Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Cleaning for the Kitchen—Part 2


Congratulations to our very own Julie Hyzy on her **starred review** for Grace Under Pressure! Way to go, Julie!

Yes, the spring cleaning bug is still in full swing here at the Craig household. And my family is getting seriously tired of it by now! :)

You know how the beginning of a New Year gives you that fresh, starting-out feeling?

I seem to get that same feeling from cleaning, too.

Back to Basics Cleaning Tips!

blog64 Dishwasher—This appliance gets a lot of abuse at our house! It always seems ready to run. One good way to keep it healthy is to run an empty load with either vinegar or baking soda to clean it out.

Disposal—Clean your garbage disposal by pouring a half cup of baking soda into the unit, followed by a cup of white vinegar. Allow it to fizz and clean before flushing the mixture out with a pot of boiling water.

Running ice cubes through the disposal can clean it, too…and keep the blades sharp.

Microwave—Boil a bowl of water and lemon juice or water and baking soda in the microwave. Allow the mixture to sit in the unit for a few minutes to loosen up any stains in the appliance. Then (carefully! It’s been boiling) take out the bowl and wipe down the inside of the microwave.

Sponges—A damp sponge can be microwaved for 1 minute (they’ll be hot—blog62be careful!) to eliminate germs. Or you can run them through the dishwasher (check your manual to make sure this is all right with your model)…or just throw those suckers out and replace them!

The Fridge:

It’s amazing how quickly our refrigerator and freezer can get out of control, fast! Here are some cleaning suggestions to whip them into shape:

Baking soda is your fridge’s best friend! Not only is it inexpensive and not a harsh chemical, but it’s the perfect way to clean and deodorize your refrigerator. Make a paste out of the baking soda and use it to remove food stains. You can also keep an open box in your fridge to help keep it odor-free!

Now that the inside of the fridge is clean, it’s time to clean out the condenser coils for a better-performing appliance. Carefully pull out the refrigerator and unplug it (turn off the circuit breaker if it’s a built-in appliance.) Take off the front panel at the bottom of the fridge and vacuum out all the dust with the nozzle. Replace the panel, turn the appliance back on, and carefully push the fridge into place.

blog60 Ovens

There’s so much that can be cleaned with an oven or range top—especially if you have an older model unit. Take off knobs and remove spill pans of older ovens to give a good cleaning (dig out your owner’s manual for specifics about your model.)

You can always run your oven’s self-cleaning cycle, if your model comes with that feature. I’ve found, though, that this is a time-consuming thing…and heats up my kitchen. And smells horrible! So I’ve been sticking with the elbow-grease method of oven cleaning. I hate the smell of commercial oven cleaners, though, so I’ve decided that baking soda is a good alternative.

Wipe out your oven and consider using a baking soda paste instead of a harsh, commercial oven-cleaner for the scrubbing job. You can sprinkle the soda in a cool oven, spray it with water (and continue spraying once every few hours), scrape out the power, and wipe out the oven with a damp cloth.

Happy cleaning!

Delicious and Suspicious (July 6 2010) Riley Adams
Pretty is as Pretty Dies –Elizabeth Spann Craig


New April Contest!!!!


The first book in the Memphis Barbeque series, Delicious and Suspicious, will be released July 6. To celebrate its upcoming release, I’m throwing a giveaway! :)Are you interested in winning Williams-Sonoma’s Ultimate Grilling Rub Collection? It’s easy to enter! Just send an email to with

“Contest” in the subject line.

Grilling Rub   CollectionReally, really want to up your chances?You’ll get one extra entry if you follow us on Twitter, one extra if you subscribe to our posts (in the right hand sidebar under “Subscribe”), and one extra for becoming a follower (by clicking the “follow” button in the right hand column under our book covers and blog roll.) Just send us an extra email at and let us know what you’ve signed up for. If you’re already a follower or subscriber, let us know that, too!


  1. Great cleaning tips. I've always just wiped the inside of the microwave down, never thought about boiling water and baking soda. Now you've put me in the mood to clean.

    Thoughts in Progress

  2. Great tips, especially with the baking soda paste.

  3. I love baking soda. I use it in my general purpose cleaner I make. (Part white vinegar, part water, and a bit/smidgen of baking soda and castille soap)

  4. Another fantastic post about spring cleaning! Must chime in on appreciation of the microwave suggestion -- not only in how to clean it with boiling water/lemon/baking soda, but also in using it to sanitize my sponges. Great tips!

    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  5. Great tips, Riley! Thanks. And love your cover of your book.

  6. Mason--I think the spring cleaning bug is catching!

    Dru--Thanks so much!

    Juju--Ooohh....castille soap. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing that with me...I'm always looking for green alternatives for cleaning.

    Cleo--It's my favorite way to clean them (better than the dishwasher, I think.) They're just really HOT when they come out of the microwave, so use an oven mitt! :)

    Avery--Thanks! And yours is *beautiful*!

  7. You're inspiring me to clean, Elizabeth. And that almost *never* happens! Great suggestions - thanks so much!!


  8. PS - I agree with Avery. Your book cover is gorgeous!

  9. More great tips! I love all the uses for baking soda and vinegar.

    Hearth Cricket

  10. Great tips. Isn't baking soda wonderful?

    I also use the baking soda/vinegar combination instead of harsh chemical drain openers. Unless your drain is really clogged, it's a great way to keep it open, and it won't harm your pipes or the environment.

  11. I love using baking soda. And since it's Earth Day, I'll mention that, like a lot of people in the country, we're on a well, so whatever we flush into the water ends up coming back to us eventually. We're very careful about chemicals for cleaning. Hoorah for baking soda!

    ~ Krista

  12. l 22, 2010 12:00 PM
    Julie--There's just something about spring, isn't there? Just brings out the cleaning fiend in all of us. And...thanks! I like the cover, too.:)

    Cricket--Thanks! And thanks for coming by, Cricket.

    Ingrid--I really worry about all those harsh chemicals--they're not Earth-friendly, and they also harm our pipes! Good point.

    Krista--Isn't it awesome? There are so many things that it can be used for, too--even brushing teeth! I love the stuff.