Cleaning can be a chore year round — but in the summer months, it can feel especially dispiriting to stay inside scrubbing when you’d rather be outside enjoying the sun. Fortunately, you can tidy up your kitchen and leave it smelling fresh in just an hour using these five easy cleaning tips. Employ the following kitchen cleaning hacks and get out in the sunshine sooner.
Use leftover lemon peels for scouring and scent
After squeezing your lemons for fresh lemonade or other citrus recipes, put those leftover peels to work. Noell Jett, who regularly shares cleaning hacks and organization tips on her TikTok account, recommends dipping your peels in baking soda and scouring your dishes and stainless steel sink with them. When you’re done, put the peels down the disposal for a citrusy, fresh smell. “You can also place your peels in a microwave safe bowl with 1 cup each of vinegar and water, put the bowl in the microwave on high for 2 minutes, then let it sit an additional 5 minutes to allow the steam to permeate the [microwave’s] stains and odors,” Jett shares with First For Women. Finally, remove the bowl and wipe your microwave clean using a microfiber towel.
Tackle your fridge
Summer heat can force your refrigerator to work overtime, so Jett says now is the perfect time to ensure that it’s clean and there’s nothing stuck in the vent or coils. Start by unplugging the fridge and pulling it off the wall. Next, sweep up any loose debris or crumbs, and “prepare a solution of mild dish, vinegar, and warm water,” says Jett. “Wipe down the walls, baseboards, and floor with your cleaning solution and a bar mop cloth. Remove the grille or vent cover from your fridge, located at the base or on the back, and carefully vacuum to remove any dust that has accumulated on your coils.” Finally, plug the fridge back in and push it back into place.
Freshen up your cutting boards
Summertime means incorporating a lot of fresh veggies and fruits into your cooking — so your cutting boards are probably going to go through a lot of use. Take a moment to sanitize and freshen them up for the season. Begin by scrubbing the boards with hot soapy water, then rinse thoroughly. Next, Jett suggests sprinkling them liberally with coarse salt and baking soda, and scouring using half of a lemon. “Let the juice squeeze out to form a paste,” Jett recommends. “Then let this mixture sit for five minutes and scrape it off into your sink or trash can. Let the boards dry, then seal them with a natural oil.”
Scrub your waste bins
The heat of summer means a higher chance of fruit flies and odors lingering in your kitchen, so keeping your trash cans clean and sanitized is an important step to ensure a nice-smelling, pest-free kitchen. Begin by taking out your trash bags and removing any visible food or trash that has slipped past the liners. Take your cans outside if possible, and rinse them with your garden hose. If this isn’t possible, you can use your shower — just make sure to disinfect it afterwards, Jett advises.
“Spray down the cans with a mixture of 1 cup of warm water, 4 cups of vinegar, and about ½ cup of dish soap. Use a scrub brush — my favorite is the Rubbermaid Reveal Scrubber (Buy it from Amazon, $19.99) — or you could keep a toilet bowl brush specifically for this task, and scrub your trash can inside and out,” Jett says. Finally, rinse your trash cans clean, making sure not to allow the run-off near any plants if you’re outdoors. To sanitize, spray with your favorite disinfectant and let sit for the recommended amount of time before rinsing clean. Let the can air dry, then sprinkle a little baking soda in the bottom before replacing the liner — this will help keep it smelling fresh until your next deep clean.
Wipe down your cabinetry
If your kids are home for the summer, you might notice your cabinet doors looking a little worse for the wear thanks to all the extra hands reaching for snacks and drinks throughout the day. To wipe down your cabinetry, Jett suggests filling a mop bucket with half warm water and half vinegar, plus a squirt of dish soap. “I like to use the O’Cedar spin mop (Get it from Amazon, $32.97) with a clean mop head for this, as it wrings out the extra liquid,” Jett shares. “Use your mop to wipe down your cabinetry, starting from the top and working your way down. If there are any extra grimy areas, spray some Dawn Power Wash and let it soak in for a few minutes before scrubbing. Use an old toothbrush or Rubbermaid Reveal Scrubber to get into any crevices and around your knobs and pulls. Use a bar mop cloth to wipe up any visible drips to prevent warping.”
Stand back, appreciate your shiny cabinetry (plus the clean fridge, waste bins, cutting boards, and microwave) and head outside to enjoy your day!