How to Use Castile Soap

This post is part of a new series – Homekeeping Basics.  In the series I’ll talk about ingredients, products, and some simple, basic homekeeping 101 sorts of things. I hope you enjoy it!

Let’s start with a product I think every one should have in their home – castile soap.  Castile soap is an all natural, vegetable-based product made primarily of coconut and olive oils. Instead of using synthetic chemicals as ingredients, they use naturally found and sourced ingredients.  A lot of soaps (dish and otherwise) contain petroleum and other toxic, caustic ingredients. By switching to castile soap for cleaning you’re using an effective and safe alternative.

My favorite is brand is Dr. Bronner’s – I love the citrus version.  It smells fresh, clean, and citrusy.  Dr. Bronner’s also comes in unscented, almond, lavender, tea tree, peppermint, and a few other scents.  If you have never heard of Dr. Bronner’s you can purchase online through Amazon or I purchase at my local Wal-Mart, Target (in the natural beauty section), or Whole Foods.

What’s so great about castile soap? It’s affordable, extremely concentrated, natural, and gentle and it cleans beautifully! It’s a great multi-purpose cleaner. It’s so safe that you can use it to clean fruit and vegetables and to brush your teeth. One word of caution – castile soap and vinegar don’t mix.  The acid in the vinegar mixes with the castile to make a sludge.  I do use one or two recipes with a teeny tiny bit of castile soap and vinegar and haven’t had a sludgy reaction, but just be careful as you’re mixing up cleaning concoctions.

Here are some of my favorite ways to use castile soap:

How to Clean Window Blinds

How to Clean Window Tracks

How to Clean Hardwood Floors Without Vinegar

How to Clean a Glass Cooktop

3 Ways to Clean Baseboards

Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray

Nightly Sink Scrub

Soft Cleaning Scrub

Washing Windows – 2 Ways to DIY

Have you purchased my new book, Simply Clean?  It will change the way you clean in the best possible way!

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How to Clean a Microwave

Cleaning a microwave isn’t difficult but it’s definitely a neglected task – out of sight, out of mind.  Food splatters and spills happen and if your house is anything like mine, it’s much easier to the close the door than wipe up those drips and spills.

How to Clean a Microwave

Fill a glass bowl or measuring cup with 3-4 cups of hot tap water.

Cut a lemon into chunks and place in the warm water.  

Put the bowl of water and lemon/lemon juice in the microwave and run it until the water boils (3-5 minutes). 

Let the steam do its job – don’t open the door for at least 5 minutes.  Let the steam work to dissolve any grease, drips, and grime.  Repeat if you don’t see steam on the inside of the microwave.

Take out the glass plate or tray in your microwave and wash it in your sink or dishwasher.

Wipe the interior of the microwave clean.  If you need a little extra cleaning power spritz with white vinegar or non-toxic all-purpose cleaner.  Use a sponge or a microfiber cleaning cloth to wipe clean and rinse and wring as you’re wiping .

Wash and dry the glass plate and return it to the microwave.

HAVE A CLEANING THE MICROWAVE TIP?  SHARE IT IN THE COMMENTS!

If you haven’t pre-ordered my new book Simply Clean, don’t miss the amazing bonuses and coupons included in the download packet – Simply Clean comes out in less than 2 weeks! Go to this post for more info!

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3 Ways to Clean Baseboards

3 Ways To Clean Baseboards - Simple + Natural - Clean Mama

If the thought of cleaning the baseboards in your home sounds daunting and more than overwhelming, it doesn’t have to be. I am always amazed by what a difference having clean baseboards makes. It is an easy task to tackle in a couple of hours if you are up to doing your whole home, or in smaller increments if you prefer going room by room. I have three great cleaning options to choose from today. Pick the one that matches what simple ingredients you have on hand or who in your home is doing the cleaning. Ready for some options?

3 Ways to Clean Baseboards - detail - Clean Mama

Baby Wipes:

 

Clean Baseboards with Baby Wipes - Clean Mama copy

Yes, this option is the least eco-friendly of the three, but it is perfect for kids and their nimble knees. I love that the amount of liquid is controlled so you won’t have an overturned bucket of water or puddles everywhere. It’s perfect for adults too as it is the quickest of three and requires no prep. This is a task that can be included on kid’s weekly chores so that dirt and dust doesn’t have as much of a chance to accumulate.

