Cleaning the Kitchen au Natural

Photo by brad montgomery

Sadly, this is not a post about scouring the stove in the nude. Not today, anyway. Instead it’s about using natural cleaners in the kitchen, which isn’t quite as exciting as nude stove cleaning, but it’s still pretty exciting.

While I’ve been using natural cleansers for a long time, what I’d really like to accomplish is a cleaning arsenal made from regular household items. But does that vinegar and baking soda stuff really work? I conducted a little experiment in my kitchen to find out.


The motivation:
Sanitize. A wipe down with water and a sponge takes care of food remnants, but what about the germs?

The cleanser:
Vinegar + Water dispensed from a spray bottle (roughly half and half, but a bit more water than vinegar)

But does it work?
Yep, just fine. At least, I think it does. I haven’t done any scientific tests, but we don’t seem to be overrun with salmonella or anything, so I think we’re good. The kitchen does smell a little pickled at first, but the smell fades quickly.


The motivation:
Get rid of gunk gently. My sink is fireclay and the stove top is whatever stove tops are. Both can be scratched, and I don’t want that. But both get absolutely filthy (especially the stove top), and the white fireclay threatens to stain (though it hasn’t yet).

The cleanser:
Baking soda + warm water (enough to make a paste) + a couple drops of liquid soap (free of phosphates, of course), applied to surface and allowed to sit for 5 minutes or so.

But does it work?
Uh… define “work.” It works great on the sink: gets it back to white without much scrubbing effort and rinses off easily because, well, it’s in a sink. But on the stove top, it’s not as effective. It’s a decent scrub for food spills and splatters (like tomato sauce), but not so great at cutting through grease, of which there was plenty. It works, but definitely requires extra elbow grease (though, for the record, my stove top was NASTY when I started this experiment – extra scrubbing would’ve been required even with a traditional cleanser). Also? Rinsing it off the stove top is a bitch. 


The Motivation:
Finger print removal from fridge, oven, and dishwasher.

The cleanser:
Vinegar + lint-free rag

But does it work?
Totally. (I’ve also heard of using olive oil – sparingly – but I found it added as many smears as it got rid of, so I had to go back over it with vinegar anyway. Plus, it’s way more expensive than vinegar.)


The motivation:
Stench removal. My boards take on a permanent onion and/or garlic scent without proper care.

The cleanser:
Lemon juice

But does it work?
Yep, better if you do it regularly. Whenever I’m using lemon for a recipe, I give my boards a quick swipe with the remnants (no need to buy lemons solely for the purpose of washing your boards, unless you wouldn’t otherwise buy them).


The motivation:
Conditioning (lemon juice can be a bit abrasive)

The cleanser (in this case, conditioner):
Olive oil + clean rag

But does it work?
Yep. Don’t bother buying specific cutting board oil. This works just fine.


The motivation:
Stench removal

The cleanser:
Lemon (or other citrus) rinds, thrown down the drain and “disposaled.”

But does it work?
Totally. We compost our food waste, so there’s very little that ends up down the disposal anyway. But throwing a bit of citrus down there and grinding it up makes the sink smell good enough to eat.


The motivation:
Remove food spills and muddy footprints.

The cleanser:
Water. Period.

But does it work?
Absolutely. When we remodeled our kitchen, our contractors talked us into using Marmoleum flooring and I will forever love them for it. It’s eco-friendly, indestructible, and naturally anti-microbial. And, really, it takes nothing more that a quick watery wipe-down to keep it clean. Love.


My next experiment will be the bathroom. Any suggestions?


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Filed under Environment, Home

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