After we remodeled our kitchen, everything was a dusty mess. While the countertops and appliances looked amazing, it was overwhelming to see the new kitchen dirty, dusty and covered in plastic. From the floors to the ceiling, I had a lot of work to do to transform the newly renovated kitchen of my dreams into a kitchen I could actually cook in—a place where I could serve my family healthy meals.
If you have just remodeled or you’re about to start a big kitchen renovation, here are some pointers for green cleaning your kitchen afterwards to save you time and money. There’s no need to hire someone to come in and clean up the contractor’s dust — you’ve got this!
Clean methodically. Work top to bottom, inside toward the center or from the right in a clockwise motion. The idea is to avoid spreading the dirt and dust around.
Use a natural cleaner. Have your sponges, rags and homemade green cleaning dish soap handy, because all you need is natural soap and some water for the basic cleaning of nearly every kitchen surface. See my favorite green cleaning recipe below.
Sweep first. Do not bother wiping down the kitchen, the sink or any appliances until you’ve done all of the sweeping and vacuuming. Dust will fly around as you sweep and vacuum, so you will just end up having to clean your kitchen twice if you don’t do those first.
A new use for tennis balls. Put a tennis ball on the handle end of your broom and use it to erase any scuff marks on your floor from equipment or moving furniture.
Clean your sink last. After you’re done cleaning everything else, you’ll want to make your new sink nice and shiny. Just sprinkle baking soda in your sink. Cut a lemon, lime or orange in half. Using your half-cut citrus fruit, scrub your sink well. Rinse with hot water and your sink will be clean and shiny. For step-by-step directions, including how to clean other stainless steel appliances, read this article.
Expect some lingering dust. Be prepared to see dust for weeks. Even after you think you’ve cleaned it all, you’ll notice that dust will appear where you may have missed it. Expect this for a few weeks and before you know it, it will be gone. Just keep sweeping, vacuuming and wiping!
• 1 ½ cups of hot water
• 1 Tbsp (or up to ½ cup, depending on preference) of Castile soap, grated
• 1 Tbsp white vinegar
• 1 Tbsp washing soda
• 2-3 drops of tea tree oil
Mix all of the ingredients together in a small pan. When you add in the Castile soap, keep in mind how thick you want your homemade dish soap to be. The less Castile you add, the thicker the dish soap will be.
Add hot water and slowly cook on low until the soap is completely dissolved, stirring continually. Let cool before use. I favor this recipe because it cleans well, smells great and does not have too many suds.
With a good attitude, a great vacuum, and a few rags soaked in your homemade dish soap, you’ll have a clean kitchen in no time at all. The best part of our kitchen remodel is that my home value increased and I now love spending time in my kitchen. It was a huge investment, but every time I see my shiny sink, I know it was worth it.
If you’re thinking about a renovation and not sure where to start, Home Depot and Coldwell Banker’s Ultimate Guide to Planning a Kitchen Remodel can help. For more remodeling inspiration, you can check out this infographic from Home Depot and The Daily Meal.
Sommer Poquette is the Green and Clean Mom who enjoys providing eco-friendly tips for cleanup activities around the home. Sommer’s advice for post-renovation projects will make your kitchen area shine while also reducing your environmental impact. Sommer writes online for The Home Depot, where you can review a wide range of kitchen renovation ideas here. Read all of Sommer's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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