Castile Cleaner:

Wash Baseboards with Castile Soap - Clean Mama

Castile soap is the ultimate gentle detergent that is free of dyes, artificial scents and chemicals. It is available in the natural beauty aisle at many retailers or on Amazon. If you don’t happen to have any on hand, you can also substitute your favorite dish soap that you would use for hand washing dishes. This cleaner can be used on both painted and wood baseboards.

  • 4 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon castile or dish soap

Optional: 2 drops lemon or your favorite essential oil for a little extra scent boost

Mix ingredients together in a bucket. Using a barely damp microfiber cloth (my favorite!) or a well wrung out sponge, wipe as you go, rinsing the cloth or sponge frequently.

Borax Based Cleaner:

Clean Baseboards with Borax - Clean Mama

Borax is an effective, inexpensive natural mineral that works well in a number of cleaning situations, including cleaning baseboards. It can be found in the laundry or cleaning aisle of many stores. You can half the proportions of the Borax to water if you want a smaller batch.

  • 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon Borax
  • 2-4 cups warm water

Stir to dissolve. You can use this with the traditional bucket cleaning method or decant into a spray bottle (if you put it in a spray bottle make sure you mix with warm water to fully dissolve the Borax). I like to use microfiber cloths to clean as they do a great job of getting in all those nooks and crannies and they don’t spread the dirt around, but you can also use a sponge.  Just be sure to wring until damp and not dripping. No rinsing required.

There is no need to dread or fear cleaning baseboards when armed with these simple methods and DIY cleaner options. Choose one today and look forward to sparkling trim in no time.

If you haven’t tried microfiber for cleaning?  You should!  You’ll love my Clean Mama Home Microfiber Cleaning Cloths – check them out!

Clean Mama Home Microfiber Cloths

 

More posts in this series – just click on the image to go to the post:

Nightly Sink Scrub - Clean Mama

Marble + Granite Cleaning Spray - Clean Mama

Soft Cleaning Paste - the perfect scrub - Clean Mama

All-Purpose Spray - Clean Just About Anywhere Spary - Clean Mama

The Perfect DIY Glass Cleaner - Clean Mama

DIY Cleaners Ingredient Storage - Clean Mama

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How to Decorate So Cleaning Is Easy

How to Decorate So Cleaning Is Easy - Tips, Tricks, and Methods that Work - Clean Mama

If you have been cleaning your home for any length of time, you know that it’s much easier to clean if you aren’t cleaning around clutter.  Have you heard the phrase, “cleaning for the cleaning lady”?  Same principle, it’s easier to clean when you don’t have anything to clean around or move to clean.  I decorate with a minimalist approach, but I love mixing in things that we love or just plain enjoy.

Mantle - Clean Mama

If you find that you are having to clean before you clean or that cleaning itself takes a ridiculous amount of time, I’d love to show you a couple decorating strategies and tips that really (really) work.  When I say that it only takes about 15 minutes to dust our entire house, disbelief ensues.  It really only takes me 15 minutes to dust and it’s because, a.) I hate clutter, and b.) I move fast and use the right tools.  You can see my favorites here.

Duster - Clean Mama

I have a fairly simple decorating strategy – if it’s useful (as in, we use it), and/or we love it, it stays out.  Otherwise, it probably leaves the house or finds its way to a storage box in the basement.  If the item is stored it’s because I know we’ll use it again or I’m saving it for some reason.  For instance, when the kids were itty bitty, I put fragile items in storage.  I’m starting to pull some of those items out again and if I still love it, it’s going out of the box and getting used OR it’s given away or sold.

How to Decorate So Cleaning Is Easy - Clean Mama

Let’s talk about decorating for a minute, shall we?  Decorating is personal.  It reflects your style, your memories, your life.  I’m not going to tell you what to use to decorate WITH, or what style to use, but I do have some tips to make cleaning and keeping your home clean in between cleanings easy.

