a little elbow grease

The other day I realized I was in a cleaning rut. It’s not that I hate our tiny, old kitchen. It’s just that it feels a little grimy, and I felt sort of helpless to do anything about it. The wooden trim stickiness is a testament to about 30+ years of cooking grease, the stovetop looks grimy, the “ivory” counter won’t wipe clean. Then I started seeing “easy” kitchen updates online. All of which involve altering the kitchen in a way our apartment building would not allow, and I was feeling sort of grossed out and helpless about what I was living in.

I decided I needed a cleaning supply makeover. It may be impossible to replace the laminate cupboards or redo the peeling linoleum flooring, but it shouldn’t be unreasonable to think that there are cleaning supplies out there to help the poor unfortunate kitchen souls such as myself. And I thought, “What would my clean-freak friends do in this situation?” (Probably redo their kitchen, haha.) So off to the store I went!

Call me weird (I know Tyler already does) but there are certain types of cleaning I really enjoy. (I could seriously vacuum carpet all day.)

Armed with a new barrage with cleaning supplies, I started on the stove. A gas stove that has definitely seen whiter days, and that I despised for never coming clean. And ta-da, Magic Eraser saves the stove! They aren’t pristine; I had to stop when my eraser ran out. And although I’m not sure the burners can be returned to their brand-new glory days, I may have to try out the stronger scrubby pads to really know.

Nemesis #2 was the wooden panel at the side of the counter, also where our garbage sits. At first I thought we were being messy throwing garbage away. But when I realized none of the goopy spots were coming off with regular cleaners, I figured they had been there from a historical past we knew nothing about. Goo-gone was the winning cleaner for this area–helping remove what appeared to be very old smeared gum, among other things. Yummy.

I focused my end efforts on the countertops. They are off-white and dingy already, but seemed to be gaining spots I couldn’t clean off on quite a regular basis. For this I had bought a few different things to try out, but I’m pretty sure the Magic Eraser won again. (Hard to really say, there were a few layers of cleaning supplies used.) The only downside is that a previously-tried bleach cleaner seemed to eat at the sink caulking, and the Magic Eraser started to look like it was doing something similar.

I ran out of time and couldn’t finish everything, but next on my radar is the greasy wooden handles and discolored vinyl flooring. Hoping to turn to the internet for some tips, as none of my tries so far have been successful.

Yay for cleaning! Also, I saw this post full of kitchen-cleaning ideas. Although I was a little disappointed the only countertops on the list were fancy ones. Come on people, some of us are still stuck with laminate.

the kitchen
Our super exciting, slightly cleaner, kitchen. Yes, we have so much food we needed additional Ikea bins to hold it all.

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