The Kitchn’s Spring Refresh Day 2: Get Your Cleaning Supplies in Order

Day two’s project is one that will carry us through every other task this week. It involves decluttering and cleaning out your cleaning supplies and the space where they live — whether that’s under the sink, in the pantry, or on a shelf.

We’ll also be looking at some simple ways to upgrade your cleaning kit with greener supplies and make your kitchen smell really amazing.

It’s difficult to keep your kitchen clean when your cleaning supplies are a mess, so today’s checklist is a guide to cleaning your supplies — and greening them if that’s something you’ve been considering.

1. Remove all your cleaning supplies.

Take everything out of your shelf, pantry, or cabinet and keep it all together in one spot. If your cleaning supplies are scattered around the house, get all of them together so you can see what you have.

2. Toss, sort, and wipe down your supplies.

Recycle any empty containers, toss old scrub-brushes or dirty scouring pads, and get rid of any damaged containers or expired supplies. Use hot water and a sponge to wipe down bottles and cleaning supply containers. And you may also want to give your trusty dishwashing brush a good cleaning as well.

Next, fill a bucket with hot water and use a sponge to wipe down the inside of your supply cabinet. Put back your supplies in their proper place.

3. Optional: Green your household products.

There was a time when many of us thought that for a cleaning product to really work, it had to smell terrible or make your eyes water (or both). But these days, there are plenty of options that work well, smell great, and sometimes even cost less.

If you’re going to “go green,” you want to make sure to properly dispose of the stuff you’re throwing away. Non-hazardous cleaners can be poured down the drain — just follow up by flushing with plenty of water. For anything hazardous (i.e., labeled with words like “toxic, corrosive, flammable, or reactive”), you can either use it up or recycle or dispose of it. Each community has different guidelines, so call the National Recycling Hotline at 1-800-CLEANUP or find more information at the EPA site.

4. Empty the trash and recycling.

Once you’ve cleaned everything out, empty the trash and recycling. Then wipe down your trash cans and recycling bins with a sponge, hot water, and a little bit of castile soap.

5. Evaluate your cleaning essentials.

Now that you’ve sorted through your stuff, ask yourself: Do I have everything I need? But don’t buy anything just yet — you’d be surprised how much you already have in your pantry. For ideas, read through the essentials below.

The Essentials: A Green Cleaning Toolkit

Most of these are items you probably have in your pantry — tips on how to use them are linked.

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Castile soap
  • Club soda
  • Kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • Lemons
  • Scrub-brushes and rags

The Add-Ons: Essential Oils

Many plant-based essential oils can kill bacteria and/or germs — just mix them with hot water, but use them sparingly (a few drops) because they’re very strong. Also use caution if you’re pregnant, or have young kids or pets.

  • Rosemary oil makes a great disinfectant spray.
  • Tea tree oil is a good all-purpose cleaner.
  • Use tea tree, eucalyptus, and castile soap to make a bug repellent.
  • Make a citrus cleaner and degreaser from orange or lemon oil.
  • Flaxseed oil makes a great cast iron cleaner.

More posts in The Kitchn’s Spring Refresh

The Kitchn’s Spring Refresh Day 1: Clean Your Counters, Clear Your Mind

The Kitchn’s Spring Refresh Day 3: Banish Bad Vibes from the Fridge and Freezer