Living Room - Clean Mama

HOW TO DECORATE SO CLEANING IS EASY

  1. KEEP SURFACES AS CLEAR AS POSSIBLE.  Clear surfaces are always easier to clean than full surfaces.  This is obvious, but hard to remember.  Try this approach if you need a refresher course.
  2. DECORATE WITH WHAT YOU LOVE.  If you don’t love it, don’t keep it around.  If you notice something out isn’t working for you anymore or that you can’t remember why you have it out to begin with, put it away for a bit and see if you miss it.
  3. DECLUTTER OFTEN.  I list ‘clutter’ every day on my cleaning routine, that’s because I know that if clutter isn’t dealt with daily, it becomes a problem.  Get in the habit of putting things away after using them is huge.
  4. FEELING OVERWHELMED?  Completely clear multiple surfaces in a room, clean them and let them ‘breathe’ for a bit.  You might like having those surfaces less decorated moving forward. If you’re unsure of what to decorate a surface with, remove everything and add back little by little until you reach a look that you love.
  5. BE SMART ABOUT STORAGE.  Most people and homes need some form of storage.  When you buy furniture, look for pieces that serve multiple purposes.  One of our coffee tables has small doors and we store games and puzzles in it.  A dining room buffet can hold dishes, linens, and other dining room items.
  6. GET RID OF STUFF.  If you are holding on to things that you no longer need, want, or love, it’s time to get rid of them.  Set a goal or daily ritual of decluttering a spot, filling a bag, setting a timer for 5-10 minutes, whatever works for your situation.

Entryway - Clean Mama

 

Simplify your spaces so you aren’t moving items around to clean.  Quickly dusting over a surface with one or two used and loved items is much easier than clearing a space, cleaning it, cleaning the items, and then returning them.

Corner - Make Cleaning Easy - Clean Mama

What’s your best tip for decorating to keep cleaning easy?

This post is part of a brand new series – HOME TOUR – go here to see a post about the colors in our home.

A Whole House Color Scheme - Clean Mama

Have you seen Clean Mama Home?  Wait until you see how cute cleaning can be!

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How to Clean a Gas Cooktop

How to Clean a Gas Cooktop via Clean Mama

We’ve all been there. You turn your back on the stove for a moment and before you know it, that pot of oatmeal has bubbled over the top or the tomato sauce has managed to spatter over the entire surface.

Gas Cooktop BEFORE via Clean Mama

Regardless of whether your gas stovetop is covered in the remnants of last night’s dinner or just needs a good cleaning, today’s post is for you. There is no need for harsh chemicals or stinky concoctions – just a little elbow grease and a common kitchen ingredient or two. Let’s get started!

Simple Tools to Clean a Gas Cooktop:

  • warm water
  • dish soap
  • baking soda
  • kosher salt
  • bar mop cloths or dish cloths
  • dish towels

How to Clean a Gas Cooktop:

Begin by removing the grates on your stove and placing them in an empty sink. If possible, remove the knobs and the burner covers as well.

Remove Grates and Accessories via Clean Mama

Fill a bowl or container with warm water and a squirt of dish soap. Place the knobs and burner covers in the bowl and allow them to soak while you tackle the cooktop and grates.

Soak Accessories in Warm Soapy Water via Clean Mama

Dampen a soft cloth (I use bar mop cloths) with warm water and a touch of dish soap. Thoroughly wipe the entire surface of the cooktop using a circular motion. Avoid using too much water as you don’t want any water to sneak down in to the mechanisms of the stove or gas outlets.

Use a Damp Cloth to Wipe Clean via Clean Mama

After wiping down the surface with the water and soapy solution, rinse and wring out the cleaning cloth thoroughly. Wipe down the entire surface once more to catch any errant crumbs and soap residue.  Dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.

Scrub and Rinse Grates via Clean Mama

Ready to tackle the grates? For me, this is where the need for more than soap and water kicks in. Food that has sat and baked on requires the help of a little extra cleaning powerhouse: baking soda. Baking soda is perfectly suited for this job as it is a mild, safe abrasive that is both economical and effective. Sprinkle a little directly on to the damp grates and scrub using your wrung out cleaning cloth with a bit of soap.

Use Baking Soda to Remove Tough Stains via Clean mama

If you have some stubborn baked on bits that need some extra oomph, add a dash of salt to the mix. Sprinkle a little salt on to the grate as it sits in your sink and use the same damp cloth and dash of soap to scrub away those more challenging spots. The salt is just a bit more abrasive, but is still gentle enough to not damage your grates.

