Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series four stories focusing on the best way to tackle the spring-cleaning process.
The sunshine of spring is peeking through homes across North Georgia and revealing messes that piled up during the winter. That means one thing: It’s time for spring cleaning.
And as kitchens are important rooms in Southern homes, let’s start there first.
Between regular food preparation and the subsequent messes, cleaning it can seem like a daunting task.
Even so, it can and should be done, said Steven Andrande, co-owner of Fresh Maids in Gainesville. His first step for tackling the kitchen is devising a game plan.
“Make yourself a list and assign certain things to be done on different days,” Andrande said. “Don’t kill yourself doing all the work at once, because cleaning a kitchen can last at least three to four hours doing a good, detailed cleaning.”
Andrande and his wife, Katy Calderon, have been serving the North Georgia area for four years. His cleaning team has grown, but cleaning kitchens can even take days even for them, he said.
“Trust me, when you deep clean a kitchen in spring, including refrigerators and ovens and cabinet washing, you’ll want to do those on separate days,” he said.
“You can do it in three days, slowly and surely, or you can do it in five hours on one day if you’re really motivated.”
Another kitchen task people forget about during the year is cleaning the floor, he said. This makes it a more difficult chore come spring.
“When some people mop, they don’t realize they’ll push dirt around if they don’t clean from the corners first,” he said. “We recommend getting the corners by hand so you don’t get that build up.”
Another area needing regular upkeep before a spring cleaning overhaul is the refrigerator. Environmental Health specialist for the Hall County Department of Health, Laurie Wentworth, said without fridge cleanouts, cross-contamination is a possibility.
“Clean it once every few weeks,” she said. “Clean up any fridge spills with hot, soapy water.”
She explained hot, soapy water is a good cleaning solution, but for sanitizing, a stronger mix is needed.
“A sanitizing solution is a tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of tepid water,” Wentworth said. “Use it after you’ve washed and rinsed something, and then let it air dry and blot it with a paper towel.”
Wentworth recommends paper towel over sponges or cloth towels for cleaning because sponges are notorious for trapping food particles and growing bacteria.
Joyce Hannah, a cleaner with Flowery Branch’s American Maid Cleaning Service, doesn’t mind cloth towels, but uses them only for cabinets and countertops.
“If you’ve got granite countertops, use regular soap and water,” Hannah said. “Then go wipe it down with a microfiber rag. They’ll shine just beautiful(ly).”
For the exterior of wooden cabinets, Hannah said she swears by a product called Cabinet Magic.
For the insides, wipe with a damp cloth, she said, but only after you’ve taken care of the fine china.
“Don’t forget to take your dishes and plates out; wash those well in the dishwasher,” she said. “And you don’t have to do this all the time, maybe once a year just for spring cleaning.”