Ask Joanna

As important as cooking is — so is keeping your kitchen clean and organized. While we don’t claim to be cleaning experts – there are so many great cleaning ideas out there.  We LOVE our kitchen and we want to share the way we care for it.  Joanna is amazing and she manages the kitchen, keeping it in tip-top order.

We wanted to put this page together with Joanna’s helpful hints — because people were asking me every day how to clean and maintain their kitchen and equipment.  Below is a one-stop shop for all of her great videos. 

Joanna’s Essentials & Basic Kitchen Cleaning Tips

The kitchen is the heart of every home, so it requires the most love. My essentials are Bar Keepers Friend, Dawn dishwashing liquid, a microfiber cloth, and warm water–rather than a variety of products. If you clean the kitchen every day after cooking, you won’t need them.  

Keeping the kitchen organized makes it easier to clean. To keep kitchen countertops clean, store everything possible in the cabinets, everything in its place. Countertops free of clutter are easier to keep clean. Usually, just 20 minutes a day, and the kitchen is done. A microfiber cloth and dish soap are best for cleaning just about every surface, including cabinets, backsplash, countertops, the top of the stove, and the refrigerator handle. Always dry surfaces to make sure they are shiny and free of streaks. 

Cleaning a Refrigerator

The best time to clean the refrigerator is when it’s almost empty, so there’s a limited amount of food to remove. Use dish soap, white eraser sponges, and a solution made of 2/3 vinegar and 1/3 water in a spray bottle. First, remove all the shelves and drawers and wash them in the sink with warm, soapy water. Then spray the walls of the refrigerator with the vinegar solution and wipe them with a sponge. Be sure to dry them. Wash and dry items carefully before putting them back in, checking for expiration dates and toss everything that’s expired. Finish off by placing a fresh box of baking soda inside, and take a moment to enjoy your clean refrigerator.  

Cleaning a Burnt Pan

If you accidentally burn a pan, first soak it in the sink for a couple of hours or even overnight. Then, gently scrape with a wooden spatula to loosen the food. Put rubber gloves on and rub with Bar Keepers Friend and a sponge until stains are gone. If burn stains persist, use an S.O.S. pad carefully, if the surface permits. Repeat the step with Bar Keepers Friend, then rinse thoroughly. Dry your pan and enjoy how clean it is. 

Cleaning a Gas Stovetop

Keeping the stovetop clean is so important but it can be overwhelming.  Here are some great tips in keeping the stovetop clean so it doesn’t seem like such a daunting task. Once you make it part of your regular routine, it’s easy!

Remove the griddle and place it in the sink with water and one dishwasher pod. With a cloth or sponge, gently remove the food crumbs from the stovetop, then sprinkle the top with a little bit of hot water and Bar Keepers Friend, trying not to get much water on the burners, so that they will light easily later. Let it sit for 20 minutes. 

Then use the soft part of the sponge to gently clean the surface. Don’t press too hard. Wipe it off and dry it, possibly finishing with stainless steel polish. Clean the griddle with S.O.S. pads after they have soaked in the sink. All the burn stains will be easy to clean. Dry the griddle well and place it on the stovetop. 

Cleaning the hood of your stove

Cleaning the Oven

Here is the thing about your oven, it is the hub of your kitchen – and it’s best not to avoid cleaning it. It is a big job to tackle the oven, but so absolutely necessary and you will feel fantastic once it’s over with.

Cleaning your Pyrex

Keeping glass pans like new can be tough…but here are some easy tricks for quick clean up.  Don’t underestimate the importance of soaking, especially for stubborn stains and stuck-on food.

Cleaning the Sink

The sink is the heart of the kitchen.  Regularly cleaning your sink will make such a difference.  Once you learn these simple solutions and see how easy it is – it will become part of your routine.

Cutting Board Maintenance

Having a clean and usable cutting board is really important for food safety.  Whether wood or plastic – here are some ideas that might be helpful to keep them in good working order.

Cleaning and Maintaining Stainless Steel pans

A stainless steel pan is an investment and it’s so great when you can keep them looking beautiful – here are some ideas on how to make them last a lifetime.  The trick is to do this every time and not let things build up.

Cleaning your Cast Iron Pan

The thing about cast iron is that there are as many opinions on how to clean them as there are types.  Modern ones that are very low maintenance and come seasoned and then there’s this kind of old school cast iron pan that I have had longer than my children.  I treat it very carefully.  Here are some tips on how we take care of ours.

Cleaning and Maintaining your Staub Cast Iron Pan

Cleaning Knives

There is no more important kitchen tool than an everyday workhorse knife.  My philosophy is to hand wash all knives to make them last.  If you take great care of your knives, they are your best kitchen friend.

Cleaning a Dutch Oven

I love a Dutch oven and I’ve been known to burn one or two so we went directly to the experts and ask them what to do!

If your Le Creuset or Staub has any burn stains, fill it with water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda, and bring everything to a boil. Then, empty it, spread a baking soda paste over any remaining burnt areas, and let it sit overnight. The next day, you can rinse it and gently scrub any remaining spots with a soft sponge.

For more information on Le Creuset care, you can view their Cleaning Guidelines.
For more information on Staub care, check out their Use & Care Page.

More Cleaning Tips From a Passionate Cleaner

I LOVE to clean! Cleaning is more than just picking things up and wiping things down. Cleaning is a source of pride and a way of presenting yourself to the world. I feel so calm when I am cleaning and when the tasks are done. If spaces are clean and everything is put away, I can take a breath. It is a great stress reliever for me! I don’t go to bed until I can see my reflection in my countertops. 

April’s Cleaning Tips:

  • Clean a little bit every day.  
  • Spend an extra 3 minutes addressing anything that is particularly dirty. For example, if there’s sauce dripped on a cabinet, clean that cabinet right away (or as soon as you are done with the task at hand) and then clean the surroundings cabinets!  
  • Have a kitchen clean-up routine.  
  • After dishes have been done, wipe down and dry all counter space, give your sink a swish with Comet or Bon Ami, and run the vacuum quickly over the floor before you put the kitchen to “bed.” 
  • During meal prep, place all dirty dishes and utensils in the sink, and when finished with prep, wash and dry them.  
  • Place a large bowl on the counter and put all food scraps and garbage into it as you go.  
  • Go through your kitchen clean-up routine after every meal or prep session.  
  • Use Q-Tips or the end of a Rubbermaid peeler to get into the very small spaces and crevices of your kitchen. (See photo.) 
  • Make and stick to a deep cleaning schedule!  
  • Set a timer for yourself, and don’t stop cleaning until it goes off! You will be amazed at the difference five or ten minutes of cleaning a day will make in your kitchen!

When I was growing up and my mom had finally had enough of the mess, she would set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes and call for a “Clean Sweep!” My dad, sister, and I would round up our stuff from around the house and take it to our rooms. Then we would each do one chore for the house, like run the vacuum in a room or do a quick mop of the kitchen floor, or scrub one toilet. When the timer went off, you could stop, but if we were right in the middle of a chore we would want to finish it. Afterward, the house was clean and tidy, and everyone could breathe a little easier. Both of my parents worked full-time, so it was a genius way to share the load, so to speak!