Let Thoroughly Dry via Clean Mama

After you have scrubbed off all the residue, give the grates a good rinse, wipe them down with a warm, damp cloth and dry. I like to lay out a large towel and lay the grates on them to dry until I put them back on the stove.

Remove Knobs via Clean Mama

The final cleaning step is to take care of the knobs and burner covers. The knobs won’t likely need much for cleaning other than a simple wipe down and rinse. Dry them and put them on the towel along with the grates. If your burner covers are in need of more than just soap and water to clean, you can follow the same procedure as you did with the grates. Enlist the help of baking soda or salt as needed. Thoroughly dry when they are clean to your satisfaction.

AFTER Gas Cooktop via Clean Mama

Make sure everything is thoroughly dry and reassemble. Stand back and enjoy that clean and shiny stovetop!

How to Clean a Gas Cooktop - Simple, Step-by-Step Directions via Clean Mama

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Clean Mama’s Home Reset Challenge – Introduction

Update:  This challenge is over, but you can start it anytime!  Simply follow the links at the bottom of the post for the simple and do-able how-to!
I don’t know about you but from time to time (especially when the seasons change) I need to do a little more than usual to get things tidied up around our home.  If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed about the space between your walls and feel like you need a little bit of a reset in the clean home department, next week is for you (and me)!

Clean Mama's Home Reset Challenge via Clean Mama

What’s the goal of the challenge – what can I expect?

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a room or by an area and quickly close the door or walk away because the clutter makes your heart race?  Yeah, we’re going to get our heart rates down and settle into a relaxing and cozy fall where we feel comfortable and relaxed in our homes.  I’ve designed this challenge to be a jump start to a cleaning routine and as a way to make some REAL progress in a hurry.  Short on time?  Overwhelmed by clutter and don’t know where to start?  This is a challenge that you can succeed at – I promise!

When is the challenge and how will I complete it?

I’ll have a FREE printable for you available on Sunday (September 13) to use during the challenge so you can choose to work right along with us next week or you can complete the challenge independently anytime.

Every day next week, September 14-18 (Monday – Friday) I will be posting the tasks for the challenge here on the blog and on Instagram and Facebook (follow me there too!).  We’ll start the challenge by keeping up with daily cleaning and weekly cleaning tasks.   Clean Mama’s Home Reset will add about 15-30 minutes to the daily and weekly tasks with a new task each day designed specifically to declutter those problem spots and clutter collectors in your home.

What time of day should I work on the challenge?

Choose the time of the day that works for you – my cleaning routine and this challenge are both designed to work with ANY schedule.  Personally, I try to complete as much as possible early in the morning and complete the daily tasks during the day or evening when I am able. Be flexible and set aside a little extra time each day to complete the 5 daily challenges.  Just 15-30 minutes and I promise you’ll see a HOME RESET of your own.  If you only have 15 minutes when you get home from work, set a timer and do what you can in that amount of time.

I’m new here.  What is Clean Mama’s Cleaning Routine?

Welcome – I’m so glad you’re here!  New to the Clean Mama Cleaning Routine?  This is the perfect time to start!  This reset will give you a quick and doable start to maintaining a tidy home.  I’ve created a simple, easy to implement cleaning routine that thousands of people use in their homes every day.  Every day I complete these 4 Daily Cleaning Tasks – check floors, clean counters, clutter, at least one load of laundry.  Then I break the larger cleaning tasks like vacuuming and cleaning bathrooms down into my Weekly Cleaning Routine.

CM | day icons
MONDAY – bathrooms day
TUESDAY – dusting day
WEDNESDAY – vacuuming day
THURSDAY – floor washing day
FRIDAY – catch-all day (a day to catch up or complete rotating cleaning tasks)
SATURDAY – sheets + towels day
SUNDAY – day of rest – just the daily cleaning tasks

I also give away a FREE cleaning calendar with the daily and weekly cleaning tasks and recommended rotating cleaning tasks every month – here’s September’s calendar.

Each of the posts will have these links to the other days so you can catch up or start this challenge anytime:

I want to start now – what can I do?

