A step by step guide to cleaning the kitchen
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If you look around your kitchen and feel overwhelmed by crowded worktops, greasy cooker hoods and overflowing cupboards, try our one step at a time cleaning plan.
It looked glorious when you first moved in or had a new kitchen. But maybe life's taken over and your kitchen is not looking great.
'Keeping your kitchen clean and clutter free is the key to keeping that 'new kitchen' look,' says Edward Hill, general manager of Kestrel Kitchens in Great Plumstead, near Norwich.
'One of the best way to achieve this is at the design stage making sure your kitchen is designed around you and your family and how you use your kitchen. It is key to make sure you get the right level of storage space for your needs. Some of the traditional storage methods are the most effective, such as larder units where you can keep the groceries hidden away as well somewhere to put the toaster hidden away when you're not using it.
'There are also modern kitchen features that help declutter the kitchen such as boiler water taps which makes the long standing kettle something of the past and wireless charging points built into the underside of your worktop which mean you can do away with all those annoying phone cables,' says Edward, adding that bespoke furniture maker Kestrel can make any size cabinet for any space.
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And so to clean...
Clear the worktops. If everything is on the worktops because it won't fit in a cupboard, put it all in a box for now so you can get started – it can be rearranged later.
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Spray and wipe down the windowsills, then worksurfaces, cupboard and drawer fronts. Try using half water, half white vinegar in a spray bottle plus a soft cloth as your cleaner. White vinegar is more acidic so better than malt vinegar for cleaning – and less smelly too.
Clean the sink, windows and draining board with the same solution. Draping a cloth soaked in white vinegar around taps and on draining boards for a few minutes should help dissolve hard water stains.
Wipe the fridge door and handle and microwave outside and dials with the same solution.
Unplug the extractor at the mains and don't clean when it's hot, although grease can be more easily removed when it's a little warm. Remove the outer cover and soak in a warm solution of washing up liquid and water, the grease should be easily brushed off after a few minutes. Wipe the hood with washing up liquid solution – it may take a few goes.
Clean the inside of the microwave by adding lemon or a few tablespoons of vinegar to a bowl of water and heating until the water boils and the microwave is full of steam. Leave to cool for five to ten minutes. The steam should have loosened dried on stains and removed smells. Wipe dry.
De-scale the kettle by filling with vinegar and boiling. Rinse well and boil fresh water to remove the vinegar tang.
If the grill in a single oven isn't used regularly, grease can build up around the grill element. Try turning on the grill for a couple of minutes while serving food. This should burn off the fat sticking to it.
Stained glass oven doors can be scraped carefully with a wall paper scraper, or a halogen hob scraper which are designed not to scratch. The door should be able to be removed by lifting off its hinges at a slight angle.
Clean fly marks off light fittings, walls and ceilings with the white vinegar and water mixture. Use a cloth dipped in this rather than spraying for the light fittings. (If repainting and the fly marks keep showing through, sugar soap the ceiling/wall before repainting.)
Clean the inside of the fridge with unscented cleaner or the white vinegar and water solution. A tray of baking soda in the fridge overnight will absorb unwanted odours.
Wash the floor, then decide what from your box of worktop clutter needs to go back, what you really don't need and if you need your storage solutions re-organising.
Admire your sparkling kitchen - until it's time to cook again!
For more inspiration, check out the digital edition of Beautiful Homes & Gardens.