It is important for your family’s health to keep your kitchen as clean as you possibly can.
General kitchen hygiene
Always thoroughly wash your hands before handling any food, and after handling raw meat and poultry. After getting a meal or washing-up, wash down work surfaces, preferably adding 1 tablespoon of washing soda to the water. Line pedal bins with newspapers or use plastic bin-liners. Strain liquids off refuse, and wrap in newspaper before putting in the bin. After emptying the bin, wash it out with a solution of household disinfectant or bleach. Allow to dry. In hot weather, use a disinfectant powder in your dustbins, which should be kept as clean as possible.
Keep vegetables dry and well-ventilated, and occasionally wash out their container with a weak solution of bicarbonate of soda. Rinse well, and allow to dry. Do not allow stale bread to accumulate, and wash out the bread bin once a week with a weak solution of bicarbonate of soda. Rinse, and allow to dry before putting any bread back. Defrost and clean your fridge regularly.
Clean out food cupboards regularly, brushing out loose crumbs, then wiping out with a weak solution of bicarbonate of soda, and allowing to dry before putting back the food. Keep your cooker clean, as described under appliances.
Pour a little neat bleach down the sink every day, and once a week pour a little bleach or household disinfectant down the outside drain. If you cannot leave washing-up to drain dry, use a clean tea towel every day; change your kitchen hand towel regularly. Sterilise dishcloths regularly. Allow them to soak overnight in a weak solution of bleach, then rinse very well. Or boil them for 10 minutes with enough soap powder to give a good lather.
Clean out pet bowls after every meal, washing them separately from the family dishes. Scald them, or sterilise them with a weak solution of a disinfectant recommended as a mouthwash, rinse well and allow to dry.
Plastic laminate work surfaces and cabinet fronts
Wipe up spills as soon as they happen to avoid permanent stains. Blackcurrant juice, hair dyes and paint stripper, in particular, should be removed immediately. For general cleaning, wash down with warm water and a few drops of washing-up liquid. Rinse well. Or use an aerosol cleaner/polisher. These are the only treatments recommended for glossy laminates. On matt laminates, cream cleaners can be used to remove stains, but rub very gently, as even these are abrasive. On cupboard fronts, you can use a general purpose aerosol cleaner/polisher.
On very stubborn stains, try the following. Take half a cup of bicarbonate of soda and fill up with water, mix to a paste and 121 apply to the stain then cover with a piece of polythene. Leave for a couple of hours, then rinse off. Alternatively, you can use a mild solution of hydrogen peroxide. But do not leave on laminate for longer than two minutes and be sure to rinse off very well. To remove spills from textured laminates, use a fine stiff-bristled brush with a solution of warm water and washing-up liquid, then rinse off’ well.
Enamel sinks can be cleaned with a cream household cleaner. You can use diluted household bleach on obstinate marks, if necessary allowing the solution to stand in the sink overnight. Special stain removers for sinks and baths are available from hardware stores. Or you can try making up a paste of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide. Scrub onto stain, then rinse off’. Clean stainless steel sinks with washing-up liquid or with a cream cleaner. Do not use household bleach if possible; if you must, always be sure to rinse it oftvery thoroughly, as it can corrode your sink. Salt or undissolved detergent powders can cause pitting: rinse them off’ at once. Beware of silver-dipping solutions which can cause marks which are impossible to remove. If you have a very badly stained old sink, try using a special metal cleaner obtainable from motor car accessory shops.
Cleaning methods vary according to type. New pans should be ‘conditioned’ according to the instructions supplied by manufacturers – usually this involves a coating of cooking oil. In general, most pans can be cleaned in hot water with washing-up liquid; soaking will remove hardened or obstinate food deposits. Burnt pans can be boiled up with a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice, or you can try soaking the saucepan in.1 biological detergent.
Non-stick pans. Never use metal utensils, and keep the pans scrupulously clean, as burnt-on food particles will destroy the finish. Soak off food deposits, and only scour if absolutely necessary, rubbing gently with a nylon pad, not metal scourers.
Badly discoloured pans can be one-third filled with water plus half a cup of laundry detergent and boiled-up. Wash well afterwards, rinse thoroughly and then re-oil.
Aluminium pans can be scoured with wire wool. Do not use copper scouring pads, and do not soak in washing soda solutions: both of these can set up harmful reactions. Although aluminium discolours fairly easily, the discolouration is not harmful. To brighten up the insides of pans, simmer a solution of vinegar, or an acid fruit such as rhubarb. Try to avoid leaving food in these pans, as to do so can cause pitting ol the metal. Scour stainless steel pans with nylon pads, but avoid using metal scourers. Soak burnt deposits for as little time as possible as the metal may become pitted. Rub the pans with vinegar to remove the blue marks caused by overheating; polish up the outsides with a stainless steel cleaner.
Cast-iron pans should always be dried at once, as they can rust, unless they have a protective coating. If uncoated, rub them over with a little cooking oil, or grease with a butter paper, to prevent rusting during storage.
Copper pans need careful looking-after. Most are lined, usually with tin. Avoid overheating which can damage the lining, and for the same reason, scour as little and as gently as possible. On the outside, you can use a copper cleaner, or rub with a cut lemon dipped in salt. But some copper preserving pans are unlined, as are copper mixing bowls. Before you use them, scrub them very thoroughly with salt and cut lemons until all traces of discoloration have vanished. Then wash in hot water, and dry before using.
Enamel pans need gentle treatment to avoid chipping or scratching the enamel coating. Always soak off any stubborn or burnt deposits, and use a nylon scourer, not a metal one. Use a solution of biological washing powder to remove stains. The same treatment can be applied to ceramic glass cookware.
It is important to keep your kitchen clean, not only to maintain its attractive appearance, but also for reasons of hygiene. Basic cooking equipment is available in a wide variety of materials, all of which need different treatments to keep them fresh and new looking Tinware usually has a base of mild steel which will rust if the tin coating is scratched, so always soak off burnt deposits and avoid scourers and abrasive cleaners. Very badly discoloured items can be boiled up in a washing-soda solution. Dry well before storing.
Wooden draining boards should be scrubbed daily with cold salt water. Keep wooden chopping boards scrupulously clean, scrubbing after use with a solution of hot water containing a little dissolved scouring powder. Rinse well and stand on edge to dry.
Woodware such as salad bowls and platters should not be washed unless absolutely necessary; wipe clean with paper towels after use, and oil with olive oil if necessary.
Any marks can usually be removed by rubbing with fine steel wool moistened with a little olive oil. Never leave wood-ware to soak in water.
Cutlery should always be washed as soon as possible as food deposits can cause pitting. Do not wash in a dishwasher unless specifically recommended by the cutlery manufacturer. Polish silver, stainless steel and bronze with appropriate branded cleaners. Sec also notes on Cleaning metals.
You can buy stain removers for stained chinaware from hardware shops. Or try rubbing with a cloth dipped in bicarbonate of soda, or soak overnight in a washing soda solution.
Glassware should be washed separately from other items to minimise chipping.
Always wash by hand fine crystal and cut glass; everyday tumblers can usually go in a dishwasher, but check with the maker’s recommendations. Glasses used for milk or for alcohol should be rinsed out in cold water before washing in warm water with detergent. Stained or cloudy glass can be soaked overnight in water to which has been added 2 teaspoons of ammonia; hardwater stains on glass can sometimes be removed by soaking in distilled water. Impregnated silver wadding will also shift some stains. Stained decanters can be half-filled with vinegar, plus 1 tablespoon of cooking salt. Add raw rice grains, and swill mixture round vigorously. Rinse out well.