Julie Sweeney of Davis College, Mallow, Co. Cork shows us how to tackle that annual spring clean
It’s that time of year and your kitchen may be overdue its spring clean. Take advantage of the fine weather and blow out the cobwebs.
Best practice when cleaning any room is to start at the top and work your way down.
- Remove all foodstuffs, wipe down the shelves with a damp cloth and allow to dry.
- Check for expired best before dates or anything that has been opened for longer than the recommended timeframe, discarding as necessary.
- When restacking, put newer stock with a longer shelf-life to the back and keep the produce with closer expiry dates to the front.
- Group similar foods together. It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised by how tins of beans are lurking in the background. This way, you can tell at a glance when you need to replenish.
- Keep labels turned towards the front, a simple tactic that allows you to find something at a glance.
- Wipe down the cupboard doors and oil any squeaky hinges.
On to the fridge
- Clean your fridge when it’s at its lowest stock point; this is typically at the end of the week before you do your grocery shop.
- Unplug the fridge and remove all foods. Put very perishable foods into a cooler bag and work quickly so they are not at room temperature for long.
- Remove all removable shelves and drawers. Wash these with hot soapy water and rinse them well. Do not apply any strong-smelling chemical cleaners to the fridge interior, as they may linger and contaminate foods. High-fat foods may also absorb the smell and the flavour will be affected.
- Wipe the interior of the fridge with a hot damp cloth. Use bicarbonate of soda on stubborn stains.
- Reassemble the shelves and turn the fridge back on.
- Before restocking, sort through the food, discarding anything out of date and open too long. Wipe the bottoms of jars to remove any sticky bits.
- Have a dairy shelf, a freshly-cooked meats section, a condiments section and a raw meats section. This will allow you to find foods easily and do a quick assessment before grocery shopping to see what needs replacing.
- Put foods with a longer shelf-life at the back and those that must be used up quicker to the front.
Homemade cleaning products
Ensure you keep these somewhere safe in a well-labelled container away from young children.
- Bicarbonate of soda can be used to clean your refrigerator, clean blocked drains, dissolve stubborn stains, help clean burnt saucepans and remove tea and coffee stains from your favourite mug.
- Lemons can also be used in a multitude of ways. Dab some fresh lemon juice on a ball of cotton wool and pop into your fridge to keep it smelling fresh. Rub the cut side of a lemon on aluminium pots to brighten them up, then rub the other half onto your wooden chopping boards to help sanitise them and remove the smell of onions or garlic. You can even microwave three tablespoons of lemon juice in half a cup of water to help remove dried-on stains in your microwave.
- Vinegar can help remove limescale stains from around taps. It can also clear blocked drains and clean your windows without streaks. Pests such as ants dislike vinegar, so spray it around entry points such as windowsills.
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