrub the wheels with a toothbrush.
  • Wipe the exterior of plastic machines with a cloth sprayed with all-purpose cleaner,
    making sure to clean the fan slats. For stainless-steel machines, dip a cloth in water and dishwashing liquid, wring it out, and wipe with the grain.
  • Buff dry with a clean cloth.

For more cleaning tips, check out the new book, Real Simple: Cleaning, wherever books are sold, or visit .