The 5 Dirtiest Things in Your Kitchen (and How to Clean Them)
Ew, your oven hood
Whoa, your kitchen is in serious need of a detox. But where to start? We checked in with Melissa Homer, the chief cleaning officer for MaidPro, to find out which five things are the absolute dirtiest—and how to restore them to pristine condition quick.
It’s the place where you rinse the raw meat juice off your cutting board and leave your cast iron skillet to soak. It’s also the place that stays dark, damp and dirty all night. While clean, dry stainless steel is resistant to germ growth, damp and dirty stainless steel is another story. A good rule of thumb: If you want your sink to stay as sanitary as it is sparkly, spray it down with your favorite disinfecting all-purpose cleaner (like this one from Method) once the dishes are done.
Your Kitchen Sponge
Just like your sink, it’s basically a germ jamboree. Sponges are notorious for absorbing and retaining food debris even after your soak them in soapy water and rinse them out. Your best bet for a clean, fresh start is to actually toss it on the upper shelf of your dishwasher whenever you run a load. (Just be sure to give it a good squeeze first.) The high heat and steam dry are usually enough to kill any germs. Another option for in between washings: Invest in an elevated sponge holder so that guy can properly drain and dry.
Sure, you know how to make cacio e pepe by heart, but for everything else, you’re constantly scrolling through step-by-step recipe instructions using your (now) food-covered phone. Give it a good wipe-down after you cook by spritzing a soft microfiber towel lightly with disinfecting all-purpose cleaner and going over it—front and back. (A trick: You want to limit the moisture since it’s an electronic device, but if you leave your phone just the slightest bit damp when you’re done, the disinfectant will evaporate and, in the process, sanitize your phone.)
Your Kitchen Baseboards
The thing about baseboards is that it’s easy to forget they exist. In the kitchen, that’s especially problematic because—thanks to all those cooking vapors—they are literally caked with dirt. A plan of attack: Use your kitchen sponge to gently scrub them with warm water and dish soap. (You can also use a Magic Eraser to buff out any scuffs.) Then, going forward, wipe them down on the regular using a microfiber cloth dampened with an all-purpose cleaner.
Your Oven Hood
Hoods are great for venting smells to the outside. But, unfortunately, the constant heating and recoating of grease creates a surprisingly stubborn coating that feels impossible to remove. To break through, you’ll need a quality degreaser that’s safe for stainless steel. (Be careful, as all degreasers have solvents in them—aka paint thinner—and range in strength from mild to strip-the-paint-off-your-wall wild.) Spray down the hood (avoiding any painted areas or wood surfaces) and let it sit a few minutes before scrubbing with the more abrasive side of your kitchen sponge.