These days, the options available when shopping for kitchen cleaning products are both varied and overwhelming. It can be really tricky making a decision on what product to buy when so many claim to be able to do the same things, but in better ways than all the others. However, by switching to natural, non-chemical based cleaners, you can make your decision much easier while doing your bit for the environment and your family. In an area like the kitchen where food is stored and prepared, eliminating the need for harsh and robust chemical cleaners will be beneficial for your household.
It’s a good idea to check with the manufacturer of your appliance before trying any of these, just to make sure that doing so won’t cause any problems with the appliance’s operation.
Microwaves are very susceptible to splatters and small explosions when in use, due to how the appliance cooks and heats food. While it’s always preferable to keep your microwave cleaned and maintained on a frequent basis, a microwave lined with more food than your cupboards need not be the daunting prospect it first appears. In fact, cleaning a microwave is quick, easy and requires very little effort on your part!
There are a handful of different items to use in cleaning your microwave, but they’re all utilised in the same way – using the power of the microwave itself.
The first method is to half fill a large microwave-safe bowl, followed by a tablespoon of white vinegar. Then, place the bowl in the microwave and turn it on for five minutes – if your microwave is a high-powered model it may need less time, so adjust accordingly.
When the microwave has finished, remove the bowl. The microwave will have turned the water and vinegar solution into steam, which loosens the dried-on gunk enough for you to simply wipe it away with a cloth or kitchen paper towel. The glass tray can be washed in the sink like a plate, or even put in the dishwasher.
Another approach is to use a lemon. Lemons contain citric acid, functioning as a very mild abrasive and possessing anti-bacterial properties, and are therefore especially useful in cleaning. For your microwave, cut a lemon in half, place the halves cut-side down on a plate, add a small amount of water to keep the flesh of the lemon moist and microwave for about a minute. When the microwave has finished, the inside can be wiped down with a kitchen towel.
Although technically a chemical, yet a very soft one at that, cleaning of your microwave can also be carried out using washing-up liquid. Fill a microwave-safe bowl halfway with water, and add about a tablespoon of the liquid, placing the bowl in the microwave. Turn the microwave on for about a minute (or until you can see steam filling it), then remove the bowl and wipe down.
If there is a bad smell in your microwave, a small amount of baking soda can be introduced to any of these methods as an effective deodoriser.
Cookers can provide no end of fun when it comes to cleaning them, particularly as the high levels of heat they generate can easily bake food onto the inside so solidly it seems that some sort of pneumatic tool will be required to remove it. However, taking advantage of the power of natural cleaners, the dark abyss of the dirty cooker is no more.
One of the best ways to clean away burnt-on food and grease in your cooker is with baking soda. Mix the soda with some water into a thick paste, then coat all the dirty areas of the cooker with the paste and leave it to work overnight. The paste and dirt can be scraped off with a spatula or old sponge before wiping the cooker down with a damp cloth to remove any leftover residue from the paste or the dirt, leaving you with a cooker that is sparkling clean!
While burnt-on food may not be an issue in fridges, they are nevertheless prone to food and drink spills, leaks and often unpleasant smells. As the storage area of the kitchen for food that is usually fresh and perishable, it’s important to keep your fridge interior clean and healthy, while using cleaning products that are safe for you and your family.
Once again, the use of white vinegar and baking soda can work wonders in your fridge. Start by removing everything from your fridge, including shelves and racks, and give the shelves a good clean either in the sink with water and washing-up liquid or using a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar. For even more effective cleaning, heat the solution in the microwave first.
The same water-vinegar solution can be used to clean the fridge interior, either by applying it with a spray bottle or simply pouring it onto a cloth and wiping it round the fridge. When you’ve finished, use a cloth or kitchen towel to remove the solution from the fridge.
For combating odours in your fridge, baking soda can added to the water and vinegar, or for a more long term solution by leaving a small bowl or open box of soda in the fridge permanently, although this will require changing the soda at intervals every two to three months.
The most common cause of dirty dishwashers is blockages in the drainage system. Over time, the food that the dishwasher cleans from your used plates and kitchenware can build up in the dishwasher’s pipes, stopping water and debris from properly draining away and leading to a smelly, inefficient appliance.
The first thing you should do is check the drainage pipe in the bottom of your dishwasher for food and other objects that may have got stuck and caused the blockage – in particular, items of cutlery can often be washed out of the cutlery tray into the pipe and cause obstructions.
When the blockage is cleared, you are ready to solve the issue of the smell. Empty the dishwasher, and place a dishwasher-safe container such as a measuring jug on the top rack containing about half a litre of white vinegar. Then, turn the dishwasher onto the hottest cycle and leave it to run.
For a really thorough job, when the cycle has completed sprinkle baking soda around the bottom inside of the dishwasher and turn it on to a short cycle at a high temperature. As well as deodorising the appliance, the soda will help to remove any stubborn stains, too.
Hopefully this post has demonstrated some of the brilliant advantages to be had of using natural cleaners in your kitchen, not just for their properties but also their inexpensiveness when compared to harsher commercial cleaning products, which can often be costly. As always, if you’ve come across any other natural cleaners that can be used to great effect, please share them in the ‘Comments’ section below!