I love my kitchen. My house is almost 100 years old and the kitchen is a mix of past and present. The cabinets are not original, but were probably redone in the 50’s. I have tons of cabinet and counter space. The counters are granite and appliances are new. We replaced them when we moved in. But the most charming thing about it is the little nooks and crannies where the old entrance was and a small porch that was enclosed. This small porch is now my pantry. I love it. However, when the kitchen was modernized, they did not make room for a dishwasher. I do have one, but it’s half the size of a normal one. We did replace it when we moved it, and it’s the best small dishwasher on the market. But, it’s so small, it’s my one and only complaint in my kitchen. Also, when we moved in we bought a butcher block kitchen island. It’s nothing special. I think we picked it up at Target. But, it’s where I do 99% of my food preparation. It gets a lot of use!
I’m sure most of you share my pain with keeping the kitchen clean and organized. My two biggest struggles right now are sanitizing the butcher block and dishes not getting clean in my dishwasher. This week I finally hit my breaking point with both! I did some experimenting and finally found a couple of tips that I think are going to help me. I thought I’d share them with you all.
Butcher Block Sanitizing
I used to be a religious, albeit with a guilty conscience, user of Clorox wipes. They are so simple but create a lot of waste. Same goes with spray and paper towels. Additionally, those products have chemicals in them that can cause gastrointestinal distress. Even the Seventh Generation wipes tell you to wipe them with water if using on a food surface. I really wanted to find a different, more natural way to cleanse my butcher block, as well as my wood cutting boards. Here are the three things I tried;
Warm Water and Soapy Sponge
This was one of the most frequent suggestions I found when researching online. It did work well for me, although there is an ick factor with the sponge. They hold bacteria. I wash mine in the dishwasher 5-6 times each before I ultimately throw them out. If I used this method everyday, I’d have to have two sponges in use at all times, one for dishes and one for surfaces. For me, that’s a big expense, as they are expensive.
- Clear the surface of any debris, crumbs, etc.
- Use a warm soapy sponge. (I used my dish soap, Seventh Generation liquid dish soap)
- Clean and scrub the surface.
- Rinse out the sponge with fresh water.
- Wipe the surface with fresh water sponge.
- Wipe dry with a towel or paper towel.
The lemon method is one I have used in the past. I usually do this when I’ve used a lemon for a recipe. Before I throw it in the compost bucket, I’ll use the cut side to sanitize my butcher block. It seems to work really well, and it smells great. Sometimes the pulp will stick to the surface though, and have to be wiped off with a wet rag. This is ultimately the one I think I’ll use most often. Of course I can only do it when I have a lemon handy.
- Clear the surface of any debris, crumbs, etc.
- Cut the lemon in half.
- Rub the lemon, cut side down over the entire surface.
- Use a clean wet rag or paper towel to wipe up any pulp or seeds.
- Allow to air dry.
Salt and Lemon
This has turned out to be my favorite way to clean my wooden surface. It seems to really do the trick. It even got the beet juice stain off my butcher block! It’s pretty simple actually. You just need coarse salt and a lemon. Man, lemons are handy aren’t they? This is something I think I’ll do about once a week going forward. It really works.
- Clean the surface of any debris, crumbs, etc.
- Sprinkle salt liberally over the entire surface.
- Use half a lemon, cut side down and scrub with the salt.
- Allow to sit for about 5 minutes.
- Scrape the liquid off with a plastic scraper or spatula and discard.
- Wipe with fresh clean water using a fresh rag or clean sponge.
Cleaning Your Dishwasher
Did you know that you need to clean your dishwasher? Yes, mine gets gross! I always knew that you should wipe them out and clean the filter but after doing some research online, I realized that just scratches the surface of what you should be doing. My dishes were constantly coming out with little particles on them, or they were cloudy. It was so frustrating to have to rewash things 2-3 times! In the past, I’ve purchased those dishwasher cleaners from the store, but they really weren’t working for me. Plus I hate to use chemicals like that. So here are the steps I took to really clean and sanitize my dishwasher.
- Clean the filter
- I usually just let some water run over the filter and then put it back in. But this time, I soaked it in warm soapy water. I also rubbed it gently with a sponge to get all the gunk off it.
- Clean the Crevices
- Instead of just wiping down the door, I wiped the sides, behind the seal, and the sides and bottom. There was grimy muck in areas I didn’t even know existed in my dishwasher.
- Run a cycle with Vinegar
- White vinegar really is the bomb. It cleans just about anything. Pour vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher as well as in the soap dispenser then run the sanitize or deep clean cycle.
My dishwasher is as clean as it was when it was installed. I’m so happy with the results and my dishes are so much cleaner!
Needless to say, I was so excited to cook in my fresh clean kitchen! I decided to make this simple but delicious beef tips recipe. My store rarely has organic beef tips, so I always buy them when I see them. This recipe is pretty easy too. You can serve it with cauliflower rice or even brown rice. It’s fulling and fulled with protein. My daughter and hubby both loved it.
Local Ingredient: Rosemary from my garden, purple garlic purchased at the farmers market, white onion purchased at the farmers market.