Love your rubber gloves

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I’ll start at the very beginning, so forgive me if this first bit comes across as rather patronising, and skip ahead to the second or third paragraph. This is all about setting up a kitchen for the first time, or giving your routines a complete maekover. On top of the kitchen starter set I recommended in an earlier post, you need to acquire the means of washing dishes (brush, sponge, washing up bowl, washing up liquid) and a dishwasher if you can afford it (the carbon footprint of a dishwasher can work out less than that of manually washing everything, surprisingly enough, and you can also clean and sterilise plastic toys, household goods and baby bottles in them). I have heard of people poaching salmon in them, but you can have too much fun.

The next step is organisation. When storing your kitchen and eating items, keep the pans and cooking tools near the hob, and the crockery and cutlery near the table. Everything should be tidily arranged in the cupboards so you can easily get a side plate or baking tin out, for example, without all its neighbours falling on top of you. Keep like with like, and you will never have a problem finding things.

In terms of kitchen cleaning, a thrifty home manager is going to be doing proper cooking of regular meals, based on the yummy recipes on this site, of course, so with this in mind, you should get the oven and hob into a fit state first of all. The best way of doing this is by using a cleaning product containing potassium hydroxide (left overnight) and nylon pan scourers to remove burnt on grease. You may need to repeat the application of the cleaning product and scrub it off again two or three times the next morning before the oven is fit for purpose. Then finish off by rinsing thoroughly and using cream cleanser and elbow grease on any stubborn spots, before a final rinse and polish. If this is too daunting, you can pay around £50-£100 for a special oven cleaning company to come in and do it for you. The same applies to the extractor fan or cooker hood, if you have one, but if you are doing it yourself, you should use a special grease removal product for this, or distilled white vinegar perhaps, and also change the filter once a month. For the sink, this will probably need daily wiping and weekly descaling with a special product. Everything else in the kitchen benefits from being cleaned with cream cleanser and/or polished with water and a microfibre cloth. The floor should be vacuumed and then mopped once or twice weekly with a weak solution of bleach or washing up liquid (not both at once for fear of a worrying chemical reaction). Simples.



2 thoughts on “Love your rubber gloves

    Virginia said:
    19 March, 2011 at 11:36 am

    A steam cleaner is great for anything to do with grease, as it melts any grease (on walls as well as in ovens), and the jet is high-pressured and loud and dangerous. It’s the only way to make housekeeping exciting enough.

      Sandra Bradley responded:
      25 March, 2011 at 12:25 pm

      I heartily agree, and I possess one myself for a similar purpose. For true entertainment value, however, check out the instruction video that comes with the Polti steam cleaner. Glam Italian chick in full make up cleans everything from windows to car engines without so much as chipping her nail varnish. Wonderful stuff, reminds me of Aurelio Zen’s mother.

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