The spring cleaning season is in full bloom, and there's no better time than now to get your living space in order. While you probably clean the kitchen weekly (if not daily!), it could really use a thorough deep scrub down--it is the (most frequently used) heart of the home after all. Don't know how to get started. Here are six spring cleaning kitchen tips.

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 1. Check your condiments. When should you toss condiments like mayo, ketchup, spices, etc.?

On average, spices will last about four years. Over time, spices will lose their potency and not flavor your food as intended. Store spices in a cool, dry cupboard out of direct sunlight. The length of their life will also depend on how the spices are stored. Most condiments have a shorter shelf life than people realize. Condiments such as BBQ sauce (4 months), mustard (12 months), ketchup (6 months), salad dressings (3 months), salsa (1 month) and mayonnaise (2 months) last less than a year after they are opened and kept in the refrigerator. Always keep condiments at a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.

2. Get see-through bins. Why?

Clear bins are the most practical and preferable kitchen storage system because you can see exactly what’s inside without having to open the bin and dig around. A great benefit of choosing all clear bins is that they make your storage look more organized, uniform and streamlined. For food in the fridge, you can see what’s in the storage containers quickly and if perishable items have gone bad.

3. Dust. Preliminary research shows that house dust can trigger the growth of fat cells. Use damp cloths since they trap dust. Why?

Some dust cloths and cleaning tools simply spread dust from one surface to another rather than actually wiping it up and off furniture. You can more successfully capture dust with a soft cloth dampened with water or a microfiber duster. Dust particles cling to the wet cloth and will be removed quickly and easily from the furniture. For non-wood surfaces, use water dampened paper towels to wipe greasy dust from surfaces. For wood surfaces, moisten a soft cloth with warm water and add a drop of mineral oil. Be careful not to soak the wood. Keep your cloth or sponge damp but not soaking wet. Too much water will ruin the wood.

4. Choose open shelves instead of drawers. Why?

Open shelving has been around for a few years and doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of slowing down. Open shelving is great for several reasons. It’s perfect for those who are collectors and like to showcase pieces of their collection. It helps keep shelves much neater than when kitchenware is tucked behind a cupboard door. Open shelving is also ideal for those needing to add cabinets or replace cabinets. It’s a super affordable solution. It’s also extremely convenient if you spend any amount of time in your kitchen cooking and entertaining.

5. Clean Your Oven.

An easy and inexpensive method to give your oven a spring cleaning is a technique that requires very little heavy lifting and will leave your oven looking like new. Soak oven racks in warm, soapy water for several hours (a tub or utility sink works best). Scrub with a scouring pad, then rinse and dry. Use baking soda, a spatula, sponge, water and protective gloves. Mix a paste of baking soda and water. Coat the oven surfaces with the paste (avoiding bare metal and heating elements), let stand overnight. The next day, scrape paste with spatula and wipe clean with a wet sponge using gloves.

6. Deep Clean the Refrigerator.

During the course of a year, the refrigerator pulls a heavy weight. It’s important to give it a thorough cleaning at least once a year to scrub it from top to bottom. Start by going through the contents and removing any old or expired food or food you won’t be using. Next remove any other food and place on a counter or in a cooler to keep cold while cleaning. You need plenty of space inside the fridge to effectively clean the shelves and drawers. Remove any shelving or drawers that need to be cleaned in the sink, those that can’t be wiped down easily. In most cases, a mild cleaner or dish soap will do the trick in cleaning the inside of the refrigerator, shelves and drawers. When cleaning the shelves and drawers, be careful not to put them in hot water when still cold. It could crack the glass. For any stubborn stains on the inside of the fridge, use a mixture of 2 tablespoons of baking soda and 1 quart hot water or 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts hot water with a wet sponge to get grime. Be sure to let the shelving and drawers dry out completely on a drying rack before inserting back into the refrigerator. Make sure to also clean the rubber tracking for the doors as well.

The refrigerator condenser coils and fan are responsible for releasing heat back into ambient air. If your coils are covered with dust, pet hair and debris, heat isn't released properly causing your refrigerator’s compressor works harder to keep the refrigerator cool. The refrigerator condenser coils should ideally be cleaned every six months to keep your refrigerator in optimal condition. Start by unplugging the refrigerator to prevent electric shock. If your unit is built-in or difficult to pull forward, turn off power via your home’s breaker box. Use a coil brush to gently remove dust and debris from the coils. Be extremely careful not to puncture the coils. Once this is done, use a vacuum with attached brush to clean up the excess dust and dirt on and around the coils. Never use a cleaning solution on the coils. Use the coil brush and a damp rag to remove dust and dirt from the condenser fan blade. Once complete, plug back in the refrigerator. Also note, it’s important to replace your refrigerator water filter every 6 months. Build up in the filter can cause clogs in your ice maker system and odors or contaminants in your water.

Next: Spring Cleaning Tips and Checklist

This is not a sponsored post. Tips courtesy of John Gilmer, PhD, Vice President of Research & Development at Active Iron, https://www.activeiron.com/us/.

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