Tiny Kitchen Essentials - Kitchen Cleanup
If you haven't already read part 1 of this series, you can start here.
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Part 5: Kitchen Cleanup
We don't have a paper towel holder in our kitchen, and we suggest you nix yours, too. That's not to say you shouldn't have paper towels. They're great for cleaning up greasy or gross messes that you can't use a cloth towel for. Keep them under the sink so they're not the first thing you reach for.
Use cheap, washable flour sack towels to clean up most kitchen messes. For heavier duty cleaning, dark colored bar mop towels are a great choice. Don't use cloth towels for cleaning big greasy or oily messes if you're drying them in a machine, since drying oily rags in a machine is a fire hazard, even after they've been washed.
For cleaning surfaces, a refillable spray bottle with a weak solution of castille soap, baking soda, and a few drops of essential oil makes a great nontoxic cleaning solution. A second bottle with a dilute bleach solution (1 tbsp bleach per gallon water) is good for sanitizing surfaces when necessary. While popular, white vinegar isn't very good at cleaning soil, and it'll make your entire house smell like a pickle. Alternatively, Method cleaning sprays are non-toxic, and refills can be purchased in relatively sustainable packaging.
Whether you're recycling your gray water, percolating it into the ground, or discharging it into a sewer or septic system, biodegradable soaps are better for the environment and work just as well. Our favorite biodegradable soaps are Method and Mrs. Meyers hand soap, Method and Mrs. Meyers dish soap, and Seventh Generation Powder Dishwasher Detergent. A great way to conserve soaps and detergents is to soften your water, since soft water requires less soap to make the same amount of suds.
Another great way to conserve both water and soap is to put a dishwasher in your kitchen. Yes, you can fit a dishwasher in your space if you have anything larger than a van. (Not saying you can't fit it in a van, just saying you can definitely fit it in an RV or larger space). A dishwasher uses significantly less water than hand-washing, and it saves a ton of work while you're at it. We have the Fisher and Paykel dish drawer in our 180ish square foot renovated Airstream, and its one of our favorite things in the entire build.
For your cast iron cookware, you can't beat a chainmail scrubber. The smooth round edges of the chainmail rings are perfect for cleaning cast iron without damaging the seasoning. The silicone insert stays cleaner than a sponge, makes it easier to hold the scrubber and get into corners, and the whole thing is dishwasher safe.
If you have the option to build one into your space, a pull-out trash and recycling bin is essential for a tiny kitchen. But don't stop there. Adding a worm composting bin to your small space can drastically reduce the amount (and odor) of trash you produce, and it can be surprisingly low maintenance.
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