One way to save money and help the environment is to use less toxic alternatives for cleaning. I find the best cleaners to be baking soda and vinegar, which can do an amazing number of different cleaning tasks around the house. To help you discover their true power, I drafted this how to plan for cleaning your entire kitchen using only baking soda and vinegar. This is a pretty intense kitchen cleaning, and not everyone will need every step every night. Order is somewhat important here, so read the whole thing before you start so you know what steps to skip.
Before you start, make yourself a spray bottle with a mix of vinegar and water. Proportions are not exact: my rule is a little vinegar to a lot of water. 🙂 Keep this handy.
1. Put a pan of vinegar in the oven and turn it on to 200 degrees fahreneheit.
2. If you have any very dirty pots and pans, particularly any with crusts on them or food stuck to them, put a little baking soda in the bottom and cover with water. Put the pots back on the stove and turn on your burners to bring the water to a boil.
3. While the water is boiling, wash the rest of your dishes. I confess that I use a dishwasher for my tableware even though I know it’s a hot water hog (you could, by the way run this with baking soda for detergent and vinegar for rinse aid – but I don’t). The dishwasher saves my sanity. Anything that isn’t going in the dishwasher, wash in the sink. . . Again you could use baking soda for this – but I don’t.
4. When the water in your pot is boiling (probably halfway through your dish washing), turn it off and let it cool. Scrape the bottom a bit with a plastic spatula to make sure the crustiness came off. Once it’s cool, wash the pot in the sink with a sponge or rag, it should be very easy.
5. Put a bowl of vinegar and water in the microwave and heat it for 90 seconds.
6. While the vinegar is heating, sprinkle osme baking soda in your sink and scrub it a bit with a sponge or rag. Don’t rinse it down the drain yet.
7. With your spray bottle, quickly wipe down the counter with a rag or towel. I use yesterday’s dish towel and take out a clean one for the dishes every day.
8. The vinegar should be heated. Remove it from the microwave (if you are congested or have a headache, give the hot vinegar a sniff. Woo!). There should be vinegar and water droplets on the walls of your microwave. Use your towel to wipe it down.
9. Pour the vinegar into the sink, using it to wash the baking soda down the drain. It may foam up in your sink, which will help clean, and the baking soda and hot vinegar will keep your drain clear. Rinse the sink with hot water and dry it with your towel.
10. Drop the (increasingly dirty) towel on the floor. Spritz the floor with your vinegar solution and move the towel around with your foot to polish the floor. Give any incredibly dirty spots and extra spritz and come back to them. Now put the towel in the wash because it’s probably pretty gross. I find that if I do this quick clean a few days a week, I very rarely need to do a serious mop, which I consider a serious pain (and for which, by the way, I do use vinegar).
11. Turn off your oven. Leave the vinegar tray in there; it will continue to evaporate. In a few hours when the oven has cooled, wipe down the vinegar droplets as you did your microwave.
Voila! A clean and healthy kitchen.