Take a couple minutes over the next few days to get ready for the challenge – here’s what you can do to prepare:

  • Follow the Clean Mama cleaning routine – start on whatever day it is, do what you can and you’ll be ready to go on Monday.
  • Put together a cleaning caddy of your favorite tools and get ready for a fun week – here are some of my favorites according to days of the week and from Amazon.
  • Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss a post!

 

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How to Clean Woodwork and Cupboards

How to Clean Woodwork and Cupboards via Clean Mama

I recently posted a question to my readers and asked what their biggest cleaning conundrums are. I received a lot of great questions that I’m planning to cover in upcoming posts. Today we are going to look at methods of cleaning woodwork, doors and cupboards, as this seems to be a common cleaning issue with many. Fingerprints, food, dust, dirt and grime have the tendency to accumulate quickly. Cleaning all your baseboards, doors or all your cupboards can sound a bit daunting, so let’s make it easy as possible with several different cleaning options and recipes.

BASEBOARDS AND DOORS:

Cleaning Baseboards with Baby Wipes via Clean Mama

Baseboard cleaning is a task that is really a lot easier than it sounds. For starters, I like to enlist the help of my kiddos on this task. Armed with baby wipes, this task is perfect for kids and their nimble knees. Simply have them do the perimeter of a room for one of their weekly chores. I’ve found that when I keep up with cleaning them, it makes the job so much easier as dirt doesn’t have a chance to accumulate.  Baby wipes will work on BOTH painted and wood trim baseboards.  If you are trying to clean up stubborn scuffs and marks on white trim, use Magic Erasers to remove scuffs and dirt.  It works like a champ to remove some of those marks that are a bit more stubborn.

How to Clean White Trim via Clean Mama

I also like to mix up a simple cleaner to spring clean or deep clean those baseboards on occasion. Mix 1/2 cup of Borax with a gallon of water and stir to dissolve. I like to use microfiber cloths as they do a great job at getting in the nooks and crannies of trim, but you can also use a sponge. Wring out your cloth or sponge to remove excess water and wipe baseboards and/or doors to clean. No rinsing required! Wipe your doors from top to bottom and left to right. Keep an old bath towel nearby to put under your bucket to catch errant drips.

NON-PAINTED WOODWORK:

If you are cleaning stained wood trim, you clean and polish it much like you would clean and polish furniture.  I have stained oak trim on the staircases in my home and I use this simple recipe for cleaning it up.  I use microfiber cloths to dust and then apply this polish with the grain and it cleans up in a hurry!  Mix up in a small container and use sparingly – it just mixes up a small amount so no storing is necessary.

CITRUS WOOD CLEANER:

1/4 white vinegar
2 tablespoons almond or fractionated coconut oil
10 drops lemon or orange essential oils (feel free to combine both oils)

CUPBOARDS:

With the heavy use that most kitchens get, it doesn’t take much before cupboards get dirty with fingerprints, food spills and everyday dust and grime. You’ll be surprised at what a good washing can do to clean up your cupboards, no matter what the surface or color. I like to wash the exterior of my cupboards monthly, or as needed. The interiors don’t typically get such a thorough cleaning on a monthly basis, but I like to wipe out crumbs and dust as needed.

How to Clean Cupboards via Clean Mama

I use a great cupboard and cabinet DIY cleaner that is gentle and safe to use on any type of surface. Be sure to give your cloth or sponge a good squeeze in between to assure that the surface doesn’t get overly damp. Again, I like to use microfiber cloths as they do a fantastic job of getting all those fingerprints and all that grime, but you can use a sponge as well. I like to add a little essential oil to freshen up the kitchen, but it’s not a necessity. If you are new to Castile soap, I find it at my Target in the health and beauty department, at Costco and other retailers.

CUPBOARD AND CABINET CLEANER:

8 cups warm water
2 tablespoons liquid Castile soap
3 drops lemon essential oil.

Mix all ingredients in a bucket. Work from top left and scrub your way down to the right using a microfiber cloth or sponge. Be sure to wring out your cloth or sponge frequently and well.

Keep an eye out for more of your cleaning questions and conundrums to be answered in upcoming posts!

If you like these recipes, you will LOVE my book, The Organically Clean Home!

