Spring is around the corner, but winter’s not over yet. This month’s to-do list focuses mainly on the kitchen, with chores designed to clean your cooking area after a busy holiday season of cooking and entertaining.
You’ll also need to do a little maintenance on your furnace to keep the air in your home fresh and your system working efficiently. So grab your rubber gloves, citrus cleaner, and baking soda; then roll up your sleeves and break out the elbow grease!
Read on to find out more.
To-Do #1: Replace Furnace Air Filter
The air filter on your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system needs to be replaced every 1-3 months to keep the air in your home clean and flowing freely. A high quality air filter is the best choice to remove mold, pollen, and other microscopic particles from the air.
The air filter is usually found behind the air return grate mounted on a wall or in the floor. The filter may also be located in or near the air handler unit. Check out our article on How to Locate an Air Filter if you have trouble finding yours.
To replace an air filter:
- Turn the heating system off, and wait until it stops running.
- Remove the cover on the air return.
- Take out the old air filter.
- Write the date on the new air filter.
- Insert the new air filter in the return, making sure the arrow on the edge of the filter is facing in the direction of air flow. For filters with wall and floor mounted returns, the arrow should point in toward the return duct. For filters mounted in the ductwork near the air handler, the arrow should point toward the HVAC unit.
- Put the cover back on the air return.
- Turn the heating system back on.
- To make it easier to replace next time, put a sticker on or near the return with the size filter you need to buy and when to replace it.
Check out our video on Changing an Air Filter to find out more.
To-Do #2: Clean Range Hood Filter and Fan
A range hood, or the vent fan on an over the range microwave, needs to be cleaned regularly to remove any built-up grease. Start by thoroughly cleaning the range hood or microwave inside and out with a citrus-based cleaner. Citrus cleaners (such as orange oil cleaner) make short work of kitchen cleaning, without the need for toxic or harsh chemicals.
Be sure to clean the top, sides, and underneath, to remove all that cooking grime. Wear gloves and be careful of sharp metal edges.
Remove the grease filter from the fan, and clean it in hot, soapy water; or run it in the dishwasher. If you can reach the fan blades, turn the power off to the fan, and wipe them down as well.
Watch our video on Tips To Keep Your Kitchen Clean to find out more.
To-Do #3: Clean and Degrease Kitchen Cabinets
Keep on those rubber gloves for the next task on your February list! Even if you use an exhaust fan while cooking, over time kitchen cabinets get coated with a layer of grease from cooking. Then, dust gets caught in the grease, resulting in a layer of good old-fashioned grime.
Here’s an easy way to clean and degrease kitchen cabinets without using harsh chemicals:
- Spray down the cabinets with citrus-based cleaner, and let it sit a few minutes to cut through the grease.
- Dampen a sponge and heat it in a microwave for 30-40 seconds.
- Wearing rubber gloves to keep from burning your hands, use the hot sponge to clean the cabinets.
- Use a dry towel to wipe off any remaining residue after you scrub.
- If the cabinets still appear a little grimy or hazy, spritz them lightly with citrus cleaner or a white vinegar solution, and wipe them clean with a fresh dry towel.
To-Do #4: Clean Oven and Stovetop
Don’t put away your rubber gloves and cleaner just yet! While you’re busy working in the kitchen, this is a good time to spruce up your stovetop and oven as well.
To Clean a Stovetop:
- Remove the stove burners, drip pans, and knobs.
- Wipe down the drip pans with a solution of dish soap and baking soda, and let them sit.
- Spray down the stovetop with a citrus-based cleaner.
- Using the same method as with the cabinets, microwave a wet sponge for 30-40 seconds and use the hot sponge to scrub grease and grime off the stovetop. Be sure to wear gloves so you don’t burn your hands!
- Sprinkle stubborn stains with baking soda, and scrub it clean.
- If the stovetop looks hazy, spray it with white vinegar and shine it up with a dry towel.
- Rinse and re-heat your sponge, and use it to scrub the drip pans and stove knobs clean.
- Replace the drip pans, knobs, and stove burners.
To Clean an Oven:
The easiest (but harshest) way to clean the oven is to use a commercial oven cleaner, following the instructions on the package. For a greener option, sprinkle the bottom of the oven with baking soda, spritz with water, let it sit overnight, then scrub it clean.
Now, your kitchen is sparkling clean! Winter’s not over yet, so help keep things clean – and save a lot of energy – by whipping up some easy, comforting meals in your slow cooker.