A cleaning cloth should be rinsed and hung or laid out flat after every use to avoid the warm, damp surface becoming a breeding ground for microbes.
The best way to sanitise cleaning cloths is to regularly run them through a hot cycle in the washing machine. You can pre-soak stained or really dirty cleaning cloths in a bucket containing a couple of capfuls of household bleach – but make sure you rinse them thoroughly before putting in the wash. Hang to dry outside if you can. This goes for traditional dishcloths and microfibre cloths as well.
How to sanitise your sponges
For best results, clean your sponges a few times a week; otherwise you’ll have an increased risk of bacteria growth, not to mention a bad smell at the sink! There are several effective ways to do this:
You can place your sponge in with a normal cycle on your dishwasher if you have one, as the hot temperatures will kill any germs.
Or wash the sponge in the sink with some very hot water and anti-bacterial detergent, working it into the sponge with your hands and then rinsing. Follow with a soak in a very weak solution of bleach and water (a gallon hot water and a tablespoon of bleach) and leave to soak for an hour. Then rinse.
Alternatively, place a wet sponge in the microwave and zap it on a high setting for two minutes. Make sure there are not any fragments of metal embedded in the sponge, and use caution with this method, as the sponge could burn if it's not properly dampened. Also take care when removing the sponge, as it will be very hot! This is a popular solution, as it is quick and effective.
General tips on looking after cleaning tools
If you're waiting to wash a load of cleaning cloths, store them in a plastic container with a lid, so that they don't cause the kitchen to smell.
Don't like the smell of bleach or strong cleaner? Use a few drops of vinegar on a sponge to get rid of any odours.
Dishwashing brushes are generally considered the most hygienic option for cleaning dishes, as they are easier to rinse as you go, and dry off quite quickly. These should still be sanitised frequently by soaking in a weak bleach solution.
If you're using a microfibre cloth, consider cleaning it after every use to get the best results.
The main thing to remember is to squeeze as much water as you can from all your cleaning tools and allow them space to dry properly. Don't give those germs any damp crevices to hide in!
How to Clean Kitchen Appliances: Microwave and other Kitchen Appliances
For most household appliances – like blenders or toasters – you’ll need the following:
A couple of microfibre cloths.
A spray container filled with water mixed with lemon juice or white vinegar.
Make sure you unplug all appliances before cleaning.
The process of cleaning any appliance in the kitchen is relatively simple:
Spray the cloth and wipe down the surface of the appliance.
If you’re cleaning an appliance with a removable part for catching crumbs or other waste food, remove it and clean it thoroughly.
For items like toasters (which have a tendency to accumulate debris), shake them out over the bin. Do not get the heating elements of the toaster wet.
Dislodge anything in hard to reach places using a dry toothbrush.
Remember to always check information from the manufacturer for guidance.
How to Clean a Microwave
Does the inside of your microwave need to be cleaned? Here’s one way to clean your microwave.
A bowl of water with a tablespoon of white vinegar.
A lemon, sliced into two halves.
Washing up liquid
Remove any plates and movable parts from the microwave and wash these separately, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
Put the bowl with vinegar in the microwave.
Microwave for about five minutes (depending on the power setting).
Wipe out the inside of the microwave with a microfibre cloth – be careful, as the bowl and the water will be hot!
The vinegary steam will loosen any dirt on the microwave’s inside.
Next (or as an alternative), chop your lemon in half and microwave it for a minute or two.
The microwaved lemon and vinegar will kill off any germs lurking amongst the dirt, and loosen up anything too badly carbonised. The lemon will also nicely scent the inside of your microwave for you.
To keep your fridge smelling fresh
Cut a lemon in half and scoop out the flesh. Fill the lemon with table salt. Place it in the egg tray of the fridge - it will remove any odours that linger!
Remove onion odour
After chopping an onion, remove the onion odour from your hands by rubbing them across a metal kitchen tap/faucet. Works like a charm.
Glass cleaner / baby oil
Glass cleaner is great for making ultra shiny black granite worktops and baby oil is great for shining up the stainless steel cookers etc.
Use sparingly as furniture polish and fingerprint remover for stainless steel.
Use bread soda to keep sink drains smelling sweet
Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to the drain and run warm water for a couple minutes. This will help keep your drains from becoming stinky.
Use a box of bread soda to help deodorize the refrigerator
Be sure to change the box about every month or so to maintain the deodorizing effect.
Prevent Damp odours
Three or four cubes of sugar in a suitcase before storing it will help prevent damp odors.
To remove red wine stains
For removing red wine stains, or red stains from a fruit like a plum, simply use either white wine, or white wine vinegar.
Sugar is an abrasive and if you have very dirty, greasy, or oily hands, rubbing them with sugar will clean them.