Kitchens and bathrooms offer more hiding spaces for germs – as well as grease, grime and other unwanted substances – than any other rooms in the house. Read our bathroom and kitchen cleaning tips to get your home sparkling clean.
Clean all surfaces with an all-purpose disinfecting bathroom cleaner. Once you've removed all surface grime and soap scum, you'll be able to survey your fixtures to see if more intensive cleaning is needed.
Rust Stains. Mild acids, like lemon juice or white vinegar, can be very effective at removing rust stains. Another inexpensive cleanser is powdered lemonade. Sprinkle the powder around the rust stain and let it set overnight. You can also scrub the area with a soft brush and a professional strength waterless hand cleaner (like Goop).
Mildew Stains. Mildew is a common problem in bathrooms. Clean your tile grout with a mildewcide. If after several applications you are unable to remove the mildew, you may want to consider re-grouting.
Once mildew has been removed, wipe down your shower walls after each use to prevent recurrence. And make sure there is sufficient ventilation in your bathroom. Excessive moisture creates a perfect atmosphere for mildew.
Hard-Water Stains. For hard water stains in the toilet, leave denture-cleaning tablets in the toilet water overnight. For shower doors, try a commercial cleaner. To keep shower doors looking their best, wipe down the door and walls after each shower.
If you've moved into an area with hard water, purchase a water softener to reduce mineral deposits.
Where do you begin? In most cases, the type of material you're cleaning will dictate the method. Follow the guidelines below to ensure proper and safe cleaning.
Countertops. You'll want these surfaces to be clean and germ-free before unpacking your utensils. Clean countertops made of granite, quartz, or laminate with a liquid dish detergent mixed with water or an antibacterial cleaning agent. The same method works with tile countertops. But dingy grout requires a specific cleanser. Clean Corian or marble countertops with only liquid dish detergent mixed with water. Harsh chemicals damage these surfaces.
Cabinets. You'll want to clean your cabinets inside and out before you put away dishes or glassware. For wood cabinets, spray wood furniture cleaner or polish on a soft cloth and wipe outer surfaces. For laminated cabinets, use an all-purpose cleaner. Stainless steel cabinets require a specific cleaner.
Since most interior shelving and drawers are laminated, use an all-purpose cleaner to remove dust and crumbs. If you have soffits, you may want to vacuum with a hose attachment before you clean. You may also want to line your shelves with self-adhesive liners or shelf paper before storing dishes.
Sinks. Clean ceramic sinks with a nonabrasive cleanser (preferably one that contains bleach) and rinse thoroughly. If the sink is badly stained or cracked, you may need to re-glaze it. For stainless steel sinks, use a special cleaner. Never use abrasive cleansers, since scratches are irreversible. If hardened grit adheres to the sink, douse with boiling water and let it sit to loosen the debris. Copper sinks, while popular, are very high maintenance. If you inherit a copper sink, you'll have to use a specifically formulated cleaner.
Appliances. Use a foaming tile and bath cleaner on ceramic and stainless steel appliance surfaces. If your oven is not self-cleaning, you'll have to apply an oven cleaner to remove baked-on grease. Chances are you'll spend a good deal of time on the first day cleaning the refrigerator and freezer. Here's the best way to do it:
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