Your kitchen has the capacity to be a bacteria-growing, mold-infesting pit. It has the power to make your entire family very sick if it’s not cleaned properly. To prevent this from happening, you should also perform regular deep cleaning.

1. Walls and Ceilings

Over time, the walls and ceilings in your kitchen can become caked with grease and dirt. Cleaning them regularly to avoid buildup is best. If it’s been awhile, use a method of cleaning that won’t take the paint off.

Create your own cleaning mixture of warm water and a few drops of dish detergent. You can also add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar if you don’t mind the smell. Gently scrub the walls with a soft sponge to work through tough grease.

2. Tile and Grout

You probably wipe down your backsplashes and mop your tile floors, but when was the last time you cleaned the grout? These divots are the perfect places for grease, dirt, and bacteria to build up.

Apply grout cleaner according to directions. It can be purchased over the counter or made with hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and baking soda. Let the product sit on the grout for 10 minutes or so. Scrub with a toothbrush until it’s clean.

Sometimes, your tile and grout will be beyond your help with stains or sticky goo that won’t come off. Consider hiring professional help for a deeper and long-lasting clean.

3. Kitchen Sink

According to research, your kitchen sink is probably dirtier than the average toilet seat. All the moisture collected in sponges, dishcloths, standing water, and dishes piled up in your sink is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Most people rinse out their sinks when they’re done doing dishes or preparing food, but when’s the last time that you cleaned and sanitized your sink?

Use an all-purpose spray, dish soap, or other bacteria-killing formulas to sanitize your sink at least once per day. Also, don’t store wet sponges and rags in the sink. Hang them up to dry to avoid breeding bacteria.

4. Toe-Kicks

The toe-kicks of your cabinets are another commonly-ignored part of your kitchen. The toe-kick is the section of board underneath your cupboards between the floor and the bottom of the cupboard. If you were to put your foot underneath the space of the cabinet, your toe would hit this board, hence the name.

Because you can’t see it from most standing positions in the kitchen, these toe-kicks and the space in front of them probably don’t get cleaned often. It’s tricky to get a broom and mop under there, but food and dirt collects just the same.

At least once a month or so, get down on your hands and knees to clean this bacteria-collecting space. A rag and soapy water should do the trick, but you might need something stronger, like vinegar, if there’s a lot of built-up grime under there.

5. Appliances

Pay special attention to your appliances, as they have the most interaction with your food. Don’t forget the exteriors, including the coils and tops. Here are some tips for cleaning the interiors:

  • Stovetop: Gas stoves are easiest to clean. Oven spray will loosen cooked-on food. If you have a coil stove-top, you may need to replace drip pans, as they’re unlikely to come clean with cooked-on food. Cover them in tin-foil in the future to prevent them being ruined. Flat-top stoves should only be cleaned with a soft cloth and flat-top stove cleaner.

  • Oven: Use a no-fume oven spray to loosen cooked-on grease inside your oven. Brillo pads or steel wool will scrape away any stubborn bits and clean the racks. Use Windex or rubbing alcohol to wipe away oven spray residue. You don’t want the fumes baking into your food!

  • Refrigerator: Rather than using Windex for the glass and plastic of your refrigerator, use hot, soapy water. It works best to take out each piece and wash it in the sink.

  • Dishwasher: Sprinkle baking soda into the bottom of the appliance and place a cup of vinegar in a glass measuring cup in the top rack. Run a full cycle. Your dishwasher interior will be squeaky clean!

  • Microwave: Pour a quarter cup of lemon juice into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for three minutes. Cooked-on food will wipe right off, and your microwave will smell fresh and clean.

Your kitchen should be deep-cleaned at least a couple of times per year for optimum health and safety. Hopefully, these tips can help you keep it clean!