You might also like this post with some of my favorite dusting and furniture cleaning essentials:

Dusting and Furniture Care Essentials - Clean Mama

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Simplify the Season : How to Clean Baking Sheets + Pans in 5 Minutes

How to Clean Baking Pans in 5 Minutes via Clean Mama

I’m gearing up for some major baking this month, if you are too, this post is for you.  I took inventory of my baking sheets and pans and realized that my baking pans looked pretty pitiful.  Lots of baked on stains – they’re clean, but the stainless steel was nothing close to appetizing.  I tried a couple solutions I found online and nothing worked, so I came up with my own simple ‘remedy’ to clean them.  Two ingredients and a little elbow grease cleaned them up in a couple minutes.  Easy peasy.  (Please note: this is NOT for coated or non-stick baking sheets and pans.)

Here’s what you need to clean your baking sheets and pans:

  • Bon Ami powder (you can try baking soda too, but the Bon Ami worked a little more quickly and effectively for my icky pans)
  • Aluminum Foil – crumpled up (I use aluminum foil to clean glass baking dishes with caked on food, so I thought it might be a workable fix and it is!)
  • Paper towels
  • Water to make a paste

Gather your ingredients and follow these super simple steps:

Simple Steps to Clean Baking Pans via Clean Mama

Wash thoroughly with soap and water and repeat if necessary and start baking!

Wash with Soap + Water via Clean Mama

And because everyone loves a good before and after….

Baking Pans Before + After via Clean Mama

This post is part of a series designed to help you Simplify the Season. You can see all the posts here.

Simplify the Season via Clean Mama

HOMEKEEPING SOCIETY BUTTON

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The Germiest Places in Your Kitchen + How to Clean Them {Part 1}

When you think about the germiest places in your kitchen, what comes to mind first?  Cutting boards, sinks and handles topped my guesses and perhaps yours as well. You may be as surprised as I was to learn that none of these even made the list while some unexpected sources did.  If the thought of household pathogens like E. Coli, listeria, yeast and mold make your skin crawl, rest assured that eliminating these suspects is easy, takes only minutes and involves no toxic cleaners, chemicals or a haz-mat suit.

Today we will be focusing on the appliance that has earned the dubious prestige of having not one, but FOUR of the most bacteria laden spots in the kitchen – the refrigerator and freezer.  Friday, I’ll share the other areas in your kitchen that could use a little attention as we work together to give bacteria and other unhealthy little buggers the boot.  Food borne illnesses caused by E.coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and mold and yeast are common yet thankfully preventable.  Let’s focus on that today while we take some time to rid our kitchen of these pests.

My favorite refrigerator and freezer cleaning tools?  Warm water, dish soap, and a clean dish rag.

1. Ice Dispenser:

The ice dispenser is also a favorite hang-out for yeast and mold. For this one, empty out all the ice and wipe down the interior of the dispenser with mild detergent or dish soap and warm water and follow it up by wiping it down with a clean damp cloth to remove any soap residue.

2. Refrigerator Meat Drawer:

While this is probably not surprising, the meat and cheese drawer in your fridge also ranks in the top germiest places in your kitchen.  Remove it, wash with warm water and a mild dish soap and put it back when it’s completely dry.  If you can’t remove the drawer, wash with your soapy cloth and wipe clean.  (If you’re anything like me, you might need to empty and wipe out the entire refrigerator if you’ve gotten this far.)

3. Refrigerator Produce Drawer:

To clean your produce drawer, follow the same procedure as cleaning your meat drawer.  Remove it from your fridge if possible and wash with warm water and a mild dish soap. To control odors, use a solution of baking soda and warm water: one or two tablespoons soda per quart of water. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry completely before putting it back.

 

4. Water Dispenser:

This one may surprise you as it is one of those spots you may not hit when you clean your kitchen. The spout especially on the water dispenser is a great host for mold and yeast. To clean the spout, you could use a small (clean) scrub brush  dipped in vinegar and take care to clean both the interior and exterior of the spout.  I used a clean dish cloth dipped in vinegar and wiped the spout first and then rest of the dispenser.  After cleaning, run the water for a bit to get rid of any excess vinegar residue.

I’ll be back Friday with 5 more of the germiest places in your kitchen.  Have a few extra minutes today?  Do a little clean-up on your refrigerator and freezer!

(germiest places information via NSF website)

 

 

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Overwhelmed? Find success in your homekeeping with my latest book, Simply Clean! Dismiss