kitchen with prominent range hood
Paul Whicheloe Photo:
Sure, you remember to give counters and floors a clean sweep—but what about not-so-obvious spots in your cook space? Here's how to sanitize some easy-to-forget gunk magnets:

Range Hood
Grease buildup can render filters ineffective. Once a month, remove them and soak in hot water with dish detergent for 10 minutes, then scrub with a nylon brush. Wipe goo and dust off the hood exterior with a rag and hot soapy water.

Garbage Disposal
Bits of food stuck to the chamber (and under the gasket) can cause a smell. To clean, run the disposal with cool water and add ice cubes, which will help dislodge and wash away crud.

Once a month, use a toothbrush and baking soda to remove food particles caught in the drain or spinning arms, which can create a stink. Then, fill a dishwasher-safe container with one cup of white vinegar, place it on the top rack of an otherwise empty dishwasher, and run a full cycle. A cloth dipped in white vinegar can sweep away any remaining gunk around the gasket.

Floor Mop
Unless you remove the debris trapped in your mophead, you'll just be spreading it around the next time you clean. Detach the head and wash it with dish detergent and hot water; be sure to let it dry completely before storing.

Dish Sponge
Dirty, damp sponges are a perfect playground for bacteria, so they need to be cleaned every couple of days. The easiest way: Moisten the sponge, then microwave for 1 minute. Replace every few weeks.
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