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Skinnygirl Solutions: How to Clean Your Kitchen Like a Pro

Your kitchen shouldn’t just be clean for looks. You’re making food here, so this should be one of the most hygienic areas in the house. Instead, it can be one of the dirtiest because grime, grease, and old food can build up in the cracks and drains.

Instead of cleaning once a week, do it as you go. Every time you cook, sweep the floor and run the mop over it. It will take you three minutes. Wipe down the counters and cabinet fronts and rinse down the sink. If you stay on top of the grease, you’ll never have to waste a whole weekend on your knees scrubbing a greasy kitchen floor. There are better things to do on your knees.

Refrigerator: The cold, hard truth is that people will judge you on your disgusting refrigerator. I was once at the home of a very successful television actress, and I just happened to get a look inside her refrigerator. I was horrified that it was filled with slimy rotting vegetables. Just because you have money doesn’t mean you have your act together, and by the same token, anyone of any income level can have a clean, neat refrigerator. Every day, wipe down the front and handles. About once a month, clean out the entire refrigerator and scrub it down. Take all the condiments out — I guarantee there are rings under them. If you have a stainless steel refrigerator, you have to get the grease off or it will look smudged. Try wiping it down with bleach wipes or baby wipes, then, once it’s completely grease free, polish it with a few drops of olive oil or mineral oil.

Floors: Try to sweep and damp-mop every time you cook, but at least once a week get into the corners. Grease and grime collect and you won’t notice it until you look. A scrubber with a sharp edge or even an old toothbrush will do the trick. Between more serious floor-cleaning sessions, clean up any spills or stains on your floor with a rag or bleach wipe as soon as you notice them. If you keep wipes under your sink, they will always be accessible.

Pantry: Take everything out of your cabinets and wipe down the shelves. Rings and debris can collect under the jars, things might have spilled that you didn’t notice, and it gets dusty in there.

Dishwasher: It might seem counterintuitive to clean an appliance that cleans your dishes, but dishwashers can collect dirt, old food, and bacteria if they aren’t regularly cleaned. About once every two to three months, put in a cup of white vinegar and run it while it’s empty.

Stove: Wipe it down after every use. It’s disgusting after cooking just one thing. Trust me. Even if you don’t see the grease and food residue, it’s there. Don’t forget the splash guards and knobs. If you wipe it down every time, it won’t build up and make your friends raise their eyebrows or throw up in their mouths when they come into your kitchen.

Cabinets and Walls: People sometimes forget the walls, but somehow, food gets on them. I don’t remember flinging wine or coffee or applesauce around the kitchen, but the little splatters prove somebody did it, and hardened applesauce is not easy to remove from a wall. Every single time you see anything splattered on any wall in your home, stop whatever you are doing and go wipe it off. Food will get on your walls, but food should not be permitted to hang out on your walls. Make it a point to step back and really look around with an eye for where the dirt is.

This is an excerpt from Skinnygirl Solutions by Bethenny Frankel, available on Amazon.com.