Spring Clean Your Kitchen

In addition to warmer temperatures, blooming flowers and greener grass, the arrival of spring also means it is time for spring cleaning. While you are cleaning out the dust and other items that have accumulated over the long winter, don’t forget the kitchen. To prevent foodborne illness, it is important to keep your kitchen clean year-round, but spring is a good time to give your kitchen a little extra TLC. Follow these tips to help you get your kitchen sparkling clean for spring: 

  • Clean all counters, work surfaces and appliances with hot, soapy water to remove food particles and spills.
  • Throw out or wash dirty sponges. To properly clean your sponges, you can wash them in the hot cycle of your washing machine or dishwasher or you can sanitize them in a chlorine bleach solution using one teaspoon of bleach added to one quart of water – then rinse thoroughly before using again. 
  • Clean out your pantry. Throw away any canned goods that show signs of bulging, denting or leaking. As a general rule, canned goods can be kept up to 12 months unopened. 

Refrigerator Cleaning Tips:

  • Check to ensure the internal temperature of the refrigerator is in the safe zone between 34 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The thermometer should be set it in the center of the middle shelf, not on the door. Adjust the settings on your refrigerator temperature control dial accordingly.
  • Wipe down the inside of your refrigerator (including shelves and drawers) using a clean sponge and warm soapy water. Rinse with clean water, then dry with paper towels or a clean cloth. Avoid using cleaners that may pass on taste to food or cause damage to surfaces.
  • Eliminate odors between cleanings by placing an opened box of baking soda in the back of the fridge. Change the box every three months.
  • Remove dust from the front grill to allow free airflow to the condenser for best cooling and efficiency. Also, clean the condenser coils with a brush or vacuum. Make sure to unplug the refrigerator when cleaning the coils.
  • Throw away old or spoiled foods. Check expiration dates to help determine which foods should be disposed of, but when in doubt, throw it out. "Use by" or "best if used by" date is not a safety-related date. It's the last date recommended for use of the product at optimal quality. "Expiration" date means don't consume the product after this date. 

Source: www.homefoodsafety